Bryan - hello, welcome, and congratulations on your new position! Thank you for your question and for giving us a sense of your current systems and goals. I can tell you that there are a number of Jive customers who have successful communities encompassing tens and hundreds of thousands of members. So from a technology scale perspective, there should be no issue with using Jive for 80K members.
The Jive platform can be used to serve a number of constituents. You mentioned 1) users asking for help; 2) developer and open source contributors. Regarding #1, who should be helping these users - other users or members of your software project? Would the community be used as an offical support channel/resource offered by your organization? For #2, do you have access control requirements for the software that is shared?
My company uses Jive for two separate communties: our customer-facing, peer-to-peer support community, and our employee community. Our customer community is private - all members are approved before they can view and contribute content. Once someone is approved, the default is that he has full access to all content within the community. We do have access controls to our user conference material, and there is one customer segment that has limited access within the community. If you are interested in access control models, I'll be happy to share more about this.
When our community members share code they have written, we encourage them to post the code in a document (rather than a discussion thread). This allows other community members to apply a star rating to the solution.
With discussion threads, they may be asked as questions, and later marked as answered. This is useful for the next person who comes along to search for an answer.
You mentioned mailing lists. In our employee community, we replaced a number of high-volume mailing lists and moved them to the community. This required that the mailing list members be instructed to join the corresponding groups or spaces within Jive to maintain a subscription to that content. This has worked very well for us. Not sure how this would translate to a customer-facing community. What is the general content of the mailing lists?
As far as advice, the most important thing to do is clearly define and document the goals of the community. This should include:
- Your organization's goals - why are you building/providing this community?
- Member goals - what do the members want from the community?
Some examples are: provide a platform for customers to help each other; help developers share code with each other; crowd source product solutions (look and see what customers are doing, and bring the ideas back into your product); stay updated on company news / new products / industsry leadership.
Once the goals are clearly understood, can you describe what success would look like? Fewer emails, reduction of duplicate questions, more new ideas generated...
With the goals and pictures of success in mind, you can then structure the community to support these goals. I think Jive would be very strong in supporting requests for assistance and developer contributions. My company has been extremely happy with our selection of Jive to meet our needs both for our customer and employee communities.
Looking forward to discussing further if you like!
Thank you for you thorough and informative response. The "proof is in the pudding", as they say.
Its getting late here, but I will send you a detailed response in the morning.
Here are my answers to the questions posted in your reply last night:
A great deal of the support requirement for our company's product (open source project) is handled on an adhoc basis by the community. Employees of the company participate in the community on a daily basis as well.
We would not intend to use Jive for code management, bug marshaling or other development-specific activities. At this time, Jive would be used for our general user community and potnetially for an employee community.
The general content of our mailing lists is Q & A regarding our software. Mostly technical support conversations amongst community members.
I really do appreciate your response. I look forward to continuing my investigation of Jive and hope that it meets my needs as well as it meets yours.
1 person found this helpful
What you intend to do sounds somewhat similar to what we're doing with our first community. Some of our software has open source components - Linux being a big part of our offerings. We created a community for our developers and support people to help customers, but also to encourage customers to help one another.
Customers do occasionally put code snippets or programs into the community, but we don't use it for source management or version control. We also have strong caveats in our T&C about taking code from the community - it's on an "as is" basis, customer will have to do their own IP review, etc...
The community is at http://developer.windriver.com and is visible to anyone...no registration required. Take a look, let me know if you have any questions.
Our customer community, Protect 724, is similar to the Wind River developer community in that we do advise members that user-generated code is provided as-is, and is not reviewed or validated by our company. We do not use the communty for official code management or bug reporting, so it sounds like a similar model to what Bryan and Jim describe.
Bryan - Regarding the mailing lists, I am guessing that folks can sign up, and if one person sends a message, the other subscribers receive it - is that correct? And then folks reply back to all with answers? If yes, then transitioning these lists to a community platform such as Jive will be a huge benefit to the community members. Capturing the Q&A in the community will make the content stored, indexed and searchable. The community will be building their own knowledge base.
If you enable incoming email to the community, this will allow members to respond back to questions (discussions threads) without having to use a web browser. This is useful because it mimics the email behaviors they are already used to. This was a huge win for our employee community - adoption was very easy because we weren't asking them to make a huge behavioral change.
Best wishes in your search. Please let us know if you have more questions!
1 person found this helpful
As you can see, Jive customers simply ROCK. Thanks so much, Trisha and Jim!
Whenever you're ready to talk with a Jive Salesperson, feel free to email Tina.Engelhardt@jivesoftware.com - she covers your area of the US, and can share with you other customer case studies, as well as help with creating a business case for social business software and delivering demos based on your use cases.
Finally, check out these developer communities, powered by Jive: