Why wasn’t the Journey to Cloud breakout session packed to the rafters? Kim England is a perennially great speaker and had oodles of information and advice to share about moving to Jive cloud, both for those who are considering the upgrade and those, like me and my team at Lexmark International, who already have. The room was only half-filled. Pity those of you who missed it ; watch the recording, which is now available and check out the slides.
Bottom line: Don’t be afraid. Move to the cloud. Do it. As soon as possible.
England’s London-based company, Pearson, a world-leading education company, has been on Jive since 2010 but only last September moved to the cloud versions of Jive-n for Neo, the internal community for 40,000 employees in 70 countries; and Jive-x for NeoConnect, its much smaller quasi-external community.
Here are the major points England discussed about Pearson’s move to the cloud:
- Consider your community first. Most of us at JiveWorld work in Jive nearly 100 percent of our time, England reminded, but many of your community members are working in Jive only 10 to 20 percent of their time. Make sure you take their needs, wants and confusions into consideration. Talk to them. Have focus groups. Do testing. Conduct polls.
- Focus on strategizing the future of your community, not just its cloud-based future. England said that her Jive strategy consultant, Michelle Gantt, was instrumental in urging Pearson’s team to think in this way. That way, Neo was evolving as a whole, not just evolving to to be on the cloud.
- Fully educate your community about the coming changes. “Everyone hates changes,” England said, even if they make things better in the long run. She admitted that when Neo upgraded from Jive 5 to Jive 7, her team had not fully prepared community members for the changes that would happen. This time, the team overeducated community members, making the change more palatable and alignment with the changes happen more quickly. If you prepare community members for the changes, “probably two weeks after you launch cloud, they will have forgotten” what they miss.
- A major pain point probably will be customizations you have in your hosted or on-prem community. England said her team had highly customized Neo to make it beautiful and aligned with Pearson’s brand; further, spaces inside Neo had been highly customized, too. In the cloud, customizations are difficult, and even discouraged. You can and should work within the cloud’s confines to make your community beautiful.
- Get rid of your homepage and use the News page as the default landing. Pearson had worked diligently to make Neo’s homepage beautiful and useful. Team members were reluctant to ditch it. But in moving to the cloud, England’s team realized “the homepage is only one page in your community” and “a static Internet page isn’t speaking to me, it’s speaking to everyone.” News, on the other hand, is highly individualized. England said, “News rocks my world.” Traffic to the news content has doubled since making News the landing page, she said, because the content is more relevant to each employee. Asked after the session if there was anything she forgot to say explicitly during her talk, England said, “Get rid of the homepage. You’ll miss it for a day.”
- This was a particularly salient point for me. Lexmark’s Jive instance, an internal community called Innovate, has been on the cloud for over a year, but we have yet to get rid of our homepage and move to News. After listening to England’s experience, I’m going to go back to work and push us to say bye-bye to the homepage. We just need to bite the bullet.
- Be prepared for the roadmap and planning cycle to be dramatically compressed. England said that in hosted and on-prem, you have about a year to turn on an upgrade because it’s all controlled by you. But on the cloud, changes come about quarterly. “Two to three months is not a long time” to prepare, she said, going so far as to say that the quickness makes her “uncomfortable” but “in a good way.” She said her team finds a happy medium by using a toggle feature that allows individual changes to be turned on or off when an upgrade launches. England’s team uses the toggle to roll out changes to the community throughout each quarter, not all at once, so that community members can adjust to them more slowly. She said that timing seems to align with our modern expectations for updates based on experience with highly used cloud-based systems like Facebook and Google.
- Because the lead time for updates is shorter, you have to get stakeholders on board regularly. She said that the urgency of the timing has led her team to have more frequent and productive conversations with corporate communications, human resources and Neo’s steering committee. The talks aren’t just a formality but a necessity.
- Technical support needs will change. Because Jive cloud’s tech support needs are probably less for in-house personnel, the IT folks who support your community might have more time to more deeply explore how the Jive technology can be best used and not just clearing out support tickets. “You really need to think about that,” England said.
Jive’s Kathryn Everest, who introduced the session and curated JiveWorld16’s “Employee Engagement and Communications” track, said the most important point that England made was: “I survived.”
“The benefits of moving to the cloud so outweighed the challenges,” Everest said. “In the end they have a much better community” at Pearson.
See, wasn’t all that so helpful? If you missed England’s session, watch the recording, which is now available and check out the slides. Even as a Jive customer who has already moved to the cloud, I found the talk highly informative, both with new information and also with validation for how we at Lexmark handled our own “journey to cloud.”