State of Community Management 2015

The State of Community Management 2015

The Community RoundtableIn my line of work as a collaboration and community strategist, one of the key milestones each year is the early summer publication of the State of Community Management report by the The Community Roundtable group.  It tends to provide accurate measurement of the progress of online communities within organisations around the world, as well as offering terrific insight in terms of how one’s own customers and projects compare to the both the average and the very best communities elsewhere.

If you haven’t come across the The Community Roundtable before, you should really should read up on them and their activities. Founded by Rachel Happe and Jim Storre, they’ve been leading the way on research and analysis of online communities for a long time now:

In 2009, we noticed the adoption of social tools and technologies begin to skyrocket, but there was no corresponding attention being paid to community management. Our collective background in business operations and technology (Rachel) and community strategy and management (Jim) set off warning bells. We knew the use of social technologies would open a pandora’s box of implications and challenges for organizations. There were a few early community practitioners who understood what it would take to be successful and we knew that their tacit understanding would be critical to capture and share if the social media, community and social business disciplines were to grow. The Community Roundtable was our answer to this need.

Amongst other efforts such as salary surveys and maturity models, the The Community Roundtable publish the State of Community Management report on an annual basis.  The 2015 version was released a couple of weeks ago:

We are particularly pleased this year to be able to break down the markers of community management maturity into maturity stages, which allows you to see more detail about what initiatives are most prevalent in each stage of a community’s lifecycle. This data helps considerably in building community roadmaps and providing stakeholders with data that supports it. Other new analysis features this year include:

  • Reporting on ‘inactive’ populations in our engagement profile – critical for putting the other engagement categories into context.
  • Discussion of some of our ‘data dilemmas’ as we analyzed the data, which will give you some insight into areas of the research that are still immature or non-standard.

Ultimately our goal with this research is to provide data that helps you:

  • Plan and develop a roadmap
  • Prioritize resources effectively
  • Educate stakeholders
  • Increase your credibility
  • Demonstrating your value as a community professional

This year’s research is as interesting and insightful as usual.  I’ve been working through the key findings and recommendations this week, and have been delighted to see how closely the research aligns with Jive’s existing strategy and methodologies.  However, there’s a huge amount of great content in the report, presentation and recording, am so I’m still digesting what changes I’ll make to my own recommendations as a result of this year’s info.

If you’re interested in finding out more, here’s what you need:

If you’re either a community manager yourself, or else consult on topics in this area, I really do see this research as being an essential part of your arsenal. I couldn’t recommend it more highly.

One of the new features in IBM Connections 4.5 CR3: ‘community re-parenting’

As you may be aware by now, IBM Connections 4.5 Cumulative Refresh 3 (CR3) shipped yesterday.  

Amongst the detail of that fixpack, is a description of the new functions contained within it:

1. Reparenting communities

This function allows an administrator to modify a top-level community to become a subcommunity of another community or modify a subcommunity to become a top-level community.

2. Community activities view

This function provides a view that lists all activities that are part of all the communities that the user belongs to. The view is linked under My Activities left navigation bar. The listed activities do not include public activities, activities that the user tuned out, or activities that have been completed.

3. Badging

This function adds a badge next to the “@ Mentions” and “My Notification” links within the Activity Stream view.

4. Ideation blogs filter APIs

The new APIs provide extra parameters to filter the results by blog type (e.g. blog, ideationblog, and communityblog). There are also new VM methods for displaying most commented and most visited blogs/entries by blog type.

Whilst all all useful in some way to all the organisations I work with, the first is a key features that has been requested for a long time – in fact variations of this request have garnered over 500 votes in the Greenhouse ideation blog.

[line]The ‘Reparenting Communities’ feature allows a Connections administrator (not a user at this stage) to move a community to become a subcommunity of another community, or to move a subcommunity to become a top-level community.  

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This is done using two new wsadmin commands:

  • CommunitiesService.moveSubcommunityToCommunity(“subCommunityUuid”)
  • CommunitiesService.moveCommunityToSubcommunity(“parentCommunityUuid”, “communityToMoveUuid”)
[/box] [line]In the first case, of [mark]moving a sub-community to become a top-level one[/mark], this is the impact.  The new top-level community retains the following characteristics of the original sub-community:

  • Original access level (public, moderated, or restricted)
  • Membership list
  • Community logo (picture), tags, and description
  • Community theme
  • Original start page setting
  • Any existing web addresses (Note: The URL to access this community changes slightly because the parent handle no longer exists.)
[line]In the second case, of [mark]moving a top-level community to become a sub-community of another[/mark], there is a bigger change… 

  • First, the new sub-community with existing web address is cleared – Any “Invited” users on the sub-community that have not accepted or declined the invitation are removed.

The new sub-community retains the following characteristics of the original top-level community:

  • Start page setting.
  • Community logo (picture), tags, and description.
  • Community theme.

Membership relationships between parent and subcommunity are as follows:

  • Community owners in the parent are copied to the new subcommunity as owners.
  • Sub-community members and owners are copied to the new parent as members.

There will be an error generated if the following reparenting actions are attempted:

  • Reparenting a community that has sub-communities.
  • Reparenting a community that is already a sub-community
[line]These restrictions make sense to me – I can’t see how else they could have been managed.  It is a shame that users cannot do this for themselves, but given the complexities of ownership and access, I can see why this is the case.  It is great that us admins now have this ability baked into the released product.

As an aside, it is also worth looking at Domain Patrol Social, a third-party solution that offers a UI for admins that allows reparenting communities and much more besides. I resell the product and would recommend it highly, even with this functionality now in the main product.