I was speaking with an eBusiness executive today who summarized his efforts around launching a support community in three succinctly non-ambiguous words: “It ain’t easy.”
A community can have many strategic purposes: PR, brand management, product development, customer service.
My colleague Melissa Parrish has written a really helpful report called “Community Management Checklist.” If you are considering launching — or have launched and want to optimize — a community, I highly recommend this report.
If your objectives are customer service-related, you will have unique requirements such as securing and rewarding internal product experts’ participation and creating internal guidelines around when to respond. To date, there hasn't been a wealth of established best practices for support communities. To assist in launching a support community, we’ve just published my report called, “Essentials To Planning A Successful Support Community.”
As a user of support communities, I’ve often wondered about what motivated these helpful strangers to guide me through resolving a download hiccup on my iTunes upgrade or navigating the mysteries of changing toner on my new printer. I’ve learned that — while their motivation may be a mystery to me — a good community manager knows exactly why each of these super-users participate, for example, for recognition, helping other people, or product passion. Some support community managers even telephone enthusiasts to develop direct relationships with them.
What will business and technology be like in 2020 – and what’s IT’s place in this new world? This is the subject of a teleconference that James Staten and I held for our clients yesterday and also the subject of an upcoming Forrester report.
In this teleconference, we painted a picture of the impact of business-ready, self-service technology, a tech-savvy and self-sufficient workforce, and a business world in which today’s emerging economies dwarf the established ones, bringing a billion new consumers with a radically different view of products and services, as well as in which surging resource costs – especially energy costs – crush today’s global business models.
In the past, when new waves of technology swept into our businesses – everything from the 1980s’ PCs to today’s empowered technologies – the reaction was the swinging pendulum of “decentralized/embedded IT” followed by “centralized/industrialized IT.” These tired old reactions won’t work in the world 2020. Instead, businesses must move to a model we call Empowered BT.
Empowered BT empowers business to pursue opportunities at the edge and the grassroots – but to balance this empowerment with enterprise concerns. Key to this balance is the interplay between four new “meta roles” – visionaries, consultants, integrators, and sustainability experts – combined with a new operating model based on guidelines, mentoring, and inspection. Also key is IT changing from a mindset in which it needs to control technology to one in which it embraces business ownership of technology decisions.
The teleconference chat window was busy as James and I presented our research. Here are the questions we weren’t able to answer due to time.
As the year comes to a close, it’s good to put a wrap on it by reviewing all the shifts — both subtle and seismic — that have rocked the world of enterprise architecture (EA). I really enjoyed Gene Leganza’s recent look back — and look ahead — on the top 15 EA technology trends, and not just because he incorporated findings from my recent Empowered reports on social network analysis and analytics-driven engagement in multichannel customer relationship management (CRM).
You can read those Empowered reports to get a deep dive on how those trends evolved in 2010 and what we see on the horizon for 2011 and beyond. Fundamentally, Forrester considers deep customer engagement through social media as a hallmark of the leading-edge customer service operation. A growing range of companies have established social-media-based customer communities for service and support, involving various blends of social media, blogging, and other approaches.