2022 Customer Awards: F5, Inc - Best-in-Class: Community

2022 Customer Awards: F5, Inc - Best-in-Class: Community


Company: F5, Inc

Company background: F5, Inc Company background: F5, Inc. is an American technology company, headquartered in Seattle, Washington with an additional 75 offices in 43 countries. Specializing in application security, multi-cloud management, online fraud prevention, application delivery networking (ADN), application availability & performance, network security, and access & authorization.

Community name: DevCentral

Contact: Lief Zimmerman
Title: Program Manager, Community

Related URLs:

Kudos Category: Best-in-Class: Community

1. Describe the organization's objectives in launching a community. What is the use-case and purpose of your community? Do you use your community for support, enablement and learning, marketing awareness, customer success, driving sales, product innovation, etc.? Has the community charter evolved in any way since launch?

Launched as a skunkworks project, the F5 online community went live as DevCentral in 2004 to provide unofficial support for early adopters of F5 BIG-IP's iControl automation API. F5 was primarily a hardware and networking company and the scope of DevCentral expanded allowing unprecedented access to the architects building F5 products and solutions.


Delivering technical thought leadership to the community through connecting, preparing, and empowering professionals engaged with F5 technologies. - original DevCentral mission.


Despite early success, initial incarnations lacked funding, stable leadership, and rigorous processes or principled programming. Despite the efforts of passionate innovators and early adopters, building a large library of shared code and solving thousands of problems in the forums, the grass-roots organization enabled the early majority to begin diluting the technical content into the ‘10s with ‘personal blogs’ to the detriment of satisfaction and engagement.

Following leadership changes F5 moved deliberately to re-organize DevCentral to do three things well:

  • Provide tangible value to community members; Always a member-first mentality.
  • Scale to meet the digital transformation; Support the community wherever they are.
  • Flex alongside F5's pivot into software, security, and the multi-cloud ecosystem.

2. Tell us about how you are using your community and how you made it happen. Did you get executive/business/stakeholder buy-in? What was your process to gain this buy-in? How have you achieved cross functional support, added stake-holders and increased organizational adoption?

Starting with people, F5 recruited an Online Community expert to refine, rebuild, and re-focus a cross-discipline team on useful, technical, content for the community from around the enterprise. Next was content and processes; the team added a strong super-user engagement program and levelled up their social processes. Content SMEs pioneered a unique video series called Lightboard Lessons and in the past few years a weekly live-streaming show brought the team into the 'homes' of members.

With people, programs, and essential content DevCentral moved deliberately to find a platform that could support and grow with F5. In '21 the case was made to a fully engaged executive class and F5 chose Khoros to bring best-in-class technology to the DevCentral community.

In January '22 we launched 17+ years of legacy content onto a mostly out-of-the-box Hermes platform. Through all the changes the core passion remained and the DevCentral mission was refined.


We are an online community of technical peers dedicated to supportive learning, exchanging ideas, and solving problems - together.


With the new platform, and excellent analytics, the F5 Community team will begin to recognize and reinforce the value exchange between community and company.

Community members always get fast, solid advice while making valuable connections supporting every step of their infrastructure lifecycle.
The company will see benefits begin to flow through the community via metrics associated with…

  • Support …case deflection, time-to-resolve, and natural search referral.
  • Service …just-in-time access, federated knowledge, and information sharing.
  • Marketing …word of mouth, pipeline, referral, and listening/trending metrics.
  • Product …suggestion feedback loops, focused content groupings, and content tags.
  • Sales …customer retention, validated expert content, customer sat, and time to market

In the first few months since launch some key indicators attest to the truth of the long-standing and effective, member-first approach to community at F5.


3. What were the results? Tell us how it impacted your customer experience or the outcomes you seek as a business. Please include metrics if possible.

After only 2 months on Khoros, DevCentral was compared to 8 other Khoros B2B software communities. All comparisons were done against mature (5 - 15yrs on Khoros) communities' current activity metrics - not their respective first 2 months.

Content Activity

  • First Replies/Topics was 82.97% (highest in the cohort)
  • Solutions / Topics Ratio was 21.43% (3rd highest in the cohort)

F5 Stats[4].pdf 2022-06-09 14-38-01.jpg


  • DevCentral 2022-06-09 14-40-05.jpgPosts/Board/Day was 17.6. (3.5X recommended volume)
  • Community Health Index
    hit 648 - the 5th highest mark (n=275) for a Khoros B2B community since March of 2021.

Member Engagement

  • Attracting - 100,360/mo (18% above cohort average)
  • Engaging - 786/mo (16% above cohort average)
  • SuperEngaging - 135/mo (14% above cohort average)


Unique Visitors Since Launch

Monosnap 2022-06-09 14-42-51.jpg

NetPromoterScore(NPS) Interviews

In 3rd party interviews, conducted 1x1, with 14 NPS respondents, six respondents highlighted DevCentral, without prompting, as a differentiator and value add to their experience with F5.

Community Experience Survey

March/April/May, starting six weeks after launch - satisfaction metrics are very positive.

  • 64% of respondents were Satisfied (39%) or Very Satisfied (25%) with the overall experience on DevCentral
  • 75% of respondents were able to find what they were looking for.

The purpose of a visit to DevCentral were evenly balanced and reflective of our community mission towards balance, learning, and sharing.

  • 37% -Looking for support or help
  • 20% - Looking for a question I can answer or a topic I can participate
  • 21% - Looking for information to help me implement a product or service
  • 20% - Other
  • 2% - Looking for information to help me make a purchase decision


With a solid foundation of passionate and innovative people, robust and focused engagement programs, and now the best-in-class Khoros technologies we will evolve, grow, and curate our community as best in class for enablement, learning, awareness, innovation, success, transparency, and communication - for the people who are the DevCentral Community.