With a rapidly growing team, Omnidian needed a way to document processes and share information that would scale with the company. Their existing tools weren't able to support their rapid growth, so teams were relying on myriad documentation and storage solutions, with little visibility for cross-functional teams into the important work each team was completing.
Omnidian took the negative reinforcement cycle they were stuck in and turned it into a positive one by creating a central, searchable repository in Slab. They rolled out the knowledge base with minimal friction by using unified search and showing value to teams quickly. Now teams document their ideas and work because it’s easy to do so, and leaders trust that information is being shared across the organization.
Omnidian delivers performance assurance for residential and commercial solar systems, focusing on the post-installation experience. They use technology to respond to and resolve performance issues more quickly and cost-effectively than traditional methods.
“We want to be a partner for a sustainable future. Our mission is simple - We protect investments in clean energy with passionate teams, innovative technology, and an amazing customer experience,” explains Jeff Berg, Senior VP of Engineering at Omnidian.
As a company leader, Jeff focuses on Omnidian's engineering strategy and roadmap. He’s also responsible for helping to transform the company as it scales. Over the last five years, his team has grown from seven to thirty-three; the company from seventeen to two hundred employees.
Throughout such growth, Jeff has often thought about how to document and share knowledge as Omnidian scales. “The processes that work for twenty people in an office just don’t work for a company of two hundred,” he says. He recognized Omnidian’s need to start documenting their processes, sharing knowledge, and finding an easy way for everyone to create content.
For Jeff and the rest of the team, the solutions in place didn’t solve their needs. Tools like Google Docs were document-focused instead of content-focused, leaving people struggling to find the necessary information. “People would create content but it was hard to link to other documents, and finding content was frustrating with a lot of trial and error—it just wasn't very content-forward,” Jeff says. Google Sites wasn’t user-friendly and created friction and extra work. Several people worked to maintain their intranet, but nobody else contributed content because it was too difficult to make changes.
“It takes effort to be concise and write things down, and any small amount of friction can stop people from documenting their work or ideas,” Jeff says. “We needed a solution that would help us minimize that friction and maintain a level of knowledge hygiene.”
Jeff wanted a solution that would help the team consistently capture information—as a larger organization, with more people coming and leaving, consistency was becoming paramount. “If everything lives in one person’s head, you can’t scale as a larger organization,” he says. He knew they needed a tool that people would use to document things and could rely on to find information when they looked for it.
Jeff’s criteria for a solution were anchored in simplicity and ease of use—the main problems he was trying to solve. He wanted a tool that would be easily adopted and widely used. “The difficulty of creating and finding content with a tool is directly proportional to how much people will use it,” he says. “We needed an easy-to-use solution to remove all barriers to capturing and finding content.”
“The difficulty of creating and finding content with a tool is directly proportional to how much people will use it. We needed an easy-to-use solution to remove all barriers to capturing and finding content.”
He also required that the solution have single sign-on and search integrations to connect with other tools in their tech stack. He wanted something that would focus solely on knowledge sharing and not try to become an all-in-one tool. When he discovered Slab, it met all his criteria, and he instantly noticed how frictionless it felt to use.
Jeff started with an internal pilot of Slab with the engineering team to validate its efficacy before expanding its use to the rest of the organization. He relied on Slab’s search integration to ensure all data sources were connected, and Slab quickly became a central place for people to document and find information.
Jeff thought a lot about how Slab would be received and ensuring people understood its purpose. “I wanted to help people create an emotional connection with the tool, which I believe is so important to the successful adoption of new technology,” he says. “So we ensured there weren’t any barriers for people to create and find content with Slab.”
Now, every team at Omnidian relies on Slab. The Engineering organization uses it to capture functional specs, design decisions, and technical documentation about the software that they’re building. The Operations team documents its standard operating procedures in a library, so everyone knows how to respond to client requests. And the People team houses Omnidian’s company guide, employee guide, holidays, policies, and procedures in Slab. They use it for onboarding and training, which helps Omnidian scale effectively and gets folks using Slab from day one.
Jeff loves Slab’s unified search for the ease of searchability it provides across Omnidian’s many repositories and other forms of communication. “Being able to pull everything into one central place where folks can search for information, instead of looking in five different places, has been hugely helpful,” he says.
With Slab, Omnidian has created a habit of documenting knowledge and contributed to a positive feedback loop: people can find information when they search for it, which encourages them to document more of their work or processes, which expands the library of content, and motivates people to search and contribute. Now, people go to Slab to find any information they might need, and there’s a low barrier to finding it; they’re also creating more documentation because it’s easy.
“By acting as the default place for documentation, Slab has helped us create momentum around capturing information by making it easy to find,” Jeff says. “It’s contributed to a virtuous cycle in which people find content easily and therefore want to create more content to share with others.” Omnidian now captures more information—a critical part of the scaling process. “As a bigger company, we need people to have consistent information they can align upon,” Jeff explains.
“By acting as the default place for documentation, Slab has helped us create momentum around capturing information by making it easy to find, contributing to a virtuous cycle in which people find content easily and therefore want to create more content to share with others.”
The demands on Jeff’s time as a leader are high, and before Slab, he found himself having the same conversation over and over. Using Slab saves company leaders time by allowing them to share knowledge without spending time answering repeat questions. This is especially important with fundamental engineering concepts, which are best described in detail and can take a long time to explain over and over again.
“If people come to us with a question, we can point them to an answer in Slab instead of having the same conversation over and over" Jeff explains. "That way, we know the information is thorough and accurate, ensuring everyone receives a high-quality, detailed answer. This is especially critical for some of our fundamental software design concepts, which are very precise definitions that must be understood. It’s a lot easier to document them once and have someone read rather than have to explain it each time off the cuff.”
Jeff knew that simplicity, ease of use, and reducing friction would be critical to establishing a culture of documentation at Omnidian as the company scales. “The ease of creating and finding content is directly related to the momentum that can be built into a solution for a central knowledge base,” he says. “The less friction, the more people will contribute to and rely upon it for information.” Using Slab, teams across Omnidian know that they will find helpful content, and they’re incentivized to document more information for their colleagues.
As Omnidian has grown more than twentyfold and gone fully remote (and distributed!), the need for documentation has only increased. Creating a knowledge-sharing culture supported by technology is a huge reason they have scaled successfully—and will continue to support them as they enter their next phase of expansion.