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We are honored to announce that Marc Harrell, Director of Jive’s Federal business, has been selected by FCW as one of this year’s Rising Stars!

Marc Harrell, Director of Federal at Jive Software

This award recognizes individuals in the federal IT community who share a sense of duty, commitment to excellence and devotion to public service. Marc joins an elite group of government professionals, industry executives and others honored over the past decade, all of whom are making a difference today and establishing themselves as the leaders of tomorrow.


We recently caught up with Marc to find out more about his experience working in the government sector to promote collaboration best practices. 


What does being named as one of FCW’s Rising Stars mean to you? 


Marc: Anytime you’re recognized with your government and industry peers, it’s huge. I think this award is unique in that it celebrates folks in the early stages of their careers and acknowledges them for the immediate impact they’ve made on federal IT.


For me specifically, it emphasizes the value of my intelligence integration efforts during the four years I was on the President’s Daily Brief staff. In addition to that, it speaks to how that scope of work has expanded with Jive over the last two years as we aspire to transform the way the U.S. Federal government communicates and collaborates. 


Over the past year, what has been your biggest accomplishment? Biggest hurdle?


Marc: We knew we wanted to support the government’s “Cloud First” policy so, I would say the biggest accomplishment is the work we’ve done with Jive’s FedRAMP offering. From getting buy-in from the Jive executive team to invest, to gaining sponsorship from NASA, and now being very close to certification on AWS GovCloud, it has been a remarkable experience.


As for the biggest hurdle, it definitely has been navigating the uncertainty around the Federal budget. Within the last year, we’ve been under two continuing resolutions, seen dramatic funding cuts to civilian agencies and recently dodged the threat of another government shutdown. This climate sure accounts for its share of trials and tribulations.


What is the greatest challenge the Federal IT industry faces today?


Marc: There are a lot to choose from, however, one that’s near and dear to me is IT fragmentation. We see this all the time across the Federal government, where one office within an agency will have a drastically different IT stack than another similar agency office. As you know, this leads to massive amounts of wasteful spending. This also ties into a lot of the legacy systems that the government is spending billions of dollars on each year to maintain. Of course, I support a solution that greatly aids in solving that IT fragmentation problem. That gives me a lot of peace of mind for the future with our Jive product.


Stay tuned for more on Jive and Aurea Software’s plans to enrich solutions for government collaboration.

Welcome to the latest installment of the How I Work series for the month of September! This month we are excited to present Krista Sherer from American AgCredit whom I had the pleasure of getting to know in person at the Bay Area User Group in August. Want to learn more about someone who dove into the deep end of community management as their company rolled out Jive for the first time? Look no further! Krista found a company she was passionate about and jumped right in along with her  sidekick plant, Beauregard. Read on to learn about where Krista started, what gets her through the day and how she works!


Where do you work?

I work at American AgCredit’s corporate office located in Santa Rosa, California. We are a leasing association (Farm Credit Association) that lends to all segments of agriculture.



How would you describe your current job?

I am the company’s Communication Specialist and the Community Manager to our internal Jive community we call the Grapevine. I am also support to our marketing team.


How did you get into Community Management?

I am a recovering journalist…this is where my journey pretty much begins. I wanted to work for a company I could stand behind and really connect with their mission. I researched and found AAC; they were looking for someone to launch their new cloud based intranet. I knew nothing about community management, or Jive for that matter, and learned all about it in less than 3 months before we launched.


How do you use Jive at work? What use cases does it serve for your company?

It is our company’s intranet. Its focus is internal communication, culture and engagement and sharing of business strategies.


What about your community are you most proud of?

The engagement, mostly. We launched in March of 2017 starting out at a little over 60 percent and we are slowly growing in our advocates and contributions. I’d say 80 percent of the association loves the platform, reads the stories, are engaged with the culture it is creating and are advocating for the platform. It’s exciting to see people supporting each other, communicating differently, collaborating and really, once again, engaging.


What's your computer situation... Do you use a Mac or PC (or something else)?

I use a PC at work but at home, I use a Mac.



Tell us what you use for your mobile device?

iPhone 7.


Pick one word that best describes how you work.

Collaborative   I love working on a team and the process of supporting and learning from others. I am always reaching out to connect with colleagues and finding ways to be of help, I love group projects and the outcome when people really work together to get something done. My work has always made me a connector of sorts, or a link, and so collaboration is really on the forefront of everything I do.


Besides Jive, what apps/software/tools can't you live without?

Microsoft Word, Firefox, Chrome, Photoshop, pencil and pad of paper, Spotify and coffee.


Do you have a favorite non-computer gadget?

A pad of paper and a pencil I am a writer and a poet  — when I take the time to do it. I guess I would say my camera too. I’m in the process of getting a new camera, so I currently use my phone. I live in Sonoma County and I love to take pictures of the places I go.




What you surround yourself with is important, what's your work space like?

My six year-old son is quite the artist and I love the colorful drawings and paintings he does, so I surround myself with those. As well as thank you cards and fun knick knacks from work parties, like my sombrero. I also have a polkadot plant that I have named Beauregard. We like to talk about him and to him in a deep southern drawl.



What do you listen to while you work?

I listen to a lot of mellow and sometimes upbeat electronic music on Spotify.


What's your best time-saving trick?

Lists the day before of what needs to be done and then checking them off.  Making lunch the night before really helps as well as knowing what I'm going to wear.


How do you balance work and life?

I don’t check my work phone when I am not at work and I do my best to unplug from technology when I’m at home too. I unplug from computers and phones whenever I can, at lunch and at home. I make sure to be present with my child, friends and family when the weekends hit and I get into nature as much as possible. Luckily, part of our culture here at my company really supports a healthy work/life balance and you can see it from the top down that people take the time to recharge themselves with their family and time off but are also efficient and committed when here.


What's your sleep routine like?

I try to get atleast 7-8 hours every night, to bed by 10 and up at 6.


Are you more of an introvert, ambivert or extrovert?

I am very much an ambivert. I am good with people and enjoy the connection with them but I also really enjoy my solitude and internal time.


What's the best advice you've ever received (and from whom)?

"Do something that makes you feel strong, connected or grateful every day."

     ~ friend, Gabriel Rene



     ~ My mother


"If we want to embrace life, we also have to embrace chaos."

     ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Thank you for the wonderful interview, Krista! It was great being able to meet you in person and I look forward to seeing you again as our wonderful host for the next Bay Area User Group! I definitely want to chat with you more about "being present" without being distracted by work. That is definitely something I struggle with!

Let's say you're planning the Big Rock Trading Company Sales Kickoff and you want to create an online manifestation of your live event. This will allow all of your event attendees, including those who are attending virtually, to feel a part of the event and engage deeply with its activities. In our latest "Tips and Tricks" video, we walk you through the basics to engage your employees for your next big event.



Employee Engagement and Enablement


Step 1:

Plan. Think about the main use cases for your events place. What do all of your event attendees need to know? What resources might be helpful for them to prepare for the event? For Big Rock's sales kickoff, we decided the main use cases were:

  • Highlighting the year's top performers in blogs = repository of blogs listed on the event home page
  • Hosting a Keynote Speaker "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) = repository of questions so employees could directly interact with keynote speaker
  • Uploading Event Recordings after the event = stores video of the main keynote speech for future playback


After deciding on these use cases, you can start developing a communication plan and editorial calendar. For an event, we recommend thinking about your editorial calendar in terms of pre-event, during the event, and post-event. In all three stages, different content will be needed in your place.

  • Pre-event - Pre-event reading assignments (to prepare employees for Sales Kickoff topics), marketing positioning slides (to review in advance), gamification (encourage users to interact with event place)
  • During the event - Livestreaming (for virtual attendees to watch live keynote), real-time AMA (allows employees to submit questions/get questions answered at the event itself)
  • Post-event - Recap blogs (attendees can post their thoughts), event recordings, feedback poll


Step 2:

Designing your place.

Keeping in mind the key calls-to-action that we decided on in Step 1, here's how that might play out in Big Rock's design for their communications place. Notice they included:

                  1. Navigation Bar (using Helpful Links tile)

                  2. Featured Quest (gamification, encouraging users to engage with place prior to the event)

                  3. Key Event Information

                  4. Livestream button (directs users to third party program to watch livestream of event, can be embedded with HTML tile)

                  5. Ask 2017 Sales Kickoff (allows users to submit event-related questions)

                  6. Top Performer Blogs (repository of blog posts highlighting the year's top performers, using Super List tile)


Note: You can also use the Events feature along with the Upcoming Events and Key Dates tiles to highlight event details.


Step 3:

Launching your place, spreading awareness.

Before the event:

  • Post content in your place for attendees to engage with prior to the event
    • This includes promotional blogs, presentation slides, pre-reading assignments, etc.


Creating a Quest

Want to create a quest to encourage employees to further engage with your place?

  • Click profile picture in top right of your community >> Rewards console >> Quests >> Create Quest
    • Here you can customize your quest and choose how many points it's worth, what tasks are included, etc.


During the event:

  • If needed, you can embed livestreaming into your place via the HTML tile for your virtual attendees
  • Ensure someone is monitoring the Q&A place of the event
  • Attendees can post videos and blogs throughout the day to your place
  • Send real-time announcements just to your event attendees:
    • Go to your events place
    • Hit the Gear symbol >> Announcements (as shown to the right)
    • Create your announcement! This is similar to a system announcement, except it will only be displayed to members of your place.


Step 4:

Manage and grow, review your metrics.

Tracking data from your event place allows you to get feedback from your event attendees and assess your virtual place's success. Make sure you:

  • View the Impact Metrics of key pieces of content
    • Gives data on who has seen the content (individuals and departments), how the content was received (sentiment analysis), the global reach of your content, number of viewers, etc. 
  • Create a poll in your event place after the event


Have other suggestions about best practices when engaging employees during an event? Tell us in the comments below!

JennKelley_headshot (2).png


Jennifer Kelley (Jenn) is a Senior Strategy Consultant on the Jive Professional Services team.  In this capacity, she works closely with Jive customers to apply successful practices and define their roadmap to social business success.  Part coach, part tour guide and part cheerleader, Jenn helps guide companies as they establish and execute strategies to engage their employees, customers and partners and deliver business value.   Jenn brings perspective from an extensive and varied background in digital strategy and user experience design consulting. In this piece, Jennifer Kelley explains how to align your community with business strategy as a community manager:


When conducting a strategy workshop with a new customer, I always acknowledge the following with regard to our first successful practice: “You’re probably thinking, ‘duh… who’d launch a social business initiative without business objectives?’”  I’ve rarely had anyone disagree, in principle, that aligning a social business initiative to business strategy is a sound and meritorious idea. Ironically, however, this is a best practice where follow through is often lacking – most likely because it sounds deceptively simple and it is easy to look past.  But there’s a lot more nuance involved with this critical success practice than just rattling off a list of objectives and considering that box checked.  As a community manager, the first and foremost hurdle you’re likely to encounter is demonstrating clear linkage to business value. You’ll find this alignment critical to garnering executive participation, proving to your end users that this is worth their time, and assuring long-term adoption and business value.


Here are some quick rules of thumb and then we’ll delve into the details of how to align your community with your business strategy:Align Business Strategy Blog.jpg

  1. Be as specific as possible in defining your objectives. The more specific, the better you’ll be able to a) model them in your community, b) communicate them to various stakeholders and secure their understanding and buy in, and c) measure against them.
  2. Don’t assume your objectives are obvious or intuitive to others. They may seem obvious to you, but you should not expect others will just “get” it. Connect the dots.
  3. As your community matures, remember to recalibrate, at least every 12-18 months. Business goals and strategic initiatives evolve.  To stay relevant your community needs to evolve as well.


So that sounds great, but how do we take steps to align with our company’s business strategy versus just enumerating a list of objectives?

  • First off, take the time to really understand your corporate strategy and critical initiatives. Not just the generic business-drivers fodder you find in any old slide deck. What are the real pain points and areas of opportunity that keep your C-suite up at night? How are these expressed at the business unit or divisional (or even departmental) level? For example, is the current focus on reducing duplication of effort and inefficiencies? Or driving innovation and competitive advantage? Or creating more integration and cohesiveness across the organization?
  • Engage executives in the conversation early and often. Understand their critical business initiatives and make sure they understand how your social business platform can help them advance their agenda and achieve their ends.  Enlist help from your social business program sponsor(s) if you need help to get these conversations going initially, but don’t settle for workarounds here.
  • Don’t accept vague, ambiguous or throwaway objectives. You know the ones I’m talking about – “improve collaboration,” break down barriers,” “be more connected.”  That may come off as harsh – it’s just a little Jive Strategy Consulting tough love.  I do recognize that these are often the catalysts for an initial investment in a social business program and they are well intended, but they’re not specific enough to execute against, and they certainly aren’t measurable. So keep digging for more concrete objectives and success criteria.  Ask questions like, “what does that look like?” and “what specific silos” and “how would we know we’ve accomplished that?”  Ideally, we want to be able to define granular objectives at the divisional, departmental and even team level.  Good examples include improving sales enablement or account collaboration, improving the speed or cost-efficiency of new employee onboarding or training and development, and increasing awareness and dialogue around specific topics or initiatives.
  • Establish traceability from your community back to the defined business goals. What specifically do we expect or want to happen in the community that will help achieve these business goals? Sharing of a specific type of knowledge, insight, idea or best practice? Consolidating frequently asked questions and authoritative content into a single, self-service store and reducing flurries of e-mails and phone calls? Migrating over project status updates and streamlining meetings? Again, be as specific as possible and make sure there is clear linkage from the community to these goals.
  • Think measurable. How would you measure progress – qualitative or quantitative – against the objective?  More new product or service ideas? Fewer help desk inquiries?  More people actively engaged with strategic conversations or executive communications?  Higher reported satisfaction with ability to find knowledge and expertise?  Ideally, tie to any existing baselines your company has relevant to your social business initiative – e.g., employee engagement or satisfaction metrics, usage rates for existing Intranets or related systems, or improved “time-to-value” (where value may be issue resolution or proposal completion or some other critical exchange).  Framing your thinking around measurable success criteria generally provides the most direct path to the level of specificity we’re looking for.  In future posts, we’ll do a deep-dive around metrics and measurement, but for now make sure you’re thinking about your company’s key performance indicators and ways your community can positively impact those.


Aligning to business strategy may seem like a tall or abstract task, one better left for executives.  But it is the critical first step in driving adoption.  Don’t ever underestimate yourself: community managers play a huge role every day in developing this linkage, mapping business goals to community activity, translating community activity into business terms, and delivering measurable business impact to their organizations.


To the Jive Internal Communities and Jive External Communities, what have you found most difficult about aligning your community to business strategy?

Imagine you're a corporate communication professional for Big Rock Trading Company and you're looking to create a leadership and corporate communication place that allows you to communicate out important announcements while directly engaging with your employees. In your place, you want to host leadership blogs, executive "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) sessions, and the latest media coverage. In our latest "Tips and Tricks" video, we walk you through the basics to set up a thriving leadership and corporate communications place in Jive.



Leadership and Corporate Communications


Step 1:

Plan. What are the main use cases for your Leadership and Corporate Communications place? Think about the content that you want to be distributed to all of your employees. This could include CEO blogs and regular AMAs where employees can ask questions to company executives.


After deciding on these use cases, you can develop an editorial calendar and start creating content. In the case of Big Rock Trading Company, we decided on these goals:

  • The latest media coverage = Sub-space that highlights mentions of company in news outlets, updated weekly
  • Internal communication = Directs to repository of posts including important announcements and communications to the company by HR and execs for all employees
  • Corporate blogs = Directs to repository of blog posts by CEO and executives
  • Executive AMAs = Directs to latest AMA session where users can submit questions for execs


Step 2:

Designing your place.

Keeping in mind the key calls-to-action that we decided on in Step 1, here's how that might play out in Big Rock's design for their communications place. Notice they included:

                   1. Latest Media Coverage button (main use case)

                    2. Internal Communications button (main use case)

                    3. Corporate blogs button (main use case)

                   4. Executive Ask Us Anything (main use case)

                    5. Latest CEO Blog Call to Action (using image gallery tile)

                   6. Communications Experts (Featured experts as main contacts for the place)



Step 3:

Launching your place, spreading awareness.

Before launching your place make sure:

  • Place owners and key executives know what is expected of them and the editorial calendar in place
    • Place owners = should know tips on measuring data of place, monitoring content, creating an editorial calendar, etc.
    • Key executives = should know tips on creating impactful blogs, engaging with place content, etc.


When launching your place you can:

  • Spread awareness of your new place through multiple channels such as:
  • Encourage other execs and community influencers to engage with the new place's content
    • For example, execs can comment on each other's blogs, "like" communication posts, etc. to encourage the use of the place


Step 4:

Manage and grow, review your metrics.

Tracking data from your Leadership and Corporate Communications place is an important way to measure its success and help redefine your engagement plan. Make sure you:

  • View the Impact Metrics of key pieces of content
    • Gives data on who has seen the content (individuals and departments), how the content was received (sentiment analysis), the global reach of your content, number of viewers, etc. 
  • View the place reports
    • Gives data on user adoption, content creation, key pieces of content, active users, etc.


You can then discuss this data with your key stakeholders to discuss improvements to your place over time.


Have other suggestions about best practices when setting up a Leadership and Corporate Communications place in Jive? Tell us in the comments below!

Whether it's through in-person training, videos or documentation, every community should have an onboarding process. That's why we want to make it easier for your users to jump in and start utilizing your community right away. To help you get your newest members onboarded and engaged, we have compiled a list of basic Getting Started documents for you to adapt and use in your own community.


These documents are available in the Getting Started space which we have intentionally made generic not only to help new users get onboarded into the JiveWorks community, but also to be repurposed for your own community. Before copying them over to your community, we recommend taking a pass and swapping out references to"JiveWorks" with your own community name. You might also consider adding your own branded colors, if you have them.


Here's a list to get you started:


Getting Started: Starting a Discussion

Getting Started: Creating a Status Update

Getting Started: Creating a Collaborative Document

Getting Started: Creating a Question

Getting Started: Creating and Managing Custom Streams

Getting Started: Creating a Blog Post

Getting Started: Creating a Poll

Getting Started: Creating a New Idea

Getting Started: Creating a New Event

Getting Started: Creating a New Video

Getting Started: Introduction to Places

Getting Started: Sharing Content

NEW Introduction and Installation Guide: Jive for Office

NEW Introduction and Installation Guide: Jive for Outlook


Have any suggestions? Let us know what kind of documentation would be helpful for onboarding new users in your community in the comments below!

It happens to all of us – we get that false sense of productivity as we throw ourselves into meetings, internal blogs and enthusiastic cross-functional conversations with the newest messaging app. It's all good and great until it suddenly hits you in the middle of yet another meeting - didn't we already have this conversation? It’s like a stationary bike where you’re pedaling frantically but you aren’t really going anywhere. You have the tools you need to be more efficient and yet you end up being even less productive.


In my article on CMSwire, I take the late baseball catcher Yogi Berra’s words of wisdom and draw a parallel with how most of us tend to work: “It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking to much.”


Within the article I dive into how talking is the stationary bike of the workplace when what we really need is conversation and decision-making to take us to the places we have only talked about. A new Deloitte survey found that while there may be a lot of communication and document sharing going on in today’s digital workplace, often times there isn’t much decision making happening in those places.


I touch on why there is such a serious disconnect between these tools and desired results such as:

  • Messaging tools end up more addictive and less productive because it’s easy to feel productive without accomplishing anything of value.
  • Document sharing can easily become siloed and fragmented when using a variety of solutions, which results in a distinct lack of actual collaboration.


To remedy this concerning chasm between talk and conversation, I introduce the solution of a collaboration hub. This is notably different than other collaboration platforms in that it provides a single platform for enterprise search, advanced analytics and reporting, as well as capturing corporate memory.


Read the full article to find out more about what the digital workplace struggles with, why they are stuck on the stationary bike and how a collaboration hub can bring everything together to keep the company pedaling forward.

I know Jive is primarily a collaboration tool, but many employees at my company want to use it as a document repository.  I've argued with them for the five years we've been a Jive customer that it's not really suited for that, but I've been mostly banging my head against the wall.  So recently I decided that if they are really wanting to use it to store documents, then at least they should have some good practices around it.


In the interest of working out loud, I've attached some of the things I've created and am in the middle of working on in case any of you find yourselves in a similar situation and want to either use what I've done or chip in and help make them better.  (Wherever you happen to see the word "Innovate," just be aware that it's the name of our Jive instance).  The attachments are:


  • "Content Management in Innovate" -- the outline of a series of training sessions I want to put together to focus specifically on good content management in Jive.  You'll see that there's a lot of Jive functionality I don't touch on because I'm just focusing on the parts I think are relevant to document management.  I hope to get the materials put together in the next month or so.


We have a clean-up initiative going on in several of our business areas so I've already created some material to help users with that effort:

  • Business areas have been assigning specific people to manage clean-up of particular sets of spaces, so "Innovate Space Clean-Up" is a presentation to help them find and remove obsolete places (mostly spaces) and content.  It's Section 4 of the outline I mentioned above.  In the first few slides, I used the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, CA as a metaphor and have screen shots of some of the more ridiculous spaces I found that mirror aspects of that building.
  • Some people asked for help deciding what to get rid of.  I couldn't help with specifics because I can't possibly know what's important in each business area, but I was able to come up with a couple of generic decision trees to help them think their way logically through identifying the the content and spaces with the highest probability of being worth considering for deletion.


Feel free to steal anything you might find useful, and also feel free to comment if you think of anything that can make what I already have better.

Let's say you're on the IT Team for Big Rock Trading Company and you're looking for ways to improve case deflection for your company. You want to implement a Help Desk that will allow employees to ask questions, receive answers in a timely manner, and get technical guidance. In our latest "Tips and Tricks" video, we walk you through the basics to set up a thriving Help Desk with Jive.



Building a Help Desk


Step 1:

Plan. What are the main use cases for your Help Desk? These could be anything from Q&A spaces with IT experts to a knowledge base of "How-to" documents for employees to find answers to technical questions.


After deciding on these use cases, you can develop a content calendar and start creating content. For Big Rock's needs, they may want to consider things like:

  • Q&A Forums = Feature "Ask a Question" tile on Help Desk landing page, allows employees to ask/answer questions and access previously-answered questions
  • Application Training Webinars = Monthly webinar tailored on specific topic, announced within Jive
  • "How to" Series = Knowledge base of documents, created by IT experts to walk through popular questions like changing one's password, requesting a program, connecting to a printer, etc.
  • Top 10 Helpful Tips of the Week = Weekly blog run by IT experts


Step 2:

Designing your Help Desk.

Keeping in mind the key calls to action that we decided on in Step 1, here's how that might play out in Big Rock's overall design for their Help Desk. Notice they included:

                        1. Ask a Question tile (main use case, featured at the top to ensure easy access)

                        2. Unanswered/Answered Questions

                        3. Key Dates (for upcoming Webinars)

                        4. Knowledge Base (For How-to documents)

                        5. Help Desk Experts (Featured IT Experts as main contacts for the place)



Step 3:

Launching your Help Desk, spreading awareness.

Before launching your new Help Desk, designate specific people to maintain the Q&A, making sure questions are answered in a timely manner and new resources are created based on the agreed editorial calendar. When you are ready to launch your Help Desk, spread awareness across several different channels in your community.


To create a system announcement as shown in the video:

  • Click on your profile picture in the top navigation header and select System Announcements under "Manage."
  • Select a title and picture (optional) to include with your announcement
  • Choose the timeframe for how long your announcement will be displayed in the community
  • You can also select Send Inbox notifications for the announcement to be sent to everyone's Inbox in the community


Step 4:

Manage and grow, review your metrics.

Maintaining and tracking the progress of your Help Desk is crucial for continuing its success. Make sure you:

  • Meet with stakeholders periodically to discuss metrics, create benchmarks, and continue to refine your engagement plan
  • Continually develop your editorial calendar, staying consistent with creating resources, scheduling programming, answering questions, etc.
  • Cultivate popular questions in the FAQ; ensure correct answers are marked accordingly (Marked as Correct, Marked as Final, etc.) so results can be measured


Consider creating metrics from the topics in the video to measure your growth and plan improvements to your Help Desk over time.


Have other suggestions about best practices when setting up a Help Desk in Jive? Tell us in the comments below!

Welcome to the latest installment of the How I Work series for the month of August! I am excited to present as our next guest, Tracy Maurer, a Jive guru with several years of Community Management experience under her belt. Tracy is an integral part of the JiveWorks community and always asks great questions in addition to helpful recommendations on how we can do better. Thank you for taking the time to help us out, Tracy! Keep reading to find out more about the wonderful, passionate Tracy Maurer and how she works!


Where do you work?

Right now, I'm working for Commvault as a temp. I work from home, which is in Solon, OH. I have a basement office. Lots of people ask me if it is hard to work from home. I actually find it easier to stay focused when working from home, because I don't have the typical office distractions. And it also allows me to work odd hours to support global employees.

How would you describe your current job?

I'm working as a Community and Knowledge Manager. As other CMs know, much of what we do supporting community is about capturing and sharing knowledge. Helping people understand how to do that can help keep your community from drowning in disorganized content. I also do a lot of troubleshooting, documentation, videos and enablement. It's funny - when I first started doing troubleshooting, like running, I hated it. Now I love both running and troubleshooting - go figure!

How did you get into Community Management?

We added a Jive community at work, which at first I was very unexcited about. I was a product manager, and we decided to move all of our content into Jive (from a Lotus Notes DB) to help employees find it and it make it more useful. In the process, I found that I loved community, and kept looking for an opportunity to "join the dark side." Ted Hopton gave me that opportunity in 2010, and I've never looked back!


How do you use Jive at work (internal community, external community, etc.); what use cases does it serve for your company?

Internal community; sales and sales engineering enablement and internal communications are currently the primary use cases, and as we begin our second year of having a community, we are expanding beyond these initial use cases.


What about your community/communities are you most proud of?

The amount of employee engagement we've got in the community; and how Keeley and the team still manage roll-outs of spaces and groups to ensure less overlap and confusion. I think these two things go hand in hand.


What's your computer situation... Do you use a Mac or PC (or something else)?

PC all the way. I'd be too sad without my Jive for Office and Jive for Outlook.


My HP laptop and extra screen


Tell us what you use for your mobile device?

Apple iPhone. I also couldn't live without my iPad. This is me reading on my iPad, with my constant companions Bella (foreground) and Blaze


Pick one word that best describes how you work.

Thoughtful. I struggled to come down to one word. I don't mean "thoughtful" only in the sense of helping others, although there is that as well. More broadly, I mean thinking about what is being asked instead of responding off the cuff. This is a skill I've had to continue to hone over time. For example, when someone says, "I can't edit documents." I don't assume that Jive has suddenly stopped working for people. I ask for clarification - is there an error message; what happens when you click the Edit link at the top of the page; what is the link to the document you are having trouble with. Sometimes it is user error (they didn't see the Edit link and thought they should just start typing on the page); sometimes the author has restricted editing; sometimes it is a bug with a specific browser. Understanding more about the problem they are having helps me provide a quicker and better answer for them. And reminds me to provide more detail when I'm reporting problems to others. 


Besides Jive, what apps/software/tools can't you live without?

For software I use Snagit, Camtasia, Chrome (or FireFox), Gmail. For apps: NPR One, Starbucks, Garmin, Words with Friends


Do you have a favorite non-computer gadget?

Does my Garmin 230 running watch count? It tracks steps, sleep and running, so is a constant companion of mine. Here's a collage of running photos while wearing my watch There are just so many beautiful places to run in Cleveland that it is hard to choose where to run, let alone what picture to show. This doesn't begin to scratch the surface!



Or how about my new SkyBell? I work from home in my basement, so knowing someone is at the door and whether or not I need to answer it is great!


Outside as seen from my SkyBell


What you surround yourself with is important, what's your work space like?

I'm an "outta sight, outta mind" person, so many would refer to it as cluttered. Don't judge! I also have lots of photos of friends and family, my running medals, and books.


Some photos and about half of my running medal collection

What do you listen to while you work?

The dehumidifier, since it has to run all summer long. In the winter, or if I really need to focus, I listen to classical music on Pandora.


What's your best time-saving trick?

It isn't specifically a work trick, but when I've got a morning meeting or some other morning thing I need to do, I set out my clothes the night before. Then I don't have to think about that and distract from getting ready and in the right frame of mind for whatever is on deck.


How do you balance work and life?

It changes all the time. I'm not the one to offer advice, other than to make sure you take care of yourself. You should not be last on your list of priorities. I do like to spend time with my kids, one of whom is an amazing artist.


One thing that I did in 2016 was to travel with a Community Manager friend to Zion National Park the weekend before JiveWorld. We had an AMAZING time!!



What's your sleep routine like?
With rare exceptions, I average 7.5 hours of sleep a night. My husband snores, so I use ear plugs and sometimes white noise. And I sleep with a stuffed animal my family gave me for Christmas one year. It is a nice reminder of them, and also helps keep my arms elevated so they don't fall asleep.


Are you more of an introvert, ambivert or extrovert?
Ambivert, leaning toward introvert.


What's the best advice you've ever received (and from whom)?
I can't choose 1.

  • "What would you do if you DID know how?" Although at first read it might sound dumb, it does help you refocus. It was from a boss I had 17 years ago when I was learning a new role and doing a lot of things that really had not much to do with that actual role and that I had little or no experience with.
  • "Assume best intent" from my boss at my last job, and also reading about it in a business book (probably the one where she learned it). We tend to take things personally and jump to worst conclusion about people's words and actions. What if there was an opposite meaning?
  • "Choose laughter," from Keeley Sorokti


Thank you for your time and showing us more about your work style, Tracy! It was great getting to know you. I'm glad to hear someone else lays their clothes out the night before! I find that I'm so lazy in the morning I just throw on whatever is easiest to grab which sometimes turns into an interesting fashion statement.

You've probably heard of the world's largest cloud platform, Akamai. If not, I'm sure you've seen Kirsten Laaspere and Judi Cardinal make their way around JiveWorks because they are both fabulous champions who are always eager to help!  This time, they agreed to answer a few questions for us in our latest Customer Q&A, How Akamai Powers Employee Collaboration and Enhances Customer Support!

As you can see from the title, we had the opportunity to chat with them about what issues pushed them towards adopting Jive, what goals they have, and results they've seen so far in their journey. The best part? You get to hear from both Kirsten and Judi talk about what this means for both their internal AND external community! You'll also see how the internal community is breaking the process down into steps – first migration and now working on making the best use of the community with thought leadership and champions. On the external side, Judi is working on an array of ways to drive customer engagement. Since launching, each community has achieved some incredible results including 93% active users in their corporate sub-divisions (internal) and 141% increase in total annual users over the span of a year (external). Kudos to you, Kirsten and Judi!


It's always helpful to see what other people are doing to solve for company issues, so if you want to see why other people chose Jive and how they take advantage of the solution (regardless of whether you are a Jive-x or Jive-n community) take a look at the Q&A!


Thank you Kirsten and Judi for taking the time to help others see how you use Jive!

Are you looking for an easy way to share content with a group of people? @mentioning is a great way to target individual people, but what if you want to share with your entire team?


A great way to accomplish this is using labels. You can read more about labeling here: Labeling Your Connections / Cloud:  Labeling Your Connections.




If you plan to share with the same group of people over and over (i.e. your team), you can create a label and then add individuals to that label. This allows you to create your own personalized groups of any size.



Creating a label

  • To be able to use Labels, you must first be Following other people within your community. You may only apply labels to users you are following.
  • Under the Browse top header, select People.
  • Click on Following in the left-hand navigation menu.
  • Under Following, click on Create Label.
  • Select a color to represent the label and then name it.

Now you can start adding users to this group/label. Click on the gear on the bottom right corner of the tile of anyone you are following and you can click this button to add the person to your label.



Go ahead and add everyone at this time.


Now that you're done with that, you have your sharing group set up and it's time to start creating and sharing content.



Sharing content using labels


Existing Content

Now that you have labels, you can easily share existing content with your specified groups of people. For existing content, simply go up to the right corner and find the Share button.

Then in the dialogue box that pops up, start typing the name of your label and it will appear under Labels.


Everyone in your label group who has access to the space where this content lives will now get a message in their Inbox that you have shared this content with them.



Brand New Content

For brand new content that you are creating to share with a select group of people, you can also use your new label. When publishing content, instead of publishing it in a place, or for your entire community, use the Specific People option, then start typing the name of your label:



What do you think? Let me know in the comments whether you have any other tips and tricks for

Imagine you're on the product team for Big Rock Trading Company, a company that produces hiking equipment. Your team is looking for a solution that would allow them to brainstorm features for your latest hiking bike, gather ideas from company employees for the latest line of hiking backpacks, and regularly communicate progress to stakeholders.


Not sure how to get started? In our latest Tips and Tricks video, we walk you through how Big Rock uses Jive to build both a company facing portal and a private work groupthe perfect functional collaboration solution to fulfill their needs.




Building a Company Facing Portal


Step 1:

Plan. Figure out the intended purpose and main goals for your use case; this could result in one or several Jive places. Think about your intended audience and main stakeholders—what are their needs and what is important to them? A product collaboration place will have different priorities than say, an HR collaboration place.


You should also determine the structural requirements of your place(s) based on your goals. For Big Rock, they have decided on the goals stated above which would result in the following place structure:

  • Communicate progress out to the rest of the community = Open overview place with blogs activated and featured, would recommend open Q&A activated as well
  • Foster collaboration for product development = Private group where the product team can have discussions and develop features before release
  • Crowd-source ideas from other employees = Idea Jams in Project sub-spaces that are activated quarterly

For more information on the different types of places in Jive, visit Introduction to Places.


After determining your goals and structural requirements, you should start developing content. Before a place can be designed, it must be pre-populated with content.


Step 2:

Design. The design of each of your places will be driven by the calls-to-action.

As shown in the Big Rock's example below, here are some things you may want to include.

                  1. Buttons for your key calls to action (shown prominently)

                  2. Key Links/Place Navigation

                  3. Featured Products Team members


  • Be sure to keep your place a secret until your design is complete. When you are ready to launch your place, you can invite members.


Step 3:

Launching your place, developing a communication plan.

  • Think about ways to raise awareness through multiple platforms and incentives.
  • Announce your new place a few weeks before you launch (via newsletter, meetings, swag, etc.).
  • First few weeks after launch, use a game to provide incentives to encourage people to use space, reward desired behavior.
  • Make sure executives and key people know best practices, how to utilize place.


Step 4:

Manage and grow, maintaining governance structure and roles.

  • Ensure there are place owners to monitor activity and update content.
  • To measure the value of your place, look at the impact and reach of specific documents and blogs (views, likes, web analytics, etc.).
  • To view your community analytics, go to your place and select the Reports section.


Creating a Private Work Group

If you're still reworking designs and want a private place for your Product team to collaborate without engaging the rest of the company, you should create a private work group. The video walks you through how to set one up!


Have other suggestions about best practices when collaborating around a function? Tell us in the comments below!

Welcome to the latest installment of the How I Work series for the month of July! This month we are featuring a Director of Customer Community... Jamie Battin!  He just finished up in Q2 as our awesome Peer-to-Peer Community Manager for Jive External Communities. If you are looking for someone who has been through the whole Community Manager experience, Jamie Battin started with an open source initiative for customers and ended up with Jive, and is still leading the community several years later! He also has a NASA control center setup with three monitors, just like I do! The only thing I'm missing is the view of a gorgeous pool from my office. Oh well. Let's move on to the interview!


Where do you work?

Ellucian - We are a software and services company solely focused on solutions for higher education. We are the leader in higher education technology and provide the software and services institutions need to help students succeed. You can find out more about what we do on our website:


How would you describe your current job?

My title is the Director of Customer Community, but my responsibilities are wide ranging (something I'm sure most can relate to!).  In addition to being the business lead for eCommunities (our branded version of Jive), I am responsible for our entire Unified Customer Experience (UCE).  The concept is bringing together all of the solutions that our customers use as they do business with us.  We have a CRM solution that manages our support center, Jive, we use, Zoomin, Bitbucket and we bring all that together with our enterprise search by Coveo.  I work across the org to bring the solutions together in a seamless way offering our customers an effective and easy to use environment.


How did you get into community management?

In 2009/2010 I was leading an effort to launch an open source initiative for customers to share and collaborate with one another and we needed a tool to support the program.  We tried using a homegrown solution, (for a few months)  but it was not effective.  Then we launched a hosted solution that met some of our needs, but in the process we began to realize the potential to use for many different kinds of collaboration.  So in addition to the open source initiative I became the owner of the community.  The community grew quickly and in 2015 we launched Jive and we have not looked back.  So while the position evolved, it is one that I am thrilled with and feel satisfied each day.  Here is a screenshot of our landing page.


*Our implementation was 3 months and needed to launch quickly with the basic functionality on V7 hosted.  This summer we are upgrading to V9 hosted and looking forward to re-designing our space and leveraging tiles!


How do you use Jive at work and what use cases does it serve for your company?

Today we use Jive for our external community of about 35,000 users and it serves a variety of purposes.

  • Peer to peer interaction
  • Customer to Ellucian
  • Ellucian provides important roadmap and strategy information
  • Ellucian provides important product updates and release notices
  • Overall multi-channel communication


What about your community/communities are you most proud of?

Our customers are happy.  They love the solution, it is easy to use, intuitive, but most important, it works!  It is a valuable resource for them to share and collaborate.  They use it to help resolve business issues quickly and at the end of the day it is all about improving efficiency.


What's your computer situation... Do you use a Mac or PC (or something else)?

I use a PC during the day, with an additional two monitors, so with my three displays in my office I am really productive! In the evening I settle on the couch in front of the tv with my iPad.


Tell us what you use for your mobile device?

iPhone and iPad.


Pick one word that best describes how you work.



Besides Jive, what apps/software/tools can't you live without?

Password today's tech world with logins and passwords everywhere, without an effective way to organize it all I would be lost. All other apps and tools make life more fun and interesting, but there isn't anything I must have.....


Do you have a favorite non-computer gadget?

My Vitamix!  I use it to create lots of fun and great tasting pool beverages, healthy smoothies and you can even make soup!


What you surround yourself with is important, what's your work space like?

As I mentioned I have 3 monitors, (like a NASA control center).  My home office overlooks my pool, which is a great view, but very tempting on hot summer days!

What do you listen to while you work?

I alternate between quiet, TV, Spotify and Pandora.

For music I am all over the dish, love the 80s, Classic Rock, Current top 40 along with Classical... it just depends on my mood.  No heavy metal or rap.


What's your best time-saving trick?

It's going to sound weird in this age of online collaboration, but I still heavily rely on my email dist lists.  It continues to be the one thing that everyone has.  Not all of the people I communicate with are on Jive, not all in the company, Linkedin, or Facebook.  So if I need to keep a common group updated, I add them to contacts and build a dist list.  Saves me a lot of time and avoids having to look through emails to use "Reply All."


How do you balance work and life?

I tend to work throughout the day.  I am up early and like to get a jump on the day, but if I need to take care of things midday it is nice to be able to do that.  Conversely, I will work later catching up on mail etc.  It's a split schedule so to speak.  Here is another balancing aspect in my world.  This is Brady, a soon to be 8 year old Jack Russell.


What's your sleep routine like?

I like a routine.  Not much of a night owl, so 10:30 to bed and up around 6.


Are you more of an introvert, ambivert or extrovert?

Ambivert for sure.  If you review the classic characteristics, it fits me to a T!


What's the best advice you've ever received (and from whom)?

A former boss once said, "We are not doing brain surgery, nobody will live or die by what we do."  This was in the context of performing well, delivering excellence etc.  We want to do our best, but keeping it all in perspective is important.


Thank you for the wonderful interview, Jamie! It was great to learn more about what you do and how your community has grown. I can personally relate to the best advice you've ever received. Libby Taylor says "nobody will live or die by what we do" to me all the time, particularly when I'm trying to work overtime on an issue that can wait until the next day or a few days. It's good to keep things in perspective – it reduces stress and helps me keep my work/life balance... balanced.

I'm in love with the Jive product because it has the potential to create a community where users can build relationships, inspire each other, and do so much more with cross-functional teams without regards to geographical borders or time zones. I say "potential" because you can’t have a community without members, you can’t be inspired if there is no one to inspire you (self-inspiration can only take you so far), and you can’t work in a cross-functional team if there is no team. Jive merely provides the framework and tools, but the real driving force behind our product is you – our customers.  You study the tools, test out the framework, and think about what you want to accomplish before you start building a community from the ground up that is unique to you and your company’s mission. We love that.


We always want to celebrate the unique and impactful mission and success of our customers, which is why I want to give a huge shout out to Truth Initiative (I'm looking at you – mjacobs, Mark Schwanke, dragraham, Nicole Dueffert, and the rest of your team!). Truth Initiative, America’s largest non-profit inspiring people to live tobacco-free, has announced that they have teamed up with Jive to create a platform where those looking to turn away – and stay away – from tobacco can connect, thrive, and stay informed about the latest studies. Specifically, they are helping “increase engagement amongst new members by promoting norms around cessation and providing practical tips, strategies and encouragement.”


In only four months since making the move to Jive, nearly 8,500 new members have joined the BecomeAnEX® community and are 32 percent more likely to contribute on their first day, which will lead to a longer commitment to the community. When making difficult changes, we all know how important a support network can be and Truth Initiative has made a huge move toward making help and support even more accessible, user friendly, and interactive!


I admire Truth Initiative’s push toward “how can we do this better? How can we reach more people?” and pushing the boundaries of what they can do. As technology advances and unleashes opportunities that have never existed before, it’s important to rethink our approach to achieving our goals. Truth Initiative found through research that "online interventions where smokers connect with experts and peers are as effective as face-to-face interventions, but at far lower costs” and saw the chance to make a bigger difference in an economical way.


Read the press release on the Jive Software blog to learn more about Truth Initiative’s decision to move forward with Jive and how they decided to use the platform to create something that will make a huge impact for those struggling with tobacco.


Thank you Truth Initiative for your fight against the leading cause of preventable death. You help save lives!

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