How Do I Successfully Set Up and Launch an Enterprise Community Platform?

Andrew Kratz

Community platform software at the enterprise level is not a do-it-yourself project. You'll either look to work with the professional service arm from the software manufacturer or partner with an experienced consultancy such as Social Edge. 

Let’s break down the community platform implementation project into five parts. 

  1. The Strategy Workshop
  2. Design for Both User Experience and User Interface
  3. Platform Configuration
  4. Community Management Training
  5. Project Management: Ensuring you have a successful launch that's on time and on budget

The Strategy Workshop 

We’ve worked with over 600 customers implementing community platform software across many industries, so chances are, we're already familiar with your field. However, we recognize that you are the experts in your business domain, and our expertise lies in community software. The purpose of our Strategy Workshop is to blend these two elements – your business strategy and our community software platform expertise – to execute your vision seamlessly within the community and ensure a successful launch.

In the pre-pandemic era, our Strategy Workshop used to be a two-day on-site event. However, given the changing circumstances, we have adapted to remote sessions lasting approximately one to two weeks. This new approach has proven to be highly effective. The time between each session allows for reflection on the discussions, enabling us to maximize the impact of the project's kickoff.

Throughout the Strategy Workshop, we delve into all aspects of the project:

  • Starting with interviews of key stakeholders in either small groups or one-on-one settings
  • Carefully exploring your desired information architecture and the layout preferences for your site 
  • Emphasis is put on the main use cases you wish to implement
  • Addressing the design and specific implementation details that align with your objectives

This comprehensive process sets a crucial foundation for the later stages of the project. It ensures that we configure the platform to fit your needs and provide you with the necessary training to ensure your long-term success.

Design For Both User Experience And User Interface

Our approach involves a strategic integration of your branding guidelines to create a seamless and cohesive experience for your community that reflects your company's identity and values. First we will focus on enhancing the layout of the homepage, an important component in engaging your users effectively.

To facilitate a smooth transition to the platform, we will identify and prioritize two to three key use cases, providing hands-on training sessions to empower your team in setting them up successfully. By addressing more complex scenarios on our end, we aim to alleviate any potential frustrations during your initial learning phase.

Furthermore, our expertise extends to optimizing the mobile experience, ensuring that it aligns seamlessly with your branding guidelines and offers a visually appealing interface across various devices. Regardless of whether your users are accessing the platform from desktop computers or mobile devices, we will optimize the design to deliver a consistent and delightful user experience. Our goal is to create an intuitive and user-friendly interface that resonates with your users, fostering long-lasting engagement and satisfaction.

Platform Configuration

One of the core strengths of every enterprise community platform lies in its robust administrative console, equipped with various customization options. As we delve into understanding your business requirements and design preferences, we can now focus on configuring your community platform software to perfectly align with your needs.

A significant aspect we'll address is permissioning. Most platforms offer a highly granular level of permission controls, but setting these up effectively requires expertise. Rest assured, we'll guide you through the process and ensure that the permissions are precisely tailored to your day one requirements.

Next, we'll handle authentication and authorization. Depending on your organization, you might be using Active Directory for internal employees or Octa for single sign-on in a customer community. Whatever your single sign-on platform may be, we'll collaborate closely with you to ensure seamless integration with your existing technology.

Moving forward, we'll focus on the user profile, ensuring that all the data aligns with your single source of truth, be it an internal system or any other user database. The layout of the profile will be thoughtfully designed to match your specific needs, ensuring that it's ready to go and provides an exceptional user experience.

By meticulously configuring these critical aspects of the platform, we aim to empower you with a community software that caters precisely to your requirements, streamlines operations, and enhances user engagement. At every step, we'll work in close partnership with you, ensuring a seamless and successful implementation of your community platform. 

Community Management Training

Up to this point, your learning journey has been centered on hands-on, practical aspects essential for your needs. Our experts have been guiding you through the process to ensure proper configuration. However, in this section, we will transition to a more formal training approach, offering classroom-style sessions to help you grasp the full potential of the administrative console and your platform.

Typically, we conduct three one-hour training sessions, which we provide in a recorded format for your convenience. Many of our clients find these recordings invaluable, often incorporating them into a "getting started" section within their community platform. This way, new users can benefit from the knowledge we impart during the early stages of the project.

Beyond demonstrating the technical aspects of the administrative console through practical clicks, we also prioritize training you on the business side of the platform. We delve into the strategies employed by leading companies and explore the rationale behind their choices. In these sessions, we will review and share best practices, providing you with clear insights and guidance for managing your community platform effectively.

Our goal is to equip you with comprehensive knowledge, both technically and strategically, empowering you to make informed decisions and foster a thriving and engaging community. Through this training, you'll not only become proficient in platform management but also gain a deeper understanding of how to optimize its potential for your specific business objectives. If you're new to community management, read our tips here.

Project Management

Let's talk about Project Management—the crucial aspect that ensures a smooth and professional execution. At Social Edge Consulting, we take project management seriously and follow industry best practices. You can expect a well-structured approach with detailed project plans, transparent status updates, and efficient issue resolution—everything that defines a modern and successful IT project.

As for the timeline, we understand that each organization has its unique requirements. For smaller companies, we typically anticipate completing the process within 8 weeks, ensuring a swift and efficient implementation. For larger enterprises, a comprehensive deployment might take up to 16 weeks, as we take the time to tailor the solution to perfectly fit your needs.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please don't hesitate to contact us. We're excited to collaborate with you and become your trusted partner in creating an outstanding community platform that aligns with your organization's goals. Let's work together to achieve your vision!