Wow, I just got out of an amazing session at JiveWorld 14 called “Guiding a Successful Community Liftoff". It literary highlighted the narrative of community building from two very different approaches. VCE tackled community implementation from a functional requirements perspective and Okta tackled it from a more technical design perspective. There are awesome learnings in both approaches and a common message that tied them together : investing time and resource in planning for a successful community is key!
Tamera Rousseau-Vesta from VCE is always asking how to make the customer experience better? Some of the problems Tamera was trying to tackle: engaging in 1:1 support model is never scalable and many customers were connecting about their company in various other places. Yes, people are talking about you in other places. she said, "If you don’t know what other people are saying about you, you really don’t know your brand identity". That is why it is important to create a nice “room" so that people can talk about you in it (hopefully nice things , but if not, you will know what to fix).
So how to create this room? Here are Tamera's steps. First step is to align the community goals with the company goals – what are you trying to achieve in general? Second step is to define the processes – what are some of the governance that needs to be implemented? Third step is to identify content – what does your customers and employees want to see? Fourth step is to eliminate barriers - and do take time to identify them. And finally, the fifth step is to establish ownership. VCE knew that different stakeholders have very different goals for social. Marketing wants case studies and customer advocacy on their products. They also cared about web traffics. Product development cared more about engaging the customers directly to the ideation process. Why not get product feedback directly from customers instead of through support? Support cared about knowledge base that contained accurate and fluid information. Understanding the goals of these stakeholders gave VCE sponsorship to move forward on a community implementation. Tamera feels that VCE community has matured to a point where they are able to engage with their customers and answer their questions. Their customers now have an awesome room to talk about VCE.
Stephen Lee from Okta is an identity management guy, it in his DNA (those were his words). Stephen was trying to solve the problem of internal communication struggle at his company. There were too many ways to ask questions and inconsistent response time…too many ways to ignore a question. The way Stephen prepared to address this problem was to set up a social community. He initially focused on identifying the personas - what types of users are coming into a community? Then he focused on the community architecture - is it going to be external or internal or both? What is the identity lifestyle going to look like? Should it be provisioned with automation (single sign on, automated deactivation of accounts) or manual registration? Once those questions were answered and with the help of Jive Professional Services, Okta’s community was ready. They have a place to invite their employees, customers and partners so that they can communicate.
Tamara and Stephen agreed that in order to successfully deploy a community, you do need a business person and a technical person working together. Without aligning with business strategies, a collaboration tool will become just another platform. Without the technical expertise, there may be quite a few missed opportunity in properly implementing the use case. When you have both, you are at the sweet spot and well on your way to an amazing community.