Company: Cisco Meraki Contact: Meredith Whelan Title: Community Manager Related URLs: https://community.meraki.com/t5/Meraki-Community/ct-p/meraki Kudos Category: Small but Mighty 1. Describe your company and your organization. Company Cisco Meraki’s mission is to simplify technology so passionate people can focus on their mission. Global clients—including startups, Fortune 500s, nonprofits, airports, hospitals, schools, and many others—rely on our powerful cloud-managed networking solutions for seamless connection. Cisco Meraki helps the world spend less time on technology and more on what matters. Our current portfolio, extensible with open APIs, includes wireless, cellular gateways, switching, security, SD-WAN, intelligent network insights, endpoint management, and smart cameras. Today, Meraki has over three million active networks and over 5.7 million devices online around the world. Organization The Meraki Community team sits within Meraki’s Product Enablement department (aka “PE”). Product Enablement’s mission is to increase market adoption and confidence in the Meraki platform by developing, delivering, and enabling scalable and repeatable learning solutions for customers, partners, and the wider Cisco team. PE programs include CMNA, an all-day in-person training for partners, ECMS1, a virtually-delivered all-day training for networking practitioners, and, of course, the Meraki Community. Team The Meraki Community team is a 1.25-woman show. Meredith Whelan is the community manager and Caroline Sekar is a 25%-time consultant. Meredith (L) and Caroline (R) with two of our Community All-Stars (members of our VIP program) (pre-pandemic!!) 2. Why did you choose to invest in Khoros? The initial reason that the Meraki Product Enablement team launched a community was as a complement to our discrete training programs. We wanted a scalable solution for continuous learning and engagement to support our mission of increasing market adoption and confidence. Khoros, as a scalable and customizable engagement platform that was already in use at Cisco, was the natural choice! Our goals have evolved since launch - we now aim to be an engagement platform for the benefit of many groups at Meraki, not just PE. Since the Khoros platform is so flexible, we have been able to configure and customize it to get us well on our way to meeting these new goals. 3. How does Khoros help you deliver results beyond what a team your size normally can do? The Meraki Community team aims to provide a platform for customer and partner engagement that is useful across the Meraki organization. In addition to serving our own Product Enablement team’s needs, we have forged partnerships with Product, Engineering, and Marketing. These partnerships allow our little team to have an outsized impact. For example: We have worked with the Product team to run private group hubs supporting over 20 product betas and early access programs. These beta groups allow for streamlined communication around beta testing between external testers and the Meraki team. Over 1,000 testers have participated in the past year, finding bugs and providing feedback via the community. Where once our product managers would have only 3-5 networks at a time beta testing new hardware or software, the private group hubs have enabled them to easily manage 100+ networks testing at once, ensuring more diversity among testers (both internal and external) and significantly increasing likelihood of catching any potential bugs. Using the community for betas (vs a hodgepodge of emails, chat rooms, and spreadsheets) saves our product managers’ valuable time, provides external testers (Meraki Partners and customers) with a consistent and positive testing experience leading to more repeat testers, and ultimately increases the quality of our products. Sample product beta group hub Additionally, our UX engineering team have recently begun recruiting for participants for user interviews and user testing by posting on the community. They have said that posting in the community has repeatedly yielded excellent candidates with a minimum of effort on their part. Sample UX research participant recruitment We regularly provide community content for our Social Media Marketing team. For example, a member’s post in our community Projects Gallery was recently cross-posted on LinkedIn to great acclaim (433 likes at the moment, which is at least 4x higher than our average LinkedIn engagement). For the Audience Marketing team, we house the Meraki podcast; using the community for this content enables customers to engage on podcast episodes instead of just listening. Sample Podcast episode housed on the Meraki Community One upcoming partnership we are particularly excited about is with our Advocacy Marketing team; we will be supporting our new Customer Advisory Board (CAB) with a private group hub and are investigating other ways to promote advocacy via our community. The CAB has just launched, so we don’t yet have numbers to share, but we’re excited for its potential! These are just a few of the ways in which we work across our organization to provide business value. One of our next key steps in the journey to becoming a company-wide platform is to build a custom integration with our Salesforce instance. This will make community data more accessible to other teams and allow us to better analyze the value we are providing. Onward!
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