Company: 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.
Contact: Lief Zimmerman
Title: Program Manager, Community
Community Name: DevCentral
Kudos Category: Rookie of the Year
1. Describe your company and your organization.
F5’s has a portfolio of automation, security, performance, and insight capabilities designed to reduce costs, improve operations, and better protect users. Starting with a wiki in 2004, the DevCentral community grew to support robust Forums and Article sections, supporting thousands of daily users.
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.
The choice to pivot to Khoros came after a years long experiment with an enterprise CMS solution which could not feasibly support community facing features, could not deliver content at speed, and suffered SEO compliance issues; we were losing trust and engagement month-over-month.
We chose Khoros for the qualified OOTB feature set, their experience, the growth potential, alignment with existing Spredfast implementation, and their overall community-native approach.
3. What were your goals when investing in Khoros technology and what successes have you already experienced because of the investment? Were you able to gain traction faster than expected? Please include metrics if possible.
Our primary goals remain to (re)build community trust. To do this we had to begin with the foundations of SEO, speed (for members, mods, and admins), and available features. For "feature improvements" to work we needed to make sure our community could scale to engage our evolving community beyond our historic NetOps base, and begin inviting members from the DevOps, SecOps, and Cloud communities without negative impacts on SEO or speed. So far so good.
Working closely with Professional Services, our internal SEO experts, and being able to control many of the features directly in the Admin console meant we were able to quickly pivot many of the settings necessary to begin seeing improvements immediately.
Natural Search visits to DevCentral increased ~20% within the first 10 days of launch and now, after 4 months we are seeing 36% YoY increase in natural search visits.
Lighthouse Scores (SEO) also were terrible, and we had no feasible way to improve them. Time to complete changes was huge because of the complex code, lack of development resources, and some of the integrations with our enterprise CRM required extensive regression testing.
Our site went from from deep in the red to solid green across the board overnight.
Our community can find and access and use our many years of content much more effectively.
Speed and Performance
Focusing on basics before bling the team also worked hard to ensure our implementation strategy and user experience was clean and fast. Every feature was evaluated with speed and maintenance-time in min. Ultimately, our implementation relied primarily on out-of-the-box components - to enable a quick launch, a simple transition for our members, a flexible future for real bling, and relatively seamless analytics for easy ROI.
Core Web Vitals increased across the board.
Largest Contentful Paint: FROM 8.6sec to 2.19sec (4X faster)
Cumulative Layout Shift: FROM .5sec to .008sec (62X faster)
JS total blocking time: FROM 991ms to 76ms (13X faster)
Moderation Effort lowered from hours, executed weekly, to just a few minutes, executed daily.
There is no BEFORE metric on moderation because there was no onboard tooling in the old system. One administrator spent weeks looking at various patterns and inventing reporting on his own, that only he understood, to locate likely spam candidates. The process for banning one USER and ANY CONTENT was at minimum 10min per event, and could become upwards of 20min per event if the number of posts was high. Typically the first 4hrs of each Friday were spent dealing with spam.
On Khoros Community - SPAM management is shared between three individuals on weekly rotations and takes approx 10 min per day. Further, the OOTB quarantine tooling results in an estimated 2X the number of SPAM users found per week.
This, and other Administrative tooling, makes platform administration more effective and more timely.
Features, Member, and Stakeholder Delight
Historical content had a fair amount of cruft, roughly 16 years of technical content and over 400K user accounts (75% of which were identifiably useless). This made our data transformation complex but through several iterations we found a successful combination that meant our members are not assaulted with frivolous records in every search. The data transformation was even
able to use existing data to re-order our threaded comments BACK to their original proper order - the previous platform couldn't handle threaded & modified dates at the same time.
Special Features such as the addition of extra CodeSyntax formatting special to our member-base, permissions for members to author TKBArticles in a CrowdSRC category, and the rapidly growing OOTB GroupHubs feature have all been hits. All of these were feature requests provided in the previous 5 years, none of which we could feasibly execute for lack of expertise, time, or capability. Khoros did it by default
Success lies in the eyes of the beholder - here are a sampling of quotes from members.
|great job on fixing all the comments|
impressed that I didn't need to re-register and re-sign-up
it is Soooooooo fast!!
|For me, the Khoros Community launch is a huge success...looks so effortless and that shows how much effort has gone into planning and execution.||this is really next level - looks amazing!|
Analytics are the backbone of proving value for any business and the inbuilt analytics were a differentiator during the RFP process and allowed us to *FINALLY* begin reinforcing our credibility and skills as a Community Team. For years the team touted the Community Health Index (CHI) as a key 'credit score' metric designed to show our balanced and member-value driven approach. While not a specific measure of any one value, to or from the community, we can now track the index over time alongside changes we make designed to affect Search results, Content availability, Membership spikes, and Traffic trends.
Right out of the gate we saw positive signs with peaks in the low 600's. Within 6 weeks our CHI metric peaked at 648 putting the DevCentral Community at F5 in a strong position among peers; 648 was the 5th highest CHI value out of 275 B2B Communities on the Khoros platform.
For a working site, with low volumes every weekends, our CHI registers like a heartbeat but for the past 60 days the heartbeat is continuing a positive trend.
Our current 60-day median CHI is 590 with an upwards trend that may very well eclipse 648 in the coming weeks and months.
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