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Upgrading to Jive 6.0: Another Step in the Social Journey

About four months ago we were asked what our community teams needed to accelerate our plans to upgrade to the latest version of the Jive Software platform and redesign the experience. The answer basically came back that we needed an “All Hands On Deck” approach from all teams, including vendors. We outlined our plans and began setting up weekly sprints and daily standup meetings to accelerate the design, upgrade and integration customizations to the community to integrate with the website. So while the design team and our agency Razorfish started interviewing the community members to solicit design feedback, the IT team began working closely with Jive Software professional services team to get development environments setup and timeline for integrating the design, single sign on, security and other integrations that are business requirements.

So, far so good but this is the fastest we have ever rolled out an upgrade not to mention a totally new experience, design and functionality. We are down to the last few weeks and we have hit a few items that tripped us up primarily due to some of our own internal integrations. One was changes to the web services to the Jive 6.0 platform from the 4.5.6 version. We have several other applications that are leveraging community conversations and those changes broke some of the integrations with the upgrade testing. The other item was also primarily our own internal integrations and that was our single sign-on. The good bad and ugly is that we have have successfully grown our community activity month over month by 10-20% and upward of 66% YoY. This is fantastic but it is pushing the limits of our little SSO design and now really need to come up with a better solution that not only supports the community requirements but also deliver a single sign-on registration experience across any digital asset. This way when anonymous visitors come to the website, download a white paper and then want to engage in a discussion on the community or search the tech support knowledge base they don’t need a login for every different platform. That experience should be seamless and we are starting to scope out the backend technology that will allow us to provide the type of experience. The third item that kind of delayed us was just implementing the new design and making it functional. We are still working on that and probably will be right up until we go live.

The cool thing is we have introduced product category landing pages which surface all communities around a particular technology, i.e. backup and recovery, storage, security, virtualization etc… So, members don’t have to go to a different community to get support and another for beta productions, and another for best practice solutions… One community page with all communities should help improve the overall navigation experience and help expose content quicker to the user. What we learned is that we needed graphics to build these pages out. Also, when you browse places in Jive 6.0 (and 5.0 as well I guess) all communities appear in a tile view by default. So, if you don’t want all your communities to look like a single default image you need to create some new icons to create a pleasing viewing experience otherwise it looks incomplete.

One other item that we didn’t realize until we had our testing environment up an running is that any change to the menu navigation you may have made wouldn’t be included in the Jive translated resource files. So, if you are customizing the menu and not going with OOTB (Out of the box) functionality you might want to get a team setup to start looking at the translations to ad to the resource file.

I do have to say that our vendors Jive and Razorfish have been very supportive during this process but when you move quick there is always a greater change of making a mistake or overlooking something that has downstream impact. We put a few patches and fixes in this weekend but there are still many things to accomplish before we can release to the general public. We have a great team though and confident we will get it done.

Filed under: Community Engagement, Marketing Strategy, Web Strategy Tagged: Implementing a unified web design for community , Jive 6.0 Upgrade, Jive 6.0 upgrade lessons learned, Risks with community upgrade, Upgrading from Jive 4.5 to 6.0

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More Stories By Brace Rennels

Brace Rennels is a passionate and experienced interactive marketing professional who thrives on building high energy marketing teams to drive global web strategies, SEO, social media and online PR web marketing. Recognized as an early adopter of technology and applying new techniques to innovative creative marketing, drive brand awareness, lead generation and revenue. As a Sr. Manager Global of Website Strategies his responsibilities included developing and launching global social media, SEO and web marketing initiatives and strategy. Recognized for applying innovative solutions to address unique problems and manage business relationships to effectively accomplish enterprise objectives. An accomplished writer, blogger and author for several publications on various marketing, social media and technical subjects such as industry trends, cloud computing, virtualization, website marketing, disaster recovery and business continuity. Publications include CIO.com, Enterprise Storage Journal, TechNewsWorld, Sys-Con, eWeek and Peer to Peer Magazine. Follow more of Brace's writing on his blog: http://bracerennels.com

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