When Blake asked me to write about how our community manages our groups, I was not sure what to write about. We have had groups for so long at Oracle Cerner that we assumed everyone else does too.
My name is Kandice Eckhoff, and I am the Product Manager for our Khoros platform, Oracle Cerner. I have been with the company for almost 12 years in various roles and in my current position for six of those years.
uCern is Oracle Cerner's collaboration platform used for client-to-client and client-to-associate collaboration on our products and services, ideation, and assists with ticket deflection by providing answers to client questions.
uCern was started in 2009 on the Jive platform, and at that time, we let anyone create a group. This was not a good idea. I would NEVER recommend this for a community. We ended up with groups like "Cat Lovers," "<Insert College Name> Alumni, "New Moms," and the like. While the intention at first was good, just getting people using the community, it quickly got out of control.
We eventually locked down group creation. New groups are evaluated by our team and created based on business needs. By then though most of the damage was done, and our clients were complaining about search results pulling in random information or stale content. Group owners would leave the company or change roles, and groups were no longer active or responsibly managed, so we ended up with a lot of those.
In 2018 we separated associate-only collaboration to help with some of the confusion. During this time, we archived groups, spaces, projects, etc. with no created content or activity within the prior year. Subsequently, when we started planning our migration to Khoros, we again started an archiving exercise to minimize the amount of data we would bring over. We were able to purge 55% of our groups because of this effort.
When we migrated, we brought over 2,254 groups. That number has since grown as we have weekly requests for new ones. The need for them varies: private collaboration for specific clients and associates, aligning groups with our products, and associates realizing the need for collaboration on certain topics or markets we are in.
As you can imagine managing this number is difficult. Permissions are a nightmare, community engagement is difficult to monitor accurately, and the removal of the "old stuff" surfaced older stuff clients have found inaccurate. In turn, the cycle of constantly curating our content continues. We are repeatedly told no other Khoros client uses groups the same way we do, hence being the group hub unicorn.
So how do we manage this many groups? It is not easy. We are currently looking at archiving more inactive groups and realigning our community structure based on feedback we have received. Ideally, we will end up with 1:1 product groups and a couple hundred non-specific groups that remain for topics, regions, or are role specific.
For those of you that do use group hubs and now have access to manage the group role permissions at the global level…you're welcome. 🙂
That was done at our request due to the number of groups we have and the time it took to update any changes since we had to do them manually. Thankfully, we have a team that can automate processes, and we were able to minimize the time spent making manual updates while Khoros built the functionality we needed.
Here is my advice to any community managers planning to implement group hubs:
Take a look at the resources below to learn more about Group Hubs in Khoros Communities
Thanks so much for all this! Awesome stuff. I could write a novel with questions and don’t feel you have to answer them all 😂
We’re probably into the 150+ range since launching at the start of the year, and will easily reach that 1000+ range next year as we stop holding back and let users request their own spaces, so very cool to see it being used at scale.
Hi @keckhoff - I have been a huge fan of GroupHubs since they were teased years ago, and have really worked on implementing them since.
I wonder if you have seen a difference in engagement strategy for Open/Closed/Hidden - do you use all these styles or have you found a particular set that works best for you?
@StanGromer happy to answer your questions!
Our Group Info tab has an announcements widget and a formatted text widget for group owners to provide any information they need to display about the group up front.
The Resources tab provides product-specific information the group owners can link out to. The resources can be edited and there is a list of icons the owners can select from to use based on the resource they want to display.
The Reporting tab only displays to group owners and generates basic information about the group. This is a snapshot view while we continue to build out our more in-depth reports in Power Bi.
@tylerebay we utilize all of the group types. Most of our groups are open simply because they are product groups and we want our clients to find them easily. We use closed groups for any client or org-specific information needed to collaborate, and hidden groups are used sparingly. It all really depends on the purpose of the group though and the person requesting the group is the one who decides the type.
Let me know if you have any other questions.
Great blog - thanks for sharing. Going to make my GroupManager GroupHub now. (was on the back-burner until today). 🙂
I'm plunging around doing some research on GroupHubs and this blog post is in the wheelhouse. I wonder if you have any thoughts?
RE: this answer to @StanGromer .
Any cool technical customizations you’ve done to make life easier or improving the experience within hubs? - We have created some custom content components for our group hubs...
I am taking it SUPER slow with groups. The tech is new but our community is old. We prefer to have most (all?) of our Forum content and TKB content at the top of the community, no fragmentation. Our products are so 'enterprise' that trying to separate them would almost inevitably duplicate conversations and make connecting dots difficult. We rely (relatively successfully) on TAGS and Labels.
That said, I'm running a "product-based" group hub experiment for one of our more self-contained offerings.
we think it makes sense to have the Forum managed in that group (based on volume and future planned syndication) BUT NOT the TKB section. We want to still Manage all TKB content at the top of the community (for discoverablity and administrative simplicity).
Do you (or does Khoros) happen to have any componentry to put say...a dedicated Community TKB Activity feed (looking at specific tags/labels) in the home page of the respective GroupHub?
TL;DR of the idea:
1) Content for Product A
2) Content for Product B
3) Content for Product C
GroupHub for Product A
* Product A Forum
* a Feed OF TKB's with TAG(s) for PRODUCT A drawn from Community TKB.
thanks again and great work.
@Lief unfortunately I'm not well-versed on boards at the category/community level. I would love to get feedback on how other communities manage those as it's not something we do currently.
Hoping others can join in on this conversation.
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