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HealthSparq, a wholly owned and incubated healthcare start-up within Cambia Health Solutions, has created a wellness community using Jive. HealthSparq's mission is to help people make smarter healthcare choices.


HealthSparq believes the best forms of information and support come from peer to peer and expert to peer interactions. Yet, people don't always know how or where to find help and support when dealing with health and wellness issues, not to mention gaining access to this help and support can be hard if you’re not already in a doctor’s office or medical center.

Jive gives HealthSparq the ability to overcome these obstacles and humanize the healthcare experience by connecting people to each other and people to experts online. The value HealthSparq brings to their partner health plan members is a warm and open community that offers education, knowledge, support, and expert resources.


Healthcare is challenging, and leveraging Jive, HealthSparq is able to welcome people into these facets of their community with open arms.  For HealthSparq, it is about improving knowledge about healthcare (or what HealthSparq calls Healthcare IQ) and increasing brand satisfaction. Achieving these objectives relies on building an engaged, secure, and collaborative virtual environment encompassing patients, peers, and experts. Employers using the platform can help their employees to better understand and navigate healthcare, helping lower the number of calls to customer service or benefits advisors, and creating a hub for centralized information around any health care topics of interest to members and employees.


HealthSparq's online community is monitored by 7 moderators, 6 experts (such as nurse practitioners), a dedicated community manager, and a product owner. This structure allows questions and discussions to be answered in real time by subject matter experts. It is truly all about the people, engagement, and dedicated resources that provides true satisfaction: getting people involved in the community and collaborating on their healthcare issues. There is an emphasis of partnership with HealthSparq’s health plan partners, rather than a "sell it and forget it" mentality. These concepts lead to better health outcomes and enhanced collaboration throughout the care process.


Healthcare can be overwhelming. HealthSparq's health and wellness community connects people to their health outcomes. Using Jive, HealthSparq has built a network that helps people better understand their treatment options, enables people to get one on one support with certified experts, and enables true patient engagement with their peers. It gives people the advice that is specific their to lives. People become less overwhelmed with dozens of sources of information with one central place to improve their health. Their wellness community ties directly into the mission of humanizing healthcare. Soliciting engagement at every step connects people to the community while rewarding engagement with content. Jive gives Healthsparq the tools to make healthcare a human experience.



GoDaddy Makes 5000+ Employees Feel Like a Small Team


We all know there's no question that Jive can play an integral role when it comes to employee culture. Granted, we still go back and forth when we ask ourselves the quintessential, "chicken or the egg" question for community managers: What comes first, the culture or Jive? One of my favorite JiveWorld16 sessions honed in on this question.


And the answer? It depends on who you ask. More on that here: What Comes First? Culture or Jive? (Employee Engagement and Communications Track)


For GoDaddy, it seems they had already established a sense of closeness and transparency that was easy to maintain back in their start-up days. But they were rapidly growing, on a global scale, and they wanted to maintain that spirit of a small team. So how do you make a company of 5000+ employees feel like a small team?  In anticipation of this challenge, they turned to Jive.



A Mosh Pit of Ideas


It's often hard for us to describe what Jive is to our company's and the role it plays in our companies' culture. As such, I've heard some really creative metaphors for Jive but GoDaddy provides the most fun one I've heard in a while: "Jive is a mosh pit the of ideas in our organization."


So here's a challenge to my fellow community managers: what metaphor do you use when you describe your Jive community?

Let's see how we creative we can get and give GoDaddy a run for its money.

Today's Tip: Collaborating on a blog post


What You Need

  • Jive version: current cloud version


Step One:

Create a document in a place (group or space) where all collaborators (including the person who will be publishing the blog) have access to the content.


Step Two:

Create engaging content in the document.


Step Three:

Once the document has engaging content and is ready to be published as a blog, blog author should:

  • Go to the document
  • Select Actions
  • Select Create a Copy
  • Select Blog as the content type


Ready to go?

Publish it!


Do you have other suggestions on how to effectively collaborate on a blog post? Share in the comments below.





Other blogs in this series:

Jive Tips & Tricks: Simple & Purposeful Places

Brandy Robert, Senior Manager, Proactive Service Delivery, Oracle Corporation and Rob Shapiro, Senior Director, Customer Service Experience, Oracle Corporation, have teamed up to implement ideas in My Oracle Support Community. The Your Idea Counts! series of blogs (tagged with ideas, ideation and your idea counts was co-authored by them and will deep-dive in to topics such as why idea generation is important today; ways to capture ideas; user and business impact; changing company culture to rally around ideas; and, of course, measuring idea ROI's, KPI's and other intangibles.


Do you really have the foundation for why ideas count and The Thinking Model? If not, review Your Idea Counts: How to successfully implement ideas in a global customer community Do you really understand why an engagement model is so important? If not, review Your Idea Counts: The Importance of an Engagement Model Have you put together an implementation plan? This is really important, so if you did not, please review Your Ideas Count: Implementation Planning and write one. Finally, did you consider gamfication, real-world rewards, ways to capture ideas and an established process (internal documentation) to lay out definitions, roles and responsibilities? Review Your Idea Counts - Go Live to make sure you are as complete as possible before you go live.


Idea Valuation (a.k.a. Reporting or Analytics)


5th_blog_idea_valuation.pngFinally, it's time to talk about idea valuation (also known as reporting or analytics). We need to have concrete evidence to show the value of having ideas and that it is working to support the greater goals of the company and its customers. The problem, as with many other aspects of communities, is that it's not the easiest to prove. We won't even try to pretend we know all the answers on how to prove value, but there are a few things we can share and we hope you will heavily comment in this blog so we can, in turn, learn from you!


Proving that ideas are resonating, that they are important and that they are relevant is an uphill climb. It goes without question that an executive is going to ask the tough questions and we had better be prepared to tell a story. As anyone would think, there are basic metrics; metrics we might step up or elevate to be called Key Performance Indicators (KPI's); and, metrics that are modeled to demonstrate a Return On Investment (ROI's). Surveys, both external and internal should also be considered to either fill gaps of knowledge or acquire data not otherwise attainable. We assume this is already in place for you, so we are not going to address it here. If you don't have these, consider creating a customer success survey to specifically capture customer feedback.


Basic Metrics


We won't spend a lot of time here because the basic metrics should be obvious. At a minimum you should track ideas created, commented on, voted on, liked, shared and bookmarked. Used in conjunction with user data, geographical data, and any other meta data that has attributes which can be reported on will give you a fundamental dossier of fundamental activity. There is no attempt to minimize what this can offer you as these can and will tell you part of the story, it's just that they are not in the class of "why do I exist?" or "why should I invest?" categories.


Key Performance Indicators (KPI's)


Once we get past basic metrics, we have to grapple with the next level of complication to assess if a measurement we want to gauge falls in the category of really important -or- is so important that it will actually tell a part of the story that demonstrates a return on investment. On one level this will be subjective when considering your company's goals and objectives. On another level, we might argue that there is important and then there is important!


For us, which may or may not agree with your thinking, we like to group the following as KPI's:


  • Percentage of each stage. Oh, it's really tempting to demote this to a basic metric but consider some of the things this might tell you. For instance, would a high % of a stage called Not Considering represent a disconnect between your company and the user base? Or, would a continual high % of Active or In Progress indicate that your product or service has a quality problem? A wrong market target problem? A niche problem? Your stages are a transparent roadmap to your users, based on their feedback, and as such is a KPI.

  • Idea coverage. This is an interesting one and can be used in 2 ways. When you have many communities it can be a % of how many communities are using ideas against the actual number of communities you have. This can be especially important and relevant when you have 100's of communities (as we do). It's analogous to a community measurement we pay attention to, namely community coverage to gauge what part of 100% of product/service are represented by one or more communities. It may not always be appropriate or warranted to have ideas in a specified community, so the advice here is that the baseline has to be adjusted to not count those as a part of this measurement.

  • Percentage of committed ideas. If you take all the ideas that have a status which represents a firm commitment (for instance, Implemented + In Progress + Under Review) and divide this by the total ideas you will have a number that can mean you are successfully (or are not) engaging your customers in the future of your product or service. There is also a "read in between the lines" factor with this measurement because it could also represent whether or not having ideas on the product or service is resonating or attracting your customers to use it.

  • Age of active ideas. How long is an idea in an active stage such as Active, For Future Consideration and however else you define a stage that is open without commitment. To make the most sense out of this measurement, you would typically want to bucket each active stage with some period specificity such as < 1 month, < 3 months, < 1 year and > 1 year (just an example). In some respects, the age of an active idea is also an expectation you are setting with your customer which obviously could be good or bad relative to your ability to deliver, but also relative to the cadence of your releases. This is surely something not to ignore in either case of good or bad.

  • Selected views. We often pooh-pooh the concept of reporting views as anything more than basic, but consider some aspects of what views could be telling you. For instance, looking at delivered stages (Delivered + Partially Delivered), over a period of time this might show you an important trend and one that is influenced or impacted by your release cadence or your active participation with your customers --- a potential diamond in the rough.  Things to look for and consider would be cases where there is a high # of views, but maybe a low corresponding number of votes or comments.  This could indicate that the idea is not resonating with the users, though something triggered them to view it, so this could require further investigation or thought.


Return On Investment (ROI)


  • ER efficiency. In the beginning, this is arguably the most important ROI. What you need to measure this is a snapshot of your tracking system(s) as a baseline to measure. For instance, if customers log a ticket (we'll use this generic term to describe the technical support call) to express and document their idea that then transforms or is bridged to a tracking system where you keep "enhancement requests" (ERs) then you have the baseline measurement for 2 types of ER efficiency - one each for the ticket and enhancement request itself. Going forward, you will continually compare the creation of ideas to the # of tickets which if successful will show # ideas created going up and # of tickets (cases) and # enhancement requests going down. The goal with these trends will be to see # tickets reduced to 0 and the # enhancement requests going down to the number of enhancement requests you are actually committing to be done (i.e. no more noise, no more duplication, no more historical backlog!).

  • Ideas implemented. Here, you will measure what % of the ideas created were implemented, i.e. Ideas implemented % = (Delivered + Partially Implemented ideas) / total ideas. A successful ideas implementation will show a high percentage but what that high percentage is needs to be determined for your business relative to the product or service. For some, it could be 90% or more. For others it could be 75% and yet others it could be 50%. The point here is that you will need to put a stake in the ground (which, of course, could change as the business, products, services and customers change) on the advice of executive/senior management. This stake in the ground is also an inference for executive buy-in.

  • Releases implemented. While this could be a KPI, we position it here in ROI-land because initial implementation of ideas might need the support! Once you establish that your releases regularly incorporate ideas in a mainstream capacity, demoting this to a KPI might be ok. Obviously this measurement is: Release implemented % = (Delivered + Partially Implemented ideas) / total # release enhancements. This could also be called or seen as time to market.

  • Increased # users because of ideas or since ideas were implemented. This might need some fancy footwork or a survey. Inspect the user growth side-by-side with idea participation (creates, votes, comments, likes, etc). Your platform will need to be able to track by user and participation. Assuming you can get that, does the growth per user represent the increase in idea participation? It's a tricky correlation and you may be better off having a survey asking about coming to your community because of the ideas implemented there. If you can prove it on the platform or with a survey, you definitely want this in your bag of ROI tricks.

  • License or subscription renewals. Optimistically you will show growth of license or subscription renewals, but there is also cancellations to consider as well. The thought here is to measure this as a % of ideas, although which part of ideas will be up to you. We can see looking at this based on created, active, delivered and all three of these as viable.





We hope that this list of KPIs and ROIs will get you thinking about ways to have more insight into the idea exchange and its success. The list is not exhaustive and will probably evolve over time as we become more understanding of the model, the process, and the customer response.  Above all, we hope that these measures will give some insight into the community engagement.  It is not until the conversation begins do we get a clear and fruitful understanding into our product and service experience. Until then, we can only partially understand and know what the market demands and understand how the market is changing.  Something that would really help is a "sentiment engine" to harvest and translate what is happening in the idea discussion. With a tool such as this, you could probably measure some level of positive or negative sentiment from within the comments.  These have been developed for various social channels but do not appear to be mature enough to bet on the ranch. However, it does not mean they can't provide valuable insight into topics that are important to the customers and users.  They could even help to trigger further engagement by the product or service owner.


Whichever way you view measures of success, you won't have anything to measure if you don't get started! We hope that this blog series has given you some ideas of your own as to how you can align more closely with your customer base. We truly believe that starting conversations that appear to the collective audience will truly help to drive better product affinity and uptake. We hope you have learned from us, and in turn we would like to learn from you.  Our list is hardly comprehensive and this is where you come in. So, in being consistent with our approach in this blog series:


Final Action For You: Please join us to further develop how to measure ideas by adding your comments here! We are certain that we can all learn from each other and if enough comments are made we will be happy to collate everything in to one more blog in this series to reflect your feedback!


Your Idea Counts - Go Live

Posted by rob-oracle Feb 16, 2016

Brandy Robert, Senior Manager, Proactive Service Delivery, Oracle Corporation and Rob Shapiro, Senior Director, Customer Service Experience, Oracle Corporation, have teamed up to implement ideas in My Oracle Support Community. The Your Idea Counts! series of blogs (tagged with ideas,  and ideation and your idea counts) was co-authored by them and will deep-dive into topics such as why idea generation is important today; ways to capture ideas; user and business impact; changing company culture to rally around ideas; and, of course, measuring idea ROI's, KPI's and other intangibles.


Do you really have the foundation for why ideas count and The Thinking Model? If not, review Your Idea Counts: How to successfully implement ideas in a global customer community. Do you really understand why an engagement model is so important? If not, review Your Idea Counts: The Importance of an Engagement Model. Have you put together an implementation plan? This is really important, so if you did not, please review Your Ideas Count: Implementation Planning and write one.


Can you now say you are prepared and followed our suggestions and actions? Great! Time to Go Live!


Rewards & Recognition


What you do (or not do) to reward and recognize your users' involvement in ideas is entirely up to you. To that end, it is both an optional as well as an ongoing practice. We place it here because we recommend that you employ your formal gamification system in a stepped and evolving manner beginning with when you go live, so read on.


While the implementation of the idea exchange by itself should be enough to recognize those who put forward great ideas that are then embraced and delivered, there is something to be said for more formally laying out a concrete and systemic approach. Both rewarding and recognizing can be a key element to awareness, adoption, expectations and most importantly to participation. There are two dimensions to this which can be used together: gamification rewards and real-world rewards.



Here are some thoughts we have to reward and recognize users that can be done in the context of gamification software (i.e. automated):

  • Making a great comment(s) in helping to shape or deploy the idea
  • Replying to a comment to embellish the insightful portion of the discussion
  • Idea(s) created
  • Idea(s) voted on (note that this is different than "voting for" - here, the author of an idea has his/her idea voted on by others)
  • Idea delivered or partially delivered
  • Voting on an idea, although here we caution you to be careful. In our experience, we have seen users gaming this aspect and so we would discourage you from rewarding the user with badges/points every time he/she votes on an idea. Instead, we found that by raising the bar for when the user receives the reward mitigates any gaming while still recognizing that voting does have a part in the development and delivery of an idea. What we did was award a one-time badge with very low points (50) based on the user voting a high number of times (100). While you can follow what we have done, what is more important is for you to consider the same line of thinking and arrive at an award that makes sense for you. If this leaves you unsure, delay this reward until you have a better feel for how users see voting.
  • Note: Other rewards for liking, bookmarking, sharing links and the like are not good candidates because we view them as thoughtless and mechanical, thus have no intrinsic or contributory value. In fact, gaming a system just to secure any kind of reward or recognition is a likely outcome with these.


Real-World Rewards

In addition to what can be automated, going outside the box of gamification software, you could consider some elements that most users would consider to be a higher value than badges and points (and yet still use the gamification software to highlight and record the rewards and recognition) such as:

  • Invitation to speak at an event
  • Develop and/or lead a webcast or other social media engagement
  • Free admission to your next corporate or user group conference
  • A low valued physical gift such as a cap, pen or t-shirt with your company's logo or product (note that a high valued physical gift could be construed as compensation or against a government, country or corporate ethic policy)
  • Become a product champion - Invitation to be part of a larger interaction to discuss additional ideas or thoughts on the product roadmap...or maybe even to be part of a beta test of the improvement or part of an early adopter program.


We would advise you to consider starting slow and building rewards and recognition as your idea implementation grows and matures. There is no need to rush and being thoughtful about what and when you implement this part will likely make a difference. For instance, at the very beginning, consider only giving badges/points in the key areas. The obvious one is creating an idea and in our communities we made it a series from creating one (which is a repeating reward) all the way to 500 in rational steps (i.e. 10, 25, 50, 100, etc). The other ones are commenting on an idea, having *your* idea voted on (which is not the same as voting on an idea), an idea delivered or a partially implemented. Really, that's enough to get you going. Thereafter you can start adding as you feel it is warranted for more badges/points but also for arguably more important considerations such as leadership and sharing opportunities (invite to speak, lead a webinar, write a blog, etc) and recognition as your "idea champion".


As mentioned in the beginning, administering rewards and recognition is an ongoing and evolving aspect of your ideas implementation. You'll get a feel for what is right based on all kinds of feedback from users to developers to your own community management team. Making small changes can usually happen without a lot of fanfare. Making big (or bigger) changes should probably come with some kind of communication either before (if more feedback is needed) or at least at time of implementation so that users understand your changes and why you are making them.


Action for you: Write down all rewards and recognition you think are relevant to your new idea exchange. From that, build a road map of what you will do, if anything, at the time of go live, in 3 months, in 6 months, in 1 year and beyond.


Ways to capture ideas (both the art and science of using community)


When launching ideas in a community, we recommend starting with some existing ideas and seeding them into the community before go live. Sure, you can start the community fresh from scratch, but think about the missed opportunity of immediately engaging with the users.  What about that list of items that has been pushed to the side time and time again because the thought of going through the list and extracting out what is truly important or needs focus will take more time than you have. Are the ideas even still relevant? Do you tend to focus more on the recent and less on the sustained? Well, putting that list into the community as ideas can help you quickly determine what the users find interesting and important. Suddenly that list of 20 could become 5, and what a win to then accept 3 of the 5 for inclusion in the next iteration of the product or service. Examine the possibility of that instant gratification a user would feel knowing that their feedback and interests are part of the larger conversation shaping the way forward for your offerings!


Action for you: Identify existing and relevant ideas, no matter their source, to seed in your new idea exchange.


Detail of process


As we discussed in a previous installment, you want to keep the process simple. Already, you are embarking on a shift in mindset and way of doing things. It is imperative that you make it easy for your customers to create and present their ideas as well as the management of the ideas.  Moderation is what can help to simplify all aspects of idea creation and generation. When using a community, keep the presentation simple. We discourage against using templates as they can give you the opposite effect of the open interface you are working to achieve. Guidance can be given on things to consider capturing when presenting an idea, but refrain from putting the customer into a predefined box. Let their ideas come in as they may. Sometimes we struggle with expressing our ideas. If we throw the customer into a rigid environment where they are more concerned with release and version details, it can take their attention away from what they are trying to express. There is also another issue with predefined input in that you can inadvertently (or not) transform your community in to another incarnation of a ticketing system. We have overcome this challenge by creating a "free-form template" where we ask the user to copy, paste and fill in the details for the idea being created. See an example of what we use attached to this blog.


With moderation, you can begin to explore the idea, clarify the idea, and turn it into something that resonates with the larger community audience. Some ideas will be better than others. Good moderation is what can transform a simple idea into a more detailed understanding of the user's business challenges and what features or functionality can be enhanced to give them a more robust and universal product or service. Moderators should exist from various aspects of the business (support, product management, development, etc.) and be knowledgeable about the product or service being discussed. They don't need to understand the details of each piece, but should be able to discuss intelligently as it relates to the users business flow. Moderators can ask questions, as well as share their knowledge which can enlighten the user more about the product or service design and intentions. Moderators will build relationships with the users and begin to collectively examine and share insights around the product as they become intimately aware of the business challenges and asks of the larger customer base. In fact, moderators can help to identify those key ideas based on their interactions and use of voting or comment information. Remember that as moderation matures, a single idea can explode into multiple distinct ideas. It is a good practice to try and separate these ideas such that we do not get distracted from the original idea presented. There are a variety of ways that you can link ideas and collate them into something of meaning, while still letting the idea stand on its own merit.


Once moderation of the community is established, you need to incorporate some level of assessment with the ideas. While we understand that ideas will naturally rise and fall against voting and participation in discussions, one of the biggest measures of success is in the acknowledgement. Like we discussed in a previous installment, this does not mean every idea requires a response, but the users are certainly looking to see your participation and assessing the ideas is a big part of this. Keeping the users up-to-date on the status of the ideas helps to set expectations. If an idea is not part of any future planned direction of the product or service, be transparent and say it. Marking the idea with a status that is representative of this truth will let the customers know that 1) you have reviewed the ideas, 2) you have considered the idea, and 3) you don't currently have any plans to offer that feature in the near future. It's direct, but certainly more positive than leaving the customer waiting in the dark for months or even years wondering if anyone ever really took the time to look at the idea. It doesn't mean you are shutting the door on it forever (though maybe you are), but it says that today and now it is not a possibility. We've heard all kinds of responses for why we shouldn't tell a customer 'No', but we would say that there is a direct correlation to perceived lack of feature functionality and customer experience. When we leave the customer sitting in the proverbial black hole, you can bet their perception of the products and service is instantly tarnished.


Another thing to think about is how you will track the life cycle of the idea. We talked about keeping the status up-to-date, but you need to consider the process of how you will track the idea from a state of accepted (where you have agreed to take the idea and create some sort of solution for it) through the coding cycle and eventually through the release cycle. A lot of companies utilize internal tracking systems to manage their coding and release cycles, so there is a portion of time where the idea is not as clearly visible to the customer from an update perspective. This is where frequent interaction between the moderator and internal systems can be useful. We won't pretend to have the best solution for this process, but we will stress the importance of keeping the user up-to-date. Something as simple as an update sharing the solution for the idea, or some level of expectation as to when the customer can expect to see the solution can be helpful. Even if it will take a year, some loose commitment allows them to move forward and focus on the great aspects of the current features and functionality.


Once the idea has a solution, and the solution is offered as a feature, it's time to let the user know. Make sure to update the idea status with some indication of delivery and share with the customer where and how they can acquire this new solution. In cases where you may have taken multiple ideas to come up with the solution, it is easy in a community environment to link them together. This let's the users see the background to the solution and how all of the ideas and discussions played into the process of getting this idea into something concrete. It also tells other users that you care, you listen, and you are out there to make the user experience the best that it can be!


Action for you: Document a process you want to employ to serve as internal documentation. Include definitions, roles, responsibilities and accountability. From this, you could also consider writing a more brief (and less revealing) document for customer consumption about how ideas will work in your community. You will find both to be quite indispensable over time.


Here is something for you to remember our key takeaways:

Going Live With Ideas.png

SOCM2016 Draft Cover Shadow.pngWhen The Community Roundtable launched in 2009, the idea of measuring the markers of community success was unheard of; community management was considered an art that couldn't be taught - or measured.


Seven years later, many platforms have developed sophisticated analytics capabilities for their communities, giving community managers dashboards and annual reports with which they can measure and benchmark the activity and output of their communities. Jive has invested a lot of effort to providing dashboards and other insights that make it more possible than ever for you to measure the value and ROI of your community.


So why do you need to spend 25 minutes taking the State of Community Management survey?


Because platform-driven data is powerful but it only tells you one important part of the story - the output. It doesn't tell you much about how you invest your resources to get that output - your community management approach.


For the last six years, we have been tracking the management behaviors that make for successful communities. How critical is strategy? Does executive engagement really matter - and from whom? How do content and programs fit together to drive engagement? Does the community management work you do outside the platform translate to community success? How do policies and governance affect the community? Do strong value statements derive strong engagement? What are the most effective times to be higher-touch with your members?


The list goes on and on. And the better the data and benchmarking you can get out of your platform, the more powerful this other information becomes - the data that is the lifeblood of the State of Community Management survey.


We’re taking a closer look at the data from the Jive customer segment of our 2015 survey population for a custom benchmark report to be presented next month at JiveWorld 2016 - and come chat with us about the research at our booth.


3 Reasons to Participate in TheCR’s State of Community Management 2016 survey


  1. Improve your strategic perspective: Upon completing the survey, you will automatically receive your maturity score by the eight competencies in the Community Maturity Model which will help you understand your program's biggest strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Gain stakeholder confidence: by involving stakeholders in completing the survey, it will help you and them understand the scope of community management responsibilities and start having the right conversations about what to prioritize and invest in.
  3. Be credible: By contributing to the most widely read research about communities, you are contributing to the broader understanding of the community opportunity, which gives you more credibility and career opportunities.




So what are you waiting for?


Take the survey today!


We’ll even give you coffee or let you donate $5 to No Kid Hungry.

The clock is ticking and we are in the final countdown to the submission deadline for the JiveWorld16 Digital Transformation Awards. I’ve personally submitted to the awards twice in the past, and while I’ve been selected as a finalist, I’ve never won. But despite the slight sting of missing the limelight of the winner’s circle, I wouldn’t hesitate to participate again and again and again. Why? Because regardless of who’s selected as winners and losers, it’s always win/win.


Why should you submit?

Aside from the potential accolades you’d receive if you win (and there are plenty), there’s actually a much greater value proposition to participating, in my mind. This is your opportunity to look back and reflect on the social transformation you have personally ushered your business though. Having a documented story not only serves as a submission to this awards contest, it also becomes hard evidence, a case study, to share internally with your leadership team or share externally with peers and communities of practice. This asset will help articulate and prove the value of your community.


But sitting down and reflecting back on your life as a community manager can easily get overwhelming with details. So, here are some tips on how to simply pull together a compelling story:


Define your challenge statement (Think: Point A to Point B)

Look back at the past year and how you spent your time as a community manager. What initiatives did you focus on, and more importantly, why? Answering the latter question will help you develop your story into a “cause and effect,” “before and after,” or “Point A to Point B” solution. Some examples might include:

    1. We wanted to increase employee satisfaction and productivity
    2. We set out to increase engagement with our prospects and customers
    3. We needed to improve our customer support experience

How did you get from Point A to Point B?

Now that you’ve established your challenge statement, how did you go about solving it? Sure, key Jive product features might have played a large role in this (and be sure to embellish these if you want to catch the eye of the judges). But we all know, as community managers, that they are other keys to success. Things like navigating through political landmines, gaining consensus across key business units, uncovering user mindsets and personas, influencing user behaviors, and driving user engagement all play a critical role in successful communities. The better you can articulate this part, the more strategic experience you can prove.


Results can sometimes be the trickiest part. You’ve busted your hump for the last year so what do you have to show for it? Hopefully you have performance dashboards to look back on and compare quantitative results. But sometimes, the qualitative, anecdotal feedback gives us the most satisfaction. These results are the most important part of documenting your story, because it demonstrates the actual proof of why you love your job, and why your business should continue to invest in your programs in the future.

Some examples of results might include:

    1. Adoption of our new Jive instance was overwhelming with employees. Employee satisfaction results increased YoY.
    2. Our community blog was selected as one of the best industry blogs of the year. And traffic from our community to our gated assets increased xx%.
    3. Today, more than xx% of questions asked on our community have correct answers. And of those answers, more than half were provided by the community!


Walking through these three steps will not only make you a shoe in for the Jive Awards, but more importantly, it will provide you with a tangible story to feel proud of. And not to get too mushy, but that’s the bigger WIN in my mind. Share your story with your leadership team, share it with your peers, and share it out in the world for other people to admire and learn from.


  Click here for more information about the JiveWorld16 Digital Transformation Awards and instructions on how to submit. You’ll need to include some screenshots of your community too. But be quick about it! The deadline is February 5, 2016.

Brandy Robert, Senior Manager, Proactive Service Delivery, Oracle Corporation and Rob Shapiro, Senior Director, Customer Service Experience, Oracle Corporation, have teamed up to implement ideas in My Oracle Support Community. The Your Idea Counts! series of blogs (tagged with ideas, ideation and your idea counts was co-authored by them and will deep-dive in to topics such as why idea generation is important today; ways to capture ideas; user and business impact; changing company culture to rally around ideas; and, of course, measuring idea ROI's, KPI's and other intangibles. This blog is part 3 in the Series.


You now have a better foundation for why ideas count and The Thinking Model (or at least you can go back to your actions and our first blog Your Idea Counts: How to successfully implement ideas in a global customer community) in tandem with why an engagement model is so important (or, again, you can go back to your actions and our second blog Your Idea Counts: The Importance of an Engagement Model). So, now it's time to address governance. Before you ask - no, not rules or bureaucracy. Rather the preparation necessary to begin tactical steps to implementation:


So, how does one get started?  What does the path look like for a company looking to get closer to their user base in an effort to really hear and understand what their customers are saying? It’s time to start defining where focused attention is required.  Businesses need to understand how to best use their resourcing for the highest impact activities.  It’s time to let the customer base help you parse through all the things people would like (in the social context) to the things that affect their buying or their subscription/renewal decisions.



Getting Executive Buy-in


It is imperative to get executive buy-in from your development team or stakeholders for where the focused improvements will center.  Idea generation is all about improvements leading, in some cases, to innovation and better design.  Whether we are making a more universally acceptable product, improving on business flow, aligning to new standards and regulations, or designing the next new product, the development team is ultimately the manager and decision maker of these ideas in their implementation.  Without their buy-in and commitment, then all you are doing is collecting ideas.  What you want to do is let the ideas foster growth and change that will allow the company to compete in a market where winning means staying ahead of the next great idea.


But how do you get this buy-in?  Sell them the idea!


Pull out your Sales 101 material and get to work.  Your stakeholders have to know what's in it for them.  What is this new way of life going to generate for them in terms of growth and opportunity?  Think about this from a company perspective.  By offering an open forum for the capture and discussion of ideas, your company is better positioned to determine if...


    1. This fits into the strategy / road map for the product's future or maybe this is the start to a new offering
    2. This is something that could be offered today - often referred to as a 'Quick Win', that really does make the appearance that we care about our customer experience
    3. This allows for a more universal application of the product
    4. Would a change in this area increase customer success, making customers happy and more apt to purchase additional goods and services
    5. This change would allow for more revenue generation
    6. This change would give highest impact for lowest cost spent to develop
    7. This change, in a support environment, could deflect cases/tickets as well as reduce noise in a bug tracking/enhancement system


Of course, develop an elevator pitch!


Action for you: Test the waters or even get your ankles wet. Seek a quick conversation with an executive's direct report or an opportunity with the executive him/herself at a lunch, conference, dinner, etc. Put the elevator pitch to work! There is always an opportunity or one that can be manufactured.


Define the Plan


You will need to come up with a strategy for starting the conversations.  This is important in that you can start off slow with idea generation, focusing only on the new ideas or you can choose to jump-start the conversation by seeding previously presented ideas to the users and getting their insights. Maybe your company has some ideas about things they would like to do with the product, but due to resourcing have to put them on the back burner.  Well, what if through idea discussion, you could discover 1 or 2 ideas that users feel passionately about?  This can give you a focused understanding that would allow you to incorporate these ideas into the next design or code release, thus showing the users the seriousness by which you take their feedback.  This shows commitment to users and in cases where the addition or change is easily incorporated and becomes an easy win for the company.  In talking about strategy, you need to think about your goals and objectives for implementing such a plan.


The business goals for this project should focus around implementing a community solution to capture product or process specific ideas and feedback.  By embracing this type of community setting and openly allowing for the sharing of ideas, you begin the basic process of brainstorming which allows for aspects and ideas to scope the original idea into something worth consideration.  You also allow for the nuances to be brought forth during the discussion.  The open forum also tells a story about what the users consider about the topic.  Is it something that draws on people's emotions?  Is it collectively of interest?  Or, is this just a fleeting idea that can be parked in the idea bank? When ideas fall into the larger idea bank with little to few votes and no discussion, it does not deem them uninteresting or of no value.  It simply speaks to the here-and-now and what the customer base is looking for or considering as a solution of their own business requirements.  What is the goal?  What is it that you want to ascertain from this new type of engagement?


    • Create and track ideas
    • Allow customers to do the leg work by conversing, among themselves, the merits or demerits of a proposed idea
    • Allow customers to vote on ideas most beneficial to their business
    • Allow customers to collaborate and share each others ideas vetting out the applicability to the larger audience
    • Provide an open and flexible forum where the product or service owner can participate in the conversation
    • Provide a mechanism to solicit feedback
    • Change the paradigm for how we entertain ideas
    • Provide an easy to use tool and process for idea collection


So, essentially what we are proposing, exploring, and defining is an idea exchange in its simplest form.  An idea exchange is nothing more that the presentation, discussion, voting, and planning of new concepts and ideas in order to improve a particular process, flow or technology.  We must evolve the idea exchange into an integrated process flow by investigating and investing in available tooling.  The idea exchange is intended to facilitate this end-to-end flow in order to identify ideas, improvements, and alternatives all while offering transparency to future inclusions and product line roadmap discoveries.  Feedback is, and always will be, important from a company perspective.  It's a measure of how we are doing with currently positioned products, services and processes.  However, looking beyond the transactional and ensuring the customer conversation is represented proportionately across the customer base, we begin to understand at the deepest levels our products, services and processes.  Often times we view feedback as labor intensive and tend to push a lot of it into the depths of the abyss in order that maybe if we ignore it, maybe, just maybe, it will correct itself.  Is it that we lack transparency to educate the customers on what is being requested?  Are we translating the feedback and ideas today into our own understanding and applying our own defined methods for resolution?  We ask these questions to raise your attention to the need to begin thinking about things differently.


What are the risks to this consideration of adopting an idea exchange?  Probably the biggest risk to implementation is adoption.  Adoption by the customer, who is going to be very keen on seeing quick and immediate acknowledgement and response, is the greatest risk to this plan.  That's why having a well defined and well communicated plan is important to your project.  The second greatest risk is having the customer's attention and exchange, but not having the internal organization engaged.  The next sections will speak to these things that are so very important to the idea exchange's success.  You must identify the stakeholders (those who will be responsible for the interaction in the community), set expectations, ensure adequate and proper engagement, ensure the named parties are committed to the process, and lastly communicate!  By adopting a new plan and incorporating a community solution you can begin to make engagement, collaboration and your process less labor intensive.


Action for you: You guessed right - develop your plan.


Set Expectations (SLAs defined internal and external)


You need to set some level of expectation with your users.  Users need to understand that vetting ideas (creating, voting and discussing) does not warrant response or inclusion on every idea submitted.  Some people simply won’t be interested in some ideas and they will go ignored, and that is okay.  In fact, it can be a very positive thing as by vetting the ideas with the users, we are hopefully reducing the noise generated by large numbers for very small and tactical items that really don’t change the scope, the process or the reality of using the product. Activity within the idea discussion tells a story to the product owner, but it also tells the users a lot too! It shows the users how the products and services are being utilized by the larger customer base and becomes a great way to educate users about its use and expectations.  It also removes redundancy as the community allows for the larger customer base to search, filter or sort based on categories, topics or keywords.  Another benefit for a company with a large footprint is that often times a user may not be aware of all product offerings and how they tie into their specific footprint, and so many times products are viewed as 'feature lacking' while in fact the feature is already there but not documented in such a way that the user can make the leap to understand what is available.  Note that a community setting allows for more solution offerings than just an enhanced product.


Internally, you must set expectations as to what is reasonable in terms of the engagement. We can tell you now that customers interacting in a community setting are looking for one thing...acknowledgement!  Customers know that these ideas need time to mature, to draw in interest, to weigh on the minds of other customers or to even wait for a customer to catch up in the use of that product or service in order to truly understand if they are passionate about it.  Customers are not necessarily looking for immediate turnaround on these ideas. Rather, they are looking for acknowledgement by the product or service owner.  Something as simple as a clarifying question, a note to consider or a comment relating to the topic just tells the customer that we care and are aware of their presence.  This all aligns with the concept of engagement and is so critical to the success of the project.  Note that you may have different teams who work on different schedules for product improvement release.  This is okay.  By letting the customer know what to expect, you aren't leaving them out there guessing at what may or may not come.  If the customer knows that you only review and accept improvements on a calendar cycle, then they are better equipped and patient with the community discussion.


Action for you: Add this to your plan.


Get Engaged!


Engagement is critical to the success of idea generation.  The thoughtfulness and discussion is what can turn a good idea into a great idea.  Referencing a comment from our earlier blog, bad ideas can transform into a good or great ideas.   It is important that the product owners become a part of this discussion because as implied before, there is often times much to be discovered about the use and implementation of a product, and let’s be honest here documentation is often times vague and lacking to solutions beyond the basic.  The reality is that business today is having to do more with less.  Less resourcing is dedicated to maintaining and enhancing products and services, so we have to get smart about how we collect information and process it.


Not long ago, Brandy was involved in a discussion around ideas with a developer whose opinion she greatly respects.  The conversation was based on how we could begin to understand more accurately, customers expectations and business challenges.  In that conversation he said something that struck Brandy to the core:  "Customers make terrible software designers."  Wow...think about it.  We don't think he could have said it any better.  It is not to underestimate the customer or their use of the product, but simply to make a point: for some, we are in the business of software design, and that it is when a company truly understands the customers business challenges and problems along with their expectations of our product or service that put us in a position to design great products!


Finally, and we have said it often but bears repeating, it is critical that the product and/or service owner(s) participate. This is very key!


Be Committed!


It’s all about delivery. You must deliver on some items. What you need to discuss in your planning is what that commitment looks like.  Will you deliver on 10%, 20% or more of the ideas generated, or will you take the position to deliver on those ideas that completely change the landscape of your product offerings?  How will you draw in your audience?  What will success look like?  In a future installment of the series, we will talk about success, ROI, and KPI’s that can help to guide you on this journey.  But, for now, let’s make the agreement to be committed. Let's listen to our users to define the problems within the scope of our product and service offerings. These are potentially holding us back from gaining better market share, producing happier customers and making our brand the one discussed in professional meetings, around dinner tables, with friends, families, and in our schools and universities.


Commitment must be thorough and comprehensive. This means that the product or service owner(s) follows through on all aspects of managing the idea exchange environment including status.


Communicate, Communicate!


Last, but no least, let’s toot our horn a little bit.  When you actually implement an idea, tell everyone (and don't forget your user groups!) about it and when it will happen.  Use it to your advantage!  Be more transparent with your customer which in turn gives them reasons to remain loyal.  Give them what other product and service providers may not be giving them.  Let them feel confident that their voice is heard, their ideas are welcomed, and that you are ultimately striving to make a better product or service. There are many rewards that come from this effort.


Speaking of rewards, this is where leveraging a gamification process or system comes in to play to both recognize and reward users for their contribution (creating ideas) and participation (commenting, voting, etc), not to mention their idea being fully or partially implemented. We will talk more about this in our next blog installment.


Action for you: Add this to your plan.


Here is something for you to remember our key takeaways:

Ideation Implementation Planning.png

Happy New Year Jive Community!


There are so many neat things you are able to do in the Cloud version of Jive and I love that these features are making my enterprise community management job at Jive so much more simple, engaging and fun.  With Tiles & Pages and introduction of Call To Action Banner Tile in 2015, we are now able to create simple, beautiful and purposeful mobile friendly places within minutes.  Does your place need a face lift?  Check out my video blog for some new ideas.



Tip: Simple & Purposeful Places









Applicable for:

  • Jive version: Cloud
  • Community Managers, place owners/administrators with space admin or group ownership rights


Thanks for tuning in, until next time!

Time for some self-reflection on a day to "treat yo'self"



Let’s face it. Being a stellar community manager is sometimes taken for granted. On the surface, you’ve got an active, engaged community, free of spam, full of answers, and running on a steady stream of peer-to-peer participation. Behind the scenes, you are moderating new members, punting questions to subject matter experts, tracking engagement metrics, pitching to leadership, and constantly playing match-maker between people, places, and content.


I’m not sure about you, but I rarely had people lined up to pat me on the back for keeping the pulse of healthy community at a strong, steady pace.


So on this Community Manager Appreciation Day, perhaps it’s time for us to call a timeout, take a healthy dose of self-reflection, and remember why we got into this career path in the first place. We asked some of our favorite community managers and here’s what they had to say:


Dina Vekaria (@dinavekaria) from Pearson reminds us:

“Being a community manager gives me a sense of belonging. Our community is more than just blogs, ideas, polls and documents. I see people. Generous, smart, hard working people helping each other in new ways so they can do their best and be their best. Being a part of that, is really something special.”


Jessica De La Torre  (@JessDLT) from BlueGreen Vacations brings to mind:

"For me, the best aspect of being a community manager is bringing people together. Jive truly helps to humanize our team members from across the country and we all work better together because of it."


Rachel Duran (@TheRachelDuran) from CA Technologies admits:

"I'm passionate about empowering every employee in the organization to share, create, and lead through online community interactions. Enterprise Social Networks are where culture evolves into community."


Keeley Sorokti (@sorokti) from MapR Technologies shares that:

"I enjoy creating spaces that facilitate serendipity. When people unexpectedly 'bump' into each other in an online community I know that we've built something of value. They log in with one purpose in mind and then see something else that catches their eye and end up collaborating around a shared topic of interest. It's even better when this leads to problem solving, new insights and an expanded network!"


So I want to know: what affirmation keeps you going? Why is it great to be a community manager?

Let’s pile on the positive vibes and be sure to thank ourselves.


Because after all, it’s Community Manager Appreciation Day. How you gonna treat yo'self today?


Treat yo'self to a Starbuck by answering Adam Mertz's call for participation in this festive day, see: 2016 CMAD Love to Jive Community Managers



Bonus item:

Perhaps you are appreciated but are you getting paid enough? Download the Community Manager Salary Survey from 2014. It's an oldie but goodie that should empower you to treat yo'self.

It's been a long time coming (over a year), yet we finally found the perfect time to chat with Andrew Mishalove! From launching his second Jive community, to flying all over the world presenting at conferences, to working from his "office" at 39,000 feet, I was happy to get 45 minutes on the phone with Andrew to learn more about his workstyle and his exciting new gig.



Leigh: Where do you work?

Andrew: I work at CallMiner as Director of Enterprise Social Business.



Leigh: How would you describe your current role?

Andrew: Our initiative is strategic as far as where CallMiner is taking the business. Currently our community is in Phase 1, but we've planned three unique Phases. Phase 1 is about creating a thought leadership industry news and best practices space and a place for peer-to-peer networking of our customers.


My role involves the strategy behind the initial launch and ongoing strategy work in terms of the evolution of the platform so we're always bringing value to our customers and prospects. My role is very strategic and very operational at the same time because I'm once again working with a lean team and limited resources. I'm working with internal stakeholders and execs, aligning with sales, marketing and product teams as well as managing our vendor partnerships. I'm also on-boarding content creators, vendors and partners that will help us put together case studies and whitepapers available to the folks coming to our community. Finally, I'm closely aligning with customer advocates who can help champion the community so other users gain value from the experience.


So I would say there's not an area of the Jive community that I'm not going to touch at a detailed level. I'm living and breathing Jive, all day, every day.


Leigh: So how do you use Jive at CallMiner?

Andrew: On December 7th we launched our external community called The initial use case was to create a peer-to-peer user networking community, which is specific to CallMiner customers, focusing on product specific collaboration and sharing best practices.


There's a more open area of the community that holds industry news and best practices. This is more thought leadership content that has everything from videos to webinars, blogs, whitepapers, case studies and infographics. We're leveraging Jive technology to build community around the customer engagement space. It's really to associate CallMiner with thought leadership and to provide folks with a resource in the business, and leverage the best practices section of the site to intrigue prospects into becoming customers.

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 1.52.26 PM.png


Leigh: Since this is your second Jive community launch, what did you learn from the last one to make this one more successful? What were you the most happy about with this launch?


  1. Content planning is absolutely essential. I've been to tons of conferences and I keep hearing 'content is king'. It's absolutely true. Without robust content, you can create a beautiful site, but if there's nothing to draw users there and back, all that technology goes to waste. For my first launch we didn't have a great communication strategy for launch, nor an on-going content development strategy.  We eventually got this going and overall the community was highly successful, but it took longer than I had hoped.
  2. The CallMiner community strategy development was very condensed, but we put a lot of time and effort into the strategy. I started on October 5, I had two international conferences (Berlin & London) in between my first day and the community launch on December 7. We wanted to have a great design. We wanted to provide an easy transition for customers that were on a former platform to the new Jive platform. We wanted to have a great content strategy, so now we're working on a strong editorial calendar.
  3. Really good launch communications is essential. We have a great marketing team that is supporting us with great content, newsletters, etc.


I'm mostly happy because it was flawlessly executed; not one issue! I've received nothing by accolades and kudos from our users and internal stakeholders. Because of the success of the launch, I'm getting flooded with ideas (internal and external) for the community, and we're getting strong executive sponsorship. Our internal teams feel like it's a good value prop for prospects, and they're excited that the new customer base will have lots more functionality and they can find the intelligence they need much faster to make them more effective.


Leigh: Are you attending JiveWorld16? If so, what are you looking forward to the most?

Andrew: Definitely. I've been to the last 3 JiveWorlds, and I was focused on internal use cases at that time. I'll switch gears and network with external community leaders this time. I'm really excited about it, as it presents a whole new set of challenges. It expands my knowledge base of the Jive products and about building communities in general.


I'm also excited about getting back on stage; I'll be telling my new story about how Jive is helping to change our business. The community is already having a huge impact on the customer engagement space and in particular how CallMiner is able to communicate with customers and reach out to prospects.



Leigh: Are you familiar with the Jive WorkTypes? If so, what was your WorkType?

Andrew: Yes. It was very much on point, but I feel like I fall into a lot of these. The one that stands out above all is the Energizer. I draw my energy from the work I do and from the impact it has on my organization. I then share that passion with others and like to movitate them like Jordy from wolfofwallstreet




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

Andrew: PC's don't come near my home. Mac til the end. iPhones. Apple TV. Mac mini. MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac.



Leigh: Tell us how you use your mobile device?

Andrew: Mainly it enables me to work anywhere anytime: email, calendar, chat, social. I'm able to keep my ear to the ground in my work and personal life or just for fun. It's all about being productive personally and professionally. Apps that are currently open: messages, mail, phone, calendar, Google, Google Maps, NFL fantasy football, Uber, Facebook, Skype, Skype for Business, Jive, Twitter, American Airlines, FlightAware, GoToMeeting.


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

Andrew: On my phone: Google hangouts. Twitter. LinkedIn. On my computer: Chrome, mail, Excel, Skype, GoToMeeting, BlueJeans, Password Manager, Google Drive.


Leigh: Do you have a favorite non-computer gadget?

Andrew: My cars. I choose to invest some of my money in exotic automobiles; I have two rare exotic cars. Every week I take them out on a drive to keep them running.

I also used to be a DJ - so I have two Technic 1200 Turntables. It's classic DJ equipment. I'm definitely an audiophile; I love my sound equipment.



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

Andrew: I'm very clean and organized. OCD. There's nothing extraneous on my desk. You can take a ruler and measure the distance between everything uniformly.



For this role I'd say I'm 50% at my home office in Miami, and 50% remote (ie: conferences, in office, on a plane, hotel rooms, coffee shop, at parents).


Leigh: What do you listen to while you work?

Andrew: White Noise. Silence.


Leigh: How do you balance work and life?

Andrew: I don't do this very well . I will take very few breaks throughout the day or week, which may not be the best technique. I do Yoga and meditation to stay grounded. I work late hours during the week to have flexibility on the weekends to do some personal and enjoyable things. It's nice to have the ability to work while I'm out and about. I try to continue working through the day - to accomplish all I can. I'll typically work on Friday night in order to enjoy some downtime on Saturday or Sunday.


My home also brings me a lot of peace and when I'm feeling overwhelmed, I will breathe and look out over my balcony:



Leigh: What's your sleep routine like?

Andrew: I'll take in some TV, around 11pm when I'm starting to unwind. I'll go to bed around 1am, and I'm up around 7am-7:30am. Which doesn't satisfy my sleep need, but I've been living at this pace for the last 4-5 years. My adrenaline is pumping when I'm on work mode which allows me to function. When I'm on vacation I often crash and sleep a lot.


Leigh: Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

Andrew: It depends on the topic and activity. If I'm passionate about it I'm an extrovert.


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

Andrew: There are 3 that come to mind:


1)  From a fortune cookie:  "Success is getting up just one more time than you fall down."  I'm never afraid to take calculated risks and learn along the way as long as the lessons are manageable and are not doing damage to my cause. I'm constantly taking calculated risks and expanding my zone of comfort so I can grow and continue to be successful at the things that I do. I'm allergic to mediocrity.


2)  "The only impossible journey is the one you never begin." - Tony Robbins, a motivational speaker, personal finance instructor and self-help author.


3)  workingoutloud - John Stepper - "Sharing your knowledge in an observable narrative way so that it may help others.  You will also learn from those who are working in the same way, grow your network and build trust among your peers."


workingoutloud in real time with my friends from intreluk and @INTRA_NET_WORK in beautiful london



Leigh: Any last minute thoughts?

Andrew: It's been an amazing experience working with the Jive technology, and it's opened up a lot of new doors for me. Moving from one Jive client to another means more challenges, and I look forward to continuing to grow and learn about what Jive to can do for everyone, for us internally and for our clients. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to work with Jive, to create bonding professional and personal relationships. It's been a great experience.


Shout out to Kenny Lum, my former Groupon co-worker and now Jiver and friendforlife!


Kenny helped me create Skynet, Groupon's corporate ESB platform.  Another shout out to Skynet:



To learn more about me, please connect with me on LinkedIn at and Twitter at


Leigh: Thank you very much, Andrew, for chatting with me about how you work. I really love your fortune cookie advice. It's something I need to remind myself of often.


Does anyone want to pick Andrew's brain about his new external community launch?

In our previous installment, we outlined the very basics of what is an idea and how we, as humans, go about expressing our ideas. We later ended with, what we like to call, The Thinking Model. This model becomes the crux for future blogs in this series.


So, why is an idea exchange so important? Let's look at some of the stark realities that probably exist among many of our businesses today.


The Transaction Problem



We each probably have some level of a customer engagement model defined. With this, most likely feedback is transactional in nature from Service Experience surveys, ratings on a product, 3rd party reviews, to direct customer interaction via user groups, escalations, and/or direct executive level engagement. What's interesting is that most of these engagements are not truly collaborative in nature. You use my product or service and I, in return, tell you how good you did. But, what about my business challenges? What about my strategy and the results I am trying to gain from this great service or product that I have purchased? What if things aren't working as I intended them to? Sure, you may collect ideas/feedback, but usually they are presented as "I need the product to do X" or "Why can't I do or see Y."  But, why? If the product is improved to do 'X' or 'Y', what problem are we solving for the customer?


We often measure success on how well our design is adopted versus if the design is solving a problem for the customer. Let's take a form of feedback that most companies have today. Surveys are a great way to get a pulse on how well the product or service is perceived. Typically, there is some form of rating and a series of questions that may direct the user to respond to several aspects of the product or service, and even may go beyond that specific product or service to give indication of the overall perspective on the department/division or company itself. In our experience, that rating system is usually measured on a numerical scale and from that, focus is typically spent on specific consolidated buckets that may represent a dissatisfied customer, a neutral customer, or a highly satisfied customer. Surveys are a good way to get feedback and understand the general pulse of the customer or group of customers and their feeling about the product or service. However, they don't usually give insight into the business challenges of the customer and almost always never lend themselves to being a good repository for ideas around how the specific product or service could be improved or changed.


A point of concern is that when we focus feedback on the transaction, we tend to look at problems and potential solutions singularly. We fail to look at suggestions collectively as potential insights into how we can truly change or improve our offerings. This can lead to poor and costly design, misuse of resources, and misdirected improvements that are received by the customer as useless or not valuable. Without a complete understanding of business challenge and application, the company could be wasting time and money on solutions that don't matter or expand the realm of influence and application.


The transaction problems described here then contribute in whole or in part to the problems associated with knowledge.


Action for you: Identify and list your transaction problems. This is a prerequisite to solving problems.


The Knowledge Problem



That's the problem, lack of knowledge. When we don't truly understand our customer and what they are trying to accomplish using our products and services, we can't design a better product or service. Sure, we can take a stab, talk to a couple of customers and get insights, and maybe even pull a few ideas, but without the collective audience engaging in the discussion, our efforts may result in sub-par design and utter frustration for the larger customer base. When you consider that often times we are challenged with a universal application, it is truly tough to understand product change impacts when there are lots of different industry applications, special regional laws and applications, compliance requirements, and you name it!


By offering the ability to capture ideas in a public forum like a community, you begin to centralize feedback and details around the ideas, reduce duplication of ideas, and expand to a wider audience which allows for more complete information around the product or service. Think about it, you now have the information, at your fingertips, to complete a more effective cost analysis and better understand the perceived impacts of developing a solution to fit your customers needs. In this environment, you have your customers telling you what is important to them and what direction you may need to consider to impart product or service loyalty! The consequences of ignoring this problem, plainly stated, is RISK! You risk focusing time, resources, and brand on solutions that may only provide a partial fix or improvement and could quite simply give your competitors more leverage in the marketplace.


Action for you: Identify and list your knowledge problems, known or perceived. This is a prerequisite to solving problems.


Problem Solved


ProblemSolved.pngSo why not build into your customer engagement model that very layer - an idea layer - in your community. Call it what you will, but we challenge you to think about ideas being more transparent. Whether those ideas are truly public, or reside behind some firewall where only licensed or registered users can see them...EXPOSE THEM! Get the conversation started with your customers. By doing this, something magical will happen. A bubble-up effect will begin to give insight into those things that customers value as important or useful. Through comments and engagement, customers will start to expose their business challenges and begin to offer reasons into why they feel the idea warrants further consideration. But, more importantly, opinions will surface about the applicability to the universal audience and now you have insight, the insight needed for your development teams to design a better, more cost-effective solution!


What are the resulting benefits?


  • Leads to better software design
  • Develops revenue generating potential as, hopefully, solutions become more universal in scope
  • Reduces noise from traditional tracking systems
  • Identifies what customers believe to be of value or importance
  • Exposes to the customer those ideas which the collective audience deem important, not leaving that idea living un-promised forever
  • Engaging (or better engaging) developers and product strategists
  • Connecting, re-connecting (or better connecting) with the customer
  • More productive product management and support
  • Opens up the process to new innovation


In turn, the results from above become the foundation for measuring your success. We will be addressing the topic of ROI and measuring success in a later blog.


Action for you: Now that you have identified customer transaction and knowledge problems, translate the above list into specifics for your company.


The Engagement Model



Before outlining the model, make sure you define a process that includes development/service ownership and agreement on how everything will work.


Tip/best practice: This is a really huge one and you risk much by introducing ideas in your communities for which there is no process and ownership. In fact, if you don't do this you might as well not implement ideas in your communities and just let customers voice their opinion in thread discussions. Some platforms do not even have the ability to have ideas and in those cases, even if it disconnects the community from the ideas, there are open source applications such as Pligg that can be incorporated. If the community in question is a support community, it is also desirable (if not even required) to ask development to own both the management (status, etc) and moderation. Of course, you will need to sell development or service owners by showing them the benefits (and pointing them to our thoughts about ideas is a good start!).


At the risk of oversimplification and acknowledging that you may have specific challenges for which we have no visibility, the engagement does not have to be complex. In fact, one could argue that a simple and straightforward engagement model would help those new to the concept as well as perhaps solve any complexity currently in place. The beauty of simplification could be:


  1. Customers create ideas. The community votes and comments. Going back to The Thinking Model, the number of votes on an idea may not necessarily be the deciding factor. We see votes as a sentiment. A company's objectives and goals alongside how a product is designed (and can be further enhanced) in tandem with sentiment is the only rational way to make decisions. If voting is the exclusive means to making the decision, you could be both making the wrong decision as well as setting a future precedent in the community that the "popular vote" will usually or always trump other considerations.

  2. Development and/or service owners participate with probing and clarifying questions. Some ideas will naturally lend themselves to generating conversation. Often times an idea, as first presented, is not clearly stated or fully defined. So, this is where the development and service owners become important in either getting the conversation started by asking clarifying questions or as knowledgeable participants in the overall discussion. Insights into other pieces of the products features and functionality can sometimes lend themselves to plausible and temporary solutions while the customers wait for an idea to be vetted or accepted into the product's footprint.

  3. Development and/or service owners are also moderators. This does not strictly fall in to a traditional community moderation but rather one that manages the ideas. Setting idea status (also known as an idea stage) and communicating what will or what will not be are the primary activities. This is a key activity in that it is setting customer expectations. This is also important for ensuring that the users are focusing on, through voting and discussion, the actual ideas that are still active. Making sure that the ideas are clearly marked within their life-cycle gives clarity to the customer and helps in their own planning and product considerations.

  4. Implementation and release. Once it has been agreed that an idea will be implemented, the development and/or service owner transcribes the requirements and supporting documentation in to a release management system where it then follows a company's process to being developed, tested, and made available in either a minor or major release. The cycle is not really complete until it is clearly documented that the idea has been incorporated into the product or service and insight is given into how the customer obtains the new addition. So, it is important to ensure that the idea is tied in tightly with your knowledge base.


Action for you: Identify a pilot to implement ideas in your community using the above engagement model. Outline a proposed engagement model using the above prescription.


Jive for the Holidays

Posted by elisa.steele Employee Dec 18, 2015

2015 is quickly coming to a close! Thank you to our customers who make our business so meaningful year round. From 150M content searches per month across Jive-n interactive intranets to 224M monthly activities across Jive-x communities, to 16B page views generated each year from our products, you've all brought Jive to new heights. That's why the biggest standout of this year at Jive has been you!


Favorite Moments

My favorite moments on the job are hearing about what Jive uniquely means to each of our customers. You have accomplished much by leveraging Jive, and we're grateful for the role we play in helping further your missions. Here are just a few highlights of 2015:

  • Organizations around the world are turning to Jive to help build amazing company culture. Cisco, Cristal Union, Deutsche Telekom, Devoteam, FICO, GoDaddy, Grant Thornton, Modern Times Group, Portland Trailblazers, Standard Chartered Bank, SunEdison and Wichita State University are just a sampling of companies leveraging Jive-n as their hub for digital transformation.
  • We’re proud to support the work of HeforShe, a UN initiative that promotes gender equality around the world. I want to extend a big thanks to the program sponsor, PwC, for their partnership and commitment to supporting this solidarity movement. Jive-x is being leveraged to create a global networking community that drives awareness, activation and participation in the HeforShe campaign. Organizations like Akamai, Conecteo, Ellucian, Lifesize and Pink Petro (just to name a few) have also built powerful new Jive-x communities to connect their customers, partners and other important audiences.
  • We've made great strides for Healthcare solutions this year. Innovative providers – like Aetna, Humana, Parkview Health, Spectrum Health, UnitedHealthGroup, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are all building interactive intranets to help thousands of physicians and employees better collaborate and share valuable medical knowledge that ultimately improves patient care.
  • Jive's cloud business is now growing rapidly. The majority of Jive's new customers are selecting cloud for their solution. And many of our larger customers like Aetna, Cisco, Cox Automotive, Pearson, Starwood and Thomson Reuters are taking advantage of our cloud offering at scale.


These examples are just the beginning when it comes to the amazing stories I’ve heard from our customers all year long - the list of new and established communities goes on and on.



Product Innovation Driven By You!

I'm proud of how much of your feedback we've incorporated into our Jive-n and Jive-x releases, as well as our Jive 8 hosted offering in 2015. Your input came in through the Jive Community Ideas Space and meetings with our product teams. This input prompted great improvements to our news experience, mobile apps and much more. We also revamped how we deliver new features and communication around quarterly releases in direct response to your feedback. You'll continue to see plenty of customer-driven innovation from us in 2016, so keep pushing us to do even better and we'll keep listening.


I would also like to recognize all of our members who make the award-winning Jive Community such a great place for peer-to-peer support. I'm thrilled that we've just launched our brand-new Jive Customers space, and can't wait to see how it becomes your central communications hub for all things Jive. And a special shout out to our Jive Champions, Advocates and Executive Advisory Board who share their product input, implementation stories, answers to newcomer questions and general support for other members.


It’s inspiring to see all the wonderful ways your efforts are helping the world work better together. I'd love to hear any stories you want to share as comments on this blog.


I look forward to a great 2016 with all of you and I especially look forward to seeing many of you at JiveWorld in Las Vegas March 14-16! We have tons of surprises in store.





Your content is well-written and well-produced, engaging, even useful. But is your audience really paying attention? We all know what it’s like when someone won’t stop talking — it’s very hard to stay engaged. Have you tried listening to your audience instead?


Online communities are primordial (pre-web, even) discussion, content-sharing, and collaboration applications. While many brands use online communities for bottom-line-focused activities such as lead generation, others focus on listening, which helps them uncover powerful sources of customer insights, content, and industry credibility — all of which can support their marketing strategy.


First, let’s understand what is meant by online communities. Online communities are dedicated, brand-sponsored platforms that enable the exchange of ideas and content via a suite of interactive features, such as discussion forums, polls, content libraries, and member directories. These communities generally fall into one of the following four categories:

  • Lead generators: These communities are established by brands to bring members into conversations solely to generate sales leads. When a prospect joins the discussion, the sales team jumps in to press the sale. It’s a Trojan horse, inspiring neither trust nor engagement.
  • Marketing speakers: Long on broadcasting messages to members, short on interaction, the primary mission of “megaphone” communities is to share the brand’s new developments and latest accomplishments with prospective and current customers. Often designed and managed to optimize SEO measures, they also typically fall short on member engagement.
  • Customer huggers: Staffed by customer service employees assisting members in need, “closed tickets” is the key metric here. But in the absence of additional in-depth interactions and collaboration with members, valuable insights remain undiscovered. The community is just a “nice-to-have” cost center, rather than an outreach mechanism.
  • Innovation centers: Dedicated to achieving deep collaboration with customers and partners, these communities seek to share information, glean insights, and put community-sourced ideas into action. Through continuous engagement around the ideas, concerns, and hopes the membership has for the products and services, these communities identify areas of internal improvement and growth and provide ongoing feedback to members about their contributions. Innovation centers can have a profound impact at all levels of the organization.


Another is the Palladium Group XPC Community. Based on the balanced scorecard management system developed by Kaplan and Norton, this community of management consultants, strategy professionals, and operations executives pools expertise to develop best practices for use within the organizations.

A third example is HP’s IT Expert Zone, where corporate IT staff can interact directly with HP’s IT experts, asking complex questions and receiving detailed responses. By listening to this content, IT managers and directors can better understand the pitfalls and opportunities within their IT environment.

  • Process improvement and operational efficiency case studies: SPS Commerce, a supply chain solutions provider, created a public community for customers to collaborate on solving all manner of supply change management issues. Thomson-Reuters operates a global online community (intranet) for employees to improve collaboration and speed up innovation across offices in over 100 countries.
  • Case studies from member stories about products, services, or solutions: These are especially helpful for B2C or B2B firms where it may not be easy to identify engaged end users. For example, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) maintains close relationships with its large corporate customers, but may not know the specific details of an end user’s implementation. The HDS Innovation Center Community provides a forum for end-user innovators within large organizations to share their forward-thinking approaches, and offers a way to develop case study content HDS might never learn about otherwise.
  • Problem-solving testimonials through collaboration with customers: Analog Devices’ (ADI) EngineerZone online community was cited by 76 percent of customers as a reason to purchase from ADI in a recent customer survey.
  • Customer-generated endorsements and recommendations: Wireless networking firm Aerohive leveraged positive user-created content to build brand equity and customer acquisition. Mindjet’s collaboration tools saw a 5 percent increase in referral traffic after opening its online community.


Marketers considering a listening approach must beware of the impulse to focus too much on quantity metrics (e.g., number of conversations, articles, or members). A community with a seemingly high number of likes, for example, may not generate the kind of thoughtful exchanges that support a brand’s content marketing strategy. Instead, examine whether your community provides deeper insights, such as a case study worth sharing, an insight worth pursuing in a long-format report, or an idea around which to build a new product.


5 tips for building a successful listening community

Online communities are social entities. Even the most focused and defined membership will display a remarkable range of behaviors and contribution styles. Community managers should foster a diversity of opinions and avoid closing down fruitful, if sometimes intense, discussions. Attentive listening by community managers — signaling they are actively observing your community’s conversations — will confirm to members that your organization is paying attention to what they are saying.

Caveat: Don’t stifle disagreements, disputes, or complaints. Online communities are an early warning system for product and service issues — and, sometimes, the next big thing that could transform your firm. Redirect or resolve problematic discussions through engagement rather than censorship.


Tip 2: Encourage conversations through engagement

Community members can supply clues — and contributors — for great user stories, case studies, and thought leadership. Encourage in-depth discussions, especially among subject matter experts, and highlight their contributions. Internal communities can be a rich source of insights and ideas for improving operational efficiency, product/service enhancements, and innovations — if members have an incentive to contribute. Be sure to ask good questions, solicit feedback, and invite others into the conversation.

Caveat: Sustaining the flow of ideas and insights from the community is a marathon, not a sprint. A long-term marketing strategy for member engagement should attract new members and reward long-time contributors.


Tip 3: Empower members

Reward active participants with opportunities to guide discussions and share their expertise. When a community attracts or develops its own subject matter experts from within the membership, their contributions add to their own reputation and to the unique value of your branded community.

Celebrate this homegrown thought leadership by rewarding those star contributors with offline and online appreciation.

Caveat: Empowering members may mean respecting their privacy and sheltering their discussions from public view — especially for executives, established experts, and others with confidentiality concerns. Creating private peer-to-peer networks can encourage more candid conversations.


Tip 4: Respect and reward contributions

While the terms and conditions governing your online community contributions may allow you to use your members’ contributions however you wish, common sense and courtesy dictate that you request permission before doing so. Acknowledgement and an honorarium for the most valuable contributions are usually all that’s needed.

Caveat: Don’t overtip. Your community members will be highly attuned and aware of the most valuable individual contributors and contributions. Make sure the rewards match the community’s sense of value, not just your organization’s agenda.


Tip 5: Build trust

Online communities quickly develop a keen sensitivity to what is authentic and what is not. Organizations that remain authentic, maintaining trust with their online community members, will see that reflected in external perceptions of the firm across all its activities. Building and maintaining trust is an essential component of a successful online community.

Caveat: Authenticity takes work, strong governance, constant attention and vigilance. Internal teams working with community members need clear guidance on handling issues where evasion or inauthenticity may appear to be the best option. Keep it real.

Here at Jive, we have our own Jive-n Instance called Brewspace, where all Jivers collaborate daily. On the HR Team, on our main use cases of  Brewspace is to ramp up new employees globally. In the first 3 quarters of 2015 alone, we onboarded 251 new employees in 5 countries and 14 states. Not bad for a small but mighty HR team. Over the year, it became increasingly apparent that we had a great opportunity to streamline our company onboarding process and provide a clear source of official content. Through the process I learned four key things (along with lots of other nuggets of wisdom) that kept us on track and marching toward our goals.


1. List out goals before the process -

Our goal was to create an environment within Jive to help new employees find the resources, information and assistance they need to become engaged, connected and productive. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how beautiful or well thought out the new hire space is if it doesn't meet the goals of the organization. We partnered with our Professional Services Practice Manager, Dorothy Toppercer, and our Community Manager, Kosheno Moore, who guided our HR implementation team through the process and identified the following goals:

  • Onboarding employees more quickly, so that they can be productive and provide value as quickly as possible;
    • Increase ease of access to information and increase HR efficiency by reducing the amount of time spent responding to queries or FAQs;
    • Increase Employees efficiency by sharing important documents, procedures and links with new employees;
  • Ensure new employees are well versed in the company strategy, goals and structure;
  • Integration and awareness into company culture; and
  • Simplifying the new employee experience (cleaning up the existing content and processes).


2. Break it down -

We have employees onboarding in several countries, each with their own unique requirements. Historically, we used a single new hire checklist for all employees and denoted which locations each task was applicable for. Through the process of preparing a detailed activity inventory (identifying each activity a new hire would be involved in) and breaking it down by location (country, in office vs. remote, etc.), we found that it made more sense to have separate checklists for the Americas, EMEA/APJ, and Israel. Beyond that, we were able to detail applicable information unique to the employee using that particular checklist. No longer were Israeli employees trying to decide if they need to provide an I-9 form, instead that item only showed up in the checklist for employees in the United States. Below is a sample of our Americas checklist. You'll see the large pink buttons at the top of the page allow the employee to make a copy of the checklist, customize it and save it for frequent use.



3. Keep it simple -

Once we built out our checklist, we developed "wrapper content" explaining each item on the list and provided a talk track to go with it. While we meet with new hires on their first day to talk through all the items, there are many details they can't just absorb all at once. These wrappers allow us to provide the correct information in our Jive-style: conversational, helpful and friendly. By marking the content as official, new hires can be positive they found the HR-sanctioned information that is up to date and accurate. This helps to help cut down on the amount of questions our HR representatives were answering on a weekly basis.  You'll also notice that we formated the content to provide a consistent visual that these are all a part of the same onboarding. Jive pictures up the fun factor and break up the large blocks of text.



4. - It's not just what we do, but how we do it -

Culture is critical to Jive's continued success. We talk about it openly and often. We knew when building out the new onboarding that it would be crucial for us to impart that on new Jivers and give them a way to practice this early on. One of the key pieces of being a Jiver is working in Brewspace (our version of Jive-n). We used the new checklist as an opportunity to get our Brewspace Onboarding program front and center, complete with all the reasons getting ramped on Brewspace is so important. By linking all our resources, including Brewspace Onboarding, into the checklist we ensure we are keeping employees in the product to do the training, learning and exploring. We also give them the opportunity to start DOING. They are encouraged to join a group, post a status, follow the executive team, write a "first week" blog introducing themselves to Jive, and more. All these activities let them put into action the things they are learning and  practice working out loud.



Two months post-launch, I am happy to report that we have accomplished our goal. We have a beautiful new group that, more importantly, has allowed us to create an environment within Jive to help new employees find the resources, information and assistance they need to become engaged, connected and productive. Check out the final product:




Now tell me this, what things do you do to onboard your employees quicker and more efficiently? Have you found anything critical to your success in ramping up new employees? Share your tips in the comments below.

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