It really has only been three months since our last major cloud release; and the next brand spanking new release is here! We're very excited to start showcasing the soon-to-be-released cloud features for external communities. Another sneak peek overview post covering the equally exciting Jive-n 2015.2 for internal communities can be found here.
But wait, what is 2015.2?
This release not only introduces new functionality, it also brings a new naming convention. To eliminate confusion due to seasonal differences (what the northern hemisphere considers summer is winter on the other side) and to make it easier for everyone to uniquely identify a particular cloud release, we've opted for a new naming convention. From this release, names will be determined by the year in which they are made followed by a major release number. As this is the second release in 2015, it is named 2015.2; the subsequent one will be 2015.3. Should we need to deploy a maintenance release to 2015.2, it will be labeled 2015.2.1 and so on.
- Preview Wave – Tentatively scheduled for June 4
- Customer Webcast - Tentatively scheduled for second week of June
- General Availability – Tentatively scheduled for end of June
Preparing for the Release
- Feature Toggles - The Winter 2015 release was the first time we introduced "feature toggles" as a way to empower you to consume innovation at your own pace. In this release we continue to make use of the ability by offering the Support Center as a limited availability feature that can be toggled on when you are ready to deploy it. Since we furthermore made significant improvements to two content types (documents and discussions / Q&A) as part of a wider innovation effort, these too will be turned off, to ensure a consistent experience across the board. In addition and directly based upon your feedback, the feature toggle capability for Targeted News will remain in place so you have until the next cloud release to prepare for the capability.
- Preview documentation - Similarly and as introduced with the previous cloud release, draft documentation for the update will be made available during the Preview wave.
Features and Enhancements
The most prominent and proudest capability of the 2015.2 release is the brand new Support Center. We're making it super easy for administrators and community managers alike to deploy focused support environments and do so through configuration alone. Building on our vast experience in rolling out support communities that deliver business value, the fully templated approach quickly brings together relevant information from throughout the community and links to more back-end CRM systems than before. The end user experience is streamlined, from finding answers to questions to contributing knowledge, stimulating further engagement and bringing together approaches and mechanisms that are defacto standards that end users expect. Faster deployment, easier management and a better end user experience drives all the goodness organisations need in a support community: higher degrees of case deflection, lower support costs and more satisfied customers.
End user experience
We have taken our years of expertise in working with the customer support use case and applied rigorous research to deliver the right solution. The experience is centered around the end user needing help or looking for information and answers to their questions. This is enabled through a dedicated new page that can be accessed through the “Support” tab on the top level navigation bar, keeping in line with the Targeted News introduced in our previous release.
There are three main driving factors when end users look for support and the new landing page is designed around these primary constructs:
- Search: I know what I am looking for and need a specific answer
As soon as users start typing, relevant results are immediately shown, be they answered questions, documents or videos across the community. Results are sorted based on social relevance (taking cues from activity, freshness of content etc) and users can also filter by place, category, content type or state of the document (final, official etc) to narrow down the information further.
- Browse: I would like to browse the different articles and educate myself further or look for options
When the end user doesn’t know exactly what they are looking or is exploring content, they can browse. They can navigate through various sections, which are essentially categorized based on places within the Jive community. Once a user selects one of these sections, they are shown a search experience with a pre-selection of filters based on the category they chose and which may reveal additional categories / tags to further narrow down the content.
- Additional support channels: I need an immediate answer or escalation channels
A configurable list of additional support channels such as telephone, email, IM or direct creation of a case in the ticketing tool can be presented also, giving the end user a range of options for further or additional contact.
The admin experience for support center is built around simplicity and ease of setup. Firstly, there are new entitlements for the support owner. Community managers and administrators can give control to support teams to control just the support part of the experience. With access to a subset of the admin console, support administrators can configure a number of options, including look and feel of the support page, which content should be shown and categorized as well as configuration of the additional support channels on offer.
Integration with Ticketing systems
Integration with Zendesk is being developed and will be released shortly. Support Center places can integrated directly with Zendesk ticketing to automatically escalate unanswered questions after a configurable amount of time into cases, similar to the existing CRM Connector.
A lot goes on in your communities and it's understanding those goings-on that gives you insight and drives the way you manage and maintain your them. The Community Health report in previous releases was a tremendous start; with this release we're introducing ever more sophisticated metrics. First, we've re-organised the reports so community managers easier find just the one they are looking for. New reports then show community engagement over time, captured in the Engagement Index. We're also (again!) introducing unique capabilities: interaction diagrams show who's talking to who. It will confirm, for example, that Product Management is fully engaged with the Customer Champions. It will reveal how perhaps customers from one region are unaware of each other and simply don't communicate, which in turn may influence the decision to host a local user group. Easy to use, this deep insight gives the measurement aspect needed to drive purposeful control.
You can use the Engagement Index chart to review community engagement as well as user activity, and watch how this changes over time. Typically, organizations calculate community engagement based upon responses to visitor surveys. With this release, you will be able to add valuable data points to that measure via this new, end user activity based Engagement Index Report. To calculate Engagement Index, we take the total engagement activities for a particular period and divide them by the total active users for the same range. The higher the number, the more engaged the community.
User to user interactions
Collaboration across functions, hierarchies and business units is at the heart of modern business processes. But you do not have the tools to even view, let alone measure, how community members and employees are collaborating across groups and geographies. How amazing would it be to have answers to questions such as 'Are customers in the new Chinese market finding and engaging with their USA based peers?' or 'Which products that my company offers are most silo-ed?' right at your fingertips? Our new, beautiful engagement reports are here to shed light on exactly those kinds of questions! In one vivid snapshot, they showcase the breadth and depth of interaction amidst a company's community base. There are filters to provide insight into interactions at a product, group or geographic level.
Your communities are by no means 9-5, so why should moderation be? Until now, administrators and community managers had to be at their desks or on call to moderate content and users as well as make decisions to ban individuals or not. No more! A brand now mobile app lets them keep a clean and productive community on the fly. With full, interactive access to their inbox, moderators can quickly browse user profiles and have all the information at their fingertips to make a decision on whether to approve or deny. The result is more effective and happier moderators with end users appreciating the faster decision times, driving up customer satisfaction.
We have made significant progress in SEO and focused this release around removing duplication and multiple references to the same content and fixing issues that help with better Google search indexing. Some of the key highlights are:
- Updated message urls to meta <noindex, follow> so that there is no duplication of content being indexed across threads
- Improved some of the pagination issues – added links to refer to the original post for all threads and messages as well as rel=”next” and rel=”prev” for paginated thread series
- Profile pages are now no longer over indexed
- Updated relative canonical links to contain the absolute path
- Fixed issue of googlebot wrongly interpreting “author” and “date” fields in blogs
Google openID connect
We continue to support Google social login. As Google has deprecated their openID 2.0, we have now implemented Google openID Connect that will allow users to login either with their gmail or google+ accounts seamlessly into the Jive community.
We continue to enhance the product to deliver improved performance. Just on average page load time alone, we've made tremendous improvements of 40% comparing Q3 2014 to Q2 2015. We expect further improvements and will publish the numbers as they become available.
Jive Cloud Admin (JCA) is a powerful tool for managing installations deployed to the Jive cloud. With this release, JCA enables us to provide instance specific upgrade and maintenance schedule notification to the administrators of any Jive cloud instance. So that you will always be informed of when your community will be upgraded, we will now notify you right in your own environment! No more missed messages!
Additional Pre-release Preview Feature: Improved Content Types
When end users are looking for support, the two primary content types they interact with are questions (discussions) and documents. To further enhance the support use case, in this release we improved the documents experience and added a variation on discussions to make the Q&A experience even more intuitive.Note that these are Pre-release Preview Features: features that are made available mainly for advance planning and early feedback. Feel free to toggle them on and evaluate them in your preview instance. We recommend however that they remain toggled OFF in your production instances. These new content types will remain off by default until future releases when rest of the content types have been enhanced as well. This enables us to ensure a consistent experience across the board.
Users can post questions to the community, with questions being a "type" of discussion. So far no change. The enhancements we made however are around how comments to the questions are treated. The view experience has been updated such that the community will display all responses as potential answers with a helpful (up /down) mechanism voting. Comments can still be marked as the correct answer; correct answers are then summarized underneath the question with other input automatically ranked by helpfulness.
The Document experience too has been streamlined and made more focused. The sidebar has been removed and additional information around "more like this" and references to and from the content moved towards the bottom. All social sharing elements have been conveniently positioned at the top right corner for quick and easy access. The document itself can be marked helpful (or not) with a single click and, based on this vote, will be ranked higher or lower when in search results as a direct effect.
It is yet another key release for us and we are so excited to be sharing a sneak peek of what's to come with you. As with every release, please stay tuned for a release webinar and further Deep Dive blogs highlighting the key features listed above. We are eager for your comments and feedback, so let us know what you think.
Thank you for the continued love, inputs and ideas!