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      Communities

      3 Signs to Identify a Suitable Partner for Online Brand Community Migration

      Mar 19, 2018

      3 minutes read

      What is the cost of selecting a wrong technology partner when you are planning to migrate to a next generation community platform?

      Although the exact figure will vary across businesses, the price inevitably includes

      1. Your brand’s reputation,
      2. Confused and dissatisfied customers,
      3. Cost escalation, and/or
      4. Reduced revenues.

      Your business cannot afford any of these outcomes.

       

      It is essential to gauge the costs and benefits of partnering with a company that will move your existing community to Jive, Salesforce, Lithium, or a platform of your choice. The task of finding a suitable technology enabler can be overwhelming. Yet, it is unavoidable for managers wanting to keep their community engaging, up-to-date, and secure.

      The last post covered seven questions community managers should ask themselves before investing in a platform. This time, we touch on three factors that should be considered before selecting a migration partner.

      Expertise

      The world of online community platforms is enormous and continuously changing. It is near-to-impossible for one company to develop and maintain expertise in more than five–six platforms.

      Any company that claims otherwise is either taking you for a ride or has a few super-human specialists on its payroll. It is important to distinguish. Your brand and revenue depend on it.

      An effective method is to gauge a company’s expertise in a platform is to notice how active the company is on the platform’s community. For instance, a business migrating to Lithium cannot go wrong to partner with a company whose employees regularly contribute to Lithium’s community. Perusing through case studies and conversing with past clients are alternatives.

      Processes

      While expertise is essential, processes cannot be overlooked. Inquire how your partner plans to handle data transfers and UX/UI design while keeping downtime to a minimum. A few questions to ask can be:

      1. Will all the data—including discussions, files, and comments—be transferred?
      2. How will the link integrity be maintained?
      3. Will the process be automated? (This is easier when your data is in JSON, XML, or another popular format instead of a rarely-used proprietary one.)
      4. How will emails, profiles, relationships, gamification, and points be handled?
      5. How will the changed UX and UI impact users, especially power users who are at home with the old interface?
      6. Who will take care of communication? (Previews and beta-testing with the most engaged members of your community is crucial. Once they are on-board, it will be easier to convince other members that the change has been for the community’s good.)
      7. Who will be responsible for integration? (Community platforms do not function in a vacuum. They complement your CRM, CMS, LMS, and other tools. For businesses, it crucial that their tools are integrated with one another.)

      Support

      Although many next generation community platforms work out-of-the-box, your company might still need customized configurations and features. It is not a one-time job.

      The successful platforms acquire new features, stop support for legacy software, and continue to change. A customization that works today might not work a year from now. Your partner should be transparent about how the changes in the platform will be handled when they affect a custom configuration.

      It is a good idea to look at what they promise in their quality assurance, training schedule, and future enhancements.

      Takeaway

      In the past few years, online communities have morphed into strategic business assets. More than 65 percent of companies have already established some form of community. They are sensitive to customers’ needs and are constantly looking for ways to enhance their communities. Updating a community requires a suitable platform and technology partner. In this blog, we covered three signs of a reliable technology partner when you are planning to move to a new community platform.

      Grazitti excels in migrating companies to several scalable, powerful, and secure online community platforms, such as Lithium, Salesforce, and Jive. The company has a rugged process in place to ensure timely migration within your budget. Speak to Grazitti’s experts before migrating to a next-gen community platform.