2021 Customer Awards: Esri - Rookie of the Year

2021 Customer Awards: Esri - Rookie of the Year


Company: Esri

Company background: Esri is the global market leader in the geographic information system (GIS) industry offering the most powerful mapping and spatial analytics technology available.

Contact: Leslie Fountain

Title: Community Content Manager

Related URLs:  https://community.esri.com

Kudos Category: Rookie of the Year

1. Describe your company and your organization.
Esri is the global market leader in the geographic information system (GIS) industry offering the most powerful mapping and spatial analytics technology available. Esri Community is where the global community of Esri staff, distributors, and Esri users find solutions, share ideas, and collaborate.

2. Why did you choose to invest in Khoros and what was your experience before making the switch from a previous solution or investing in new technology.

Migrating to the Jive/JX platform in 2014 was one of several migrations and changes over the 25+ years of Esri's online community. 

With the growth of our company brand, we soon outgrew Jive/JX in 2018 when the platform slowed to limited development and innovation opportunities that were more focused on bug fixes. As a result, three major challenges emerged as roadblocks to leveraging the value of our online community:

  1. Our platform could not provide the insights and capabilities needed to improve adoption and engagement with internal stakeholders and users.

  2. Users weren't confident they were using an authoritative source for Esri products with the disconnected user interface, user experience, and autonomous identity from our corporate brand. This also impacted sentiments about the community's value and showed we needed to carefully reconsider our new community's look and feel.

  3. New member registrations and activity plateaued in comparison to our company growth due to limitations and legacy issues with our evolving community tech stack.

Breaking through stagnant engagement metrics was the end goal, however, our real work was rooted in changing our brand sentiment lost in the user experience and change management to the Jive/JX platform. Additionally, we needed to rebuild strategic business value for the community with internal stakeholders.

By focusing the work on these segmented issues, we rebuilt the foundation for community growth on the Khoros platform.

Choosing Khoros as a Partner

Esri is driven by innovation, and one of the key values we sought from a service provider was their plan and vision for innovation of community technology. Khoros demonstrated and delivered an exciting and progressive roadmap throughout our 2-year rigorous procurement process that convinced our selection panel that Khoros was the right partner for Esri.

3. What were your goals when investing in Khoros technology and what successes have you already experienced because of the investment? Please include metrics, if possible.

Before Launch - Goal 1: Create Desire for a New Community with Users and Internal Stakeholders

We sought out current feedback from our users and internal stakeholders to understand their concerns and outline ways to respond directly to their pain points. This significantly shaped our strategy to create a desire for the Khoros platform with a migration-fatigued audience.

In addition to Khoros' interviews with internal stakeholders, the Esri Community team:

  • Conducted 5 user research interviews and 15 moderated usability tests with new and active users on our staging site
  • Launched a community survey with a 178% increase in responses from previous years
  • Held exclusive listening sessions and feedback activities with our superusers
  • Produced a user research report summary as an internal strategic tool summarizing more than 1,000 responses of feedback

Scene from Internal Awareness Videos introducing Khoros as a leading providerScene from Internal Awareness Videos introducing Khoros as a leading providerFindings from this research enriched our change management plan and communications strategy. We created custom content and demos that addressed users' concerns, introduced Khoros as our platform provider, and promoted new features and functionality. In the end, we were able to re-engage stakeholders through:

  • 70+ Meetings with 90+ Internal Stakeholders and Users
  • 22 Internal Stakeholder Team Communications
  • 3 Esri Community MVP (superuser) Meetings


Goal 1 Successes: Change Management Feedback

  • "Your team has become a great example for change management at Esri." – Internal Stakeholder
  • "The change management activities for the migration significantly influenced the conversations and created buzz and excitement for the new community platform." – Internal Stakeholder
  • Senior leadership across departments demonstrated a positive reception to the change and supported efforts to raise awareness with staff.


At Launch - Goal 2: Release a new user interface and redesign our brand identity in alignment with Esri

In partnership with Esri's Creative Lab and Khoros' design team, we designed and implemented a new user interface and brand that reflected Esri's corporate brand, including our logo, color scheme, UI elements, and typography. To support full alignment, we changed our name from GeoNet, The Esri Community to Esri Community.

User Interface and Brand Before and AfterUser Interface and Brand Before and After

Goal 2 Successes: User Interface and Design Feedback

From Users:


From Internal Stakeholders:

"Congrats on the release! It feels way snappier than the old site and looks great."

After Launch - Successes experienced because of the investment

After implementing new community design (interface, experience, and structure) and creating a buzz of excitement from our change management strategy, we saw the following outcomes in our engagement:

  • Immediate Uptick in User Engagement within the first month:
    • New member registrations increased 150% over average.
    • Page views increased 36% over average.
    • Unique visitors increased 17% over average.

  • Swift adoption of new community features from the Khoros community product quickly generated engagement from our users:
    • A new post was created within 30 minutes of the community launch, indicating a healthy sign of an intuitive user experience, successful log in, wayfinding, and adoption.
    • Our new community structure allowed us to decentralize our idea exchange, increasing the average engagement by 35% in the first 6 months.
    • Generated a waiting list of staff looking to use the community events feature, with 21 event boards added in the first month.
    • In the first quarter, 4,600 new questions were asked, with 39% marked as Accepted Solutions. 62% of the Accepted Solutions were answered by staff and superusers.

  • Continued Growth in New Member Registrations:

    Overhauling our login experience by improving our tech stack integration has significantly improved a top pain point identified by users in our research. We continued to see an increase in new member registrations at an average of 62% between January-April 2021 in comparison to January-April 2020.  

New Member Registrations 2020-21_EC.jpg

  • Continued Engagement Wins with Internal Stakeholders:
    • Developed engaging, active internal channels around community adoption with 400+ active staff members.
    • Collaborated with our Support Team to develop an ROI model for community value.
    • Benchmarked data of staff time, engagement, and kudos earned in the community. 


Our Thank You Video

The collective effort to pull off our migration called for a special note of appreciation that we sent to staff and superusers to summarize our efforts and their important influence on our community experience.