Company background: At Anaplan, our mission is to make all planning for all people a reality. We believe our world is better when we connect communities of people with data to enhance decision-making in dynamic environments. It’s the Connected Planning way.
Contact: Stan Gromer
Title: Technology Manager, Community
Related URLs: https://community.anaplan.com/
Kudos Category: The Accelerator
1. Please describe your company and your initiative.
In 2019, we started to hit a breaking point. We had done so much, so fast, that our Community had started to fall apart. It wasn’t very noticeable to end users yet, but we could see the writing on the wall that we need to fix our foundation before it destroyed the entire house. We decided to look at rebuilding behind the scenes to provide us a more flexible future.
We went forward with throwing out nearly all of code that was in our Community, while maintaining all content. We did a top to bottom rebuild, from our navigation and page designs, to individual components giving us more flexibility with our styling. We reused existing Khoros components and elements where it best made sense, not wanting to reinvent the wheel. We integrated our other platforms such as User Groups more cleanly into our Community, while building out entirely new sections like our User Directory.
2. What was the “before” state? What challenges did you have to overcome?
Our community prior (and still is somewhat) a house of cards. We support dozens of different teams/programs throughout Anaplan with bringing their content to life in Community, as well as our own Community ran programs. Historically, we would launch programs with little care given to maintaining an aligned experience, design elements, etc. Instead, users may hit very different experiences based on where their journey took them.
Additionally, updating our Community was a pain. We were doing multiple deployments from stage to production a day, we were introducing new bugs often, and we couldn’t keep up with the technical debt that kept growing. Our navigation was hard coded, requiring changes to be hard coded vs. real time as they exist now. We had dozens if not hundreds of different page quilts to accommodate all the different designs/pages in Community.
3. What were the results? Please cite qualitative and quantitative results.
Everything is growing. Our company, and alongside it our Community, are still very much in high-growth mode. We’ve conducted user research to ensure we are making the right decisions for our users, as ultimately all we do is for them.
The biggest result though is how much we have been able to do in the past 8 months since we launched our redesign. We were able to put more control into the hands of our Community team (vs. being bottle necked by technology challenges). We built with the future in mind, allowing us to now easily integrate other platforms and tools, launch new sections at a moments notice, host live events, and more.
A huge benefit to our greater team around these updates were on efficiency and removing tedious tasks. Something as simple as updating our homepage used to take 15-30 minutes of work. This is now instantaneous - Multiply that across dozens of sections in Community and the various updates we had to previously maintain, and we had a tremendous efficiency gain, which in turn allows us to work towards even more programs and content in Community. We’ve started to utilize lesser known tools in Khoros, such as custom tags to float content to our front page carousel. Instead of doing edits in code, our admin team simply flags an article to show up in a specific spot in the carousel, everything else happens automatically behind the scenes.
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