Entry Submitted by: Becky Scott (lolagoetz) Tech Zone Success Manager
Community: Cisco Tech Zone
Lithy Categories: Best New Community
Community Launched: 10 October 2011
Our organization tends to be very email-centric, as many companies are. One of the problems we had with email was the lack of centralization, accounting, and the ability to capture and reuse knowledge.
It’s tough to search through thousands of emails to find an answer to your question. And what happens if you join a group mid-discussion? You don’t get the benefit of prior conversations.
The value of the contributions and the impact experts were making went unnoticed as the mailing lists didn't feed into the overall metrics system.
We decided to go with a community-based platform so we could auto-archive discussions and provide a rich, comprehensive and flexible reputation model. This allowed us to transition into a reusable content model. The adoption rate in our organization has been phenomenal, with many more people visiting than our original roll-out group. In fact, we've gone viral! Word of mouth has increased our visitors to three times what we expected – and we only launched the community in October.
In order to accelerate wide adoption we have ensured that our community is not a stand-alone tool. It is seamlessly tied to the engineers' workflow and deeply integrated with our other service delivery tools. To this end we’ve made 100+ enhancements to the basic Lithium community, based on our business needs.
The forums reputation model has helped us acknowledge contributions that would have previously gone unrecognized. Engineers who never participate in email discussions beyond asking questions are actively posting answers in the forums and helping other engineers. And they’re competing to see who can get on our leader board.
But the biggest win for our group at Cisco has been the ability to bring experts together from all areas. Engineers from across the globe are asking and answering questions for each other.
Collaboration is growing and we’re seeing instances of these conversations helping other engineers solve cases faster.
Cases that were taking months to get a resolution are getting answers on our forums within days and solving issues for our customers because of the ease of collaboration in our community.
And it’s accelerating engineer learning, too, as anyone can read documents and update their knowledge on new products and how to troubleshoot issues. And we’re seeing engineers do just that, and helping other engineers with their new skills.
"Tech Zone has been by far the best forum/resource for helping engineers that I have seen in my past 5 years of TAC experience." – Cisco TAC engineer, Anoop Saxena.