Integrated Single Sign On for your Customer Support Community : Tailoring Zoho Discussions Part II

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In Part 1 of this series of blog posts, we talked about visual customization and branding features of Zoho Discussions. However, branding does not stop with visual customization alone. Most businesses collect user data (email, name, demographic info etc) and use it to provide better support, introduce features, conduct campaigns and also to offer a member area.

End users expect to use their profile information right in all areas of the website – including user communities. Most online community services encourage their customers to transit to “Open ID” (or Google, Yahoo, FB, Twitter based) authentication. This approach definitely has its merits since the end user has to manage one less profile and password. But, this approach presents 2 problems:

  1. Businesses need to change their existing model and develop and deploy code updates to their existing system
  2. Existing users (most businesses already have an registration requiring forum / community) will have to forget their current profile and migrate over.

These drawbacks have been a driving force for most businesses to fall back to deployable open source solutions as opposed to online-hosted solutions.

But it need not be this way! It is possible to implement single sign on a hosted community solution, thus liberating yourself from maintenance and scalability issues, without giving up on the flexibility and ease of use.

Zoho Discussions has always supported enterprise techniques like LDAP sync, SAML based authentication. We have recently added a highly simplified, yet secure, REST API based Single Sign On technique. Coupled with visual customization options, SSO integration provides a unified “one-brand” experience for your end users. This allows your end users to seamlessly navigate between your website and your community (hosted by Zoho Discussions) and use any login scheme that you currently have or choose to upgrade to.

And the best part is, implementing this technique for your community can be done without any significant programming (Learn more). You can roll out this feature – including code changes and testing in a matter of days.

And before you ask, yes we do offer migration of your existing forum content from sources like phpBB, Google Groups mail archives, EML, CSV and more. Contact us for more details.

Sign up to Zoho Discussions today and get an interactive customer support community, sans the headache of customizing and maintaining one.