Dear Journal: It's been three days since I last spoke to my Jive TAM, and I don't find myself missing him. I mean, he was a great guy, but life has gone on without him. I wonder if he misses me? Has he made new friends? Does he think about me often? I promised you in my second entry that I'd talk about THWACK's customizations. Boy, it's a whopper of a subject. We have 355 spaces, 186 groups, 1862 defined system properties, and 23 custom plugins. Those plugins include everything that makes THWACK special: A store in which users can purchase swag with points gained through gamification. The store is even integrated with a fulfillment vendor so items are automatically shipped and tracked. Unique customized widgets. Extended API and integration with our products to pass content and RSS feeds back and forth. Special missions allowing daily questions to unlock, be answered by users and give them rewards, select winners, and automatically ship them prizes. Integration with live chat services for our webcasts and live events. Integration of event registration with Marketo. The ability to change ownership of a content piece, in scenarios where our content team is posting something on someone’s behalf. Counting downloads of a content piece. Locking content from future commenters. More in-depth spam moderation. An SSO with our customer portal, allowing users to view and possibly manage their licenses from the community. Validating product licenses and allowing users into a group based on products they own. From a functionality standpoint, these are all things that are very simple in concept, but drive our unprecedented interaction on the website. For example, THWACK visits just hit 7+ million last year. When faced with the idea of losing this functionality to the constantly changing idea of a cloud platform, we trembled in fear of what the consequences would be. Remember that dream team I mentioned in my second entry? Well, they talked us through how other clients are solving these problems. For example, using another cloud service like AWS to provide the middleman (or woman) database to store information we would’ve otherwise stored as an extension of Jive’s database. We’re not through the woods, and have a ton of meaningful work to do in order to actually get these things moved over, but we’ve seen light and are wrapping our heads around how to actually get this done. No longer will we tremble in the dark corners of the internet as the Cloud’s rain encircles us. I’ll talk about how we plan to address some of these other customizations in my next entry. Until then, stay thirsty, my friends!
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One of our biggest concerns, heading into the Lithium acquisition of Lithium JX (Jive-x) from Jive, was that we are a hosted community, and tout ourselves as being drastically more complex than a cloud-based community. The truth? We are. The fallacy? It doesn't mean we can't move to the cloud. SolarWinds benefits from having one of the best Jive platform developers in the history of Jive-x (and now Lithium JX). The instant the acquisition was announced, he starting working the phone lines, emails, and LinkedIn accounts until he was able to get some time with anyone at Lithium who may have some answers. Simultaneously, Lithium was zippy in getting us some face time with @RikusP, @DebbieC, @AndreaC, and @MichaelP. At this point, I'm calling these four the dream team. If Lithium hadn't been so responsive, we were just a snap of our fingers away from leaping over to a competitor and forgetting our life with Jive and the Lithium JX sale. All it took was an hour with the dream team and a sync with our amazing dev partner to know, cloud wasn't just an option - it would be more scalable, cheaper, and velcro-ing us much more closely to the bleeding edge of community platform innovation. Here's another way to look at it: Jive and Lithium went head-to-head for years as the two dominant external community solution providers, and only Lithium is left standing. Where Jive folded to Aurea, and Aurea folded to the competition and retreated to the safety of internal communities, Lithium doubled down on their investment in the future of the industry. This, in addition to spending a reported $200 million on Klout a few years ago, means we've taken sides with the powerhouse. Lithium is the New England Patriots of external communities. It hurts to say, as a Seahawks fan, but it's true. Why did I mention we were so complex? What are we doing that creates such a hindrance to moving from a hosted JX instance to the cloud? Stay tuned in Entry 3, coming soon.
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