Company background: SolarWinds was founded 1999. Today it has more than 2,400 employees and 275,000 customers worldwide. Our core mission is to provide purpose-built products that are designed to make jobs easier for IT professionals.
Contact: Ben Garves
Title: Senior Product Manager
Lithy category: B2B Community Innovator
1. Describe the innovation(s) and how you settled on the decision to innovate (user request, Lithium suggestion, internal idea, etc.)
Our journey from JX to Core Lithium is just beginning, but we're bringing our JX customizations along during our migration. This will make us the most advanced community on Lithium. Includes: missions, gamification, store, event plugin, livecast capabilities, license validation, product integration.
2. Tell us about how you made it happen Did you stage it first, who got an early look, how you drove adoption/use, and any iterations you had to make to get it right.
We've adopted a mantra that "good enough isn't good enough". We use ideation to allow our community to suggest and vote on our next new features and work closely with our marketing and product teams to understand what we can do to make their jobs easier and mobilize the community on their behalf.
3. What were the results? Tell us how it impacted your customer experience or the outcomes you seek as a business.
Our community is seeing unheard of adoption from both our internal teams and external members. We have a core group of 70+ content-generating external 'mvp' members, nearly 7,000 daily active users, 2,500 daily active participants, 122,000+ pieces of unique content, and more than 150,000 members.
Because we are gamified site-wide, users accumulate points. On top of being able to climb a competitive leaderboard, we also keep a second value of "spendable" points in a swag store we've built. This way users can spend their points without having their leaderboard standings affected. We've also integrated with a fulfillment vendor so orders are automatically fulfilled whenever a user submits them. We've built functionality to bulk-award points, prizes, and digital items. An example of a digital item would be a user being able to purchase a voucher to participate in a certification exam for one of our products.
Our Product Managers love to mobilize the community to test betas of new product releases. We've integrated with our Customer Portal so we can validate licenses and allow users with active software licenses to download beta versions of software. They are also allowed into a special permissions area in which they can post/comment/ask questions/provide feedback about the beta.
We've built a product forum for our core SolarWinds products. This is a space in which users can easily find resources and ask product-specific questions without feeling like they're in a plain old forum-based experience.
We host THWACKcamp, the SolarWinds version of a tech conference. THWACK hosts 5000+ live streamers and chatters as they participate in two full days of hour-long sessions on the state of the IT industry. This uses our live chat integration (below) and is gamified to award enrollment and participation. THWACKcamp 2018 registration has only been open for a week and we already have 1100 registrants.
Missions & Gamification
New questions unlock daily, bringing users back for participation. Points are awarded for correct answers. Users with all correct answers each week are entered into an award drawing. At the end of each month, another grand prize drawing is completed for users who managed 100%.
Live Chat Webcasts
We host a monthly live webseries called "SolarWinds Lab", along with an annual virtual conference called THWACKcamp, which hosts 5000+ simultaneous attendees and chatters.
Integration w/SolarWinds Products
Product-specific feeds are brought in, along with the ability to upload/download content and templates to/from the community directly to/from the products.
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