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Nov 09, 2011 at 11:55 PM

Please come and stay a while in our beautiful neighbourhood...

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I spotted a Tweet this evening from Luke Marson that got me thinking...

[@lukemarson|https://twitter.com/#!/lukemarson] - Luke Marson

I'm surprised that after 3 years the only real contributors to the community about Viz Solutions by [@NakisaInc|https://twitter.com/#!/NakisaInc] are [@BurrStephen|https://twitter.com/#!/BurrStephen] and I 😔

So first of all I'd like to suggest that anyone who adds anything of value to a community is a contributor. That can just as easily be the person who asks a question (that then drives vigorous debate and discussion or perhaps just gives a thank you) as someone who answers it.

That being said I think the point Luke is trying to make is that the community seems to be quite narrow in terms of frequency (and perhaps quality?) of contribution from it's members. So I started to think...

Why do people come here in the first place and why do they stay?

I guess most people come looking for the answers to questions about implementation. Given VSN tends to just work when it's in place, there isn't always an ongoing need to keep coming back to discuss the latest and greatest way of doing things or the other sorts of discussions that occur post-implementation.

Once the system's in and working, most question askers probably move on. The only ones who remain I'm guessing (and I'm new here so feel free to enlighten me) are Nakisa, SAP and partners who implement VSN on a regular basis.

So what can be done to build and grow the community?

Here's some general things I thought might be productive to begin to grow the community and make the interactions a bit more sticky.

1. Advertise. Tell clients and colleagues about the useful information they can get from the forum (and wiki, linke to blog posts, etc.).

...which means...

2. Generate more content that's of use to people pre- and post-implementation.

- What are common pitfalls in the planning stages?

- What are the resources and time scales typically needed?

- What are the most commonly requested configuration tweaks/changes?

- What sorts of training approaches work best - are there any training materials (just frameworks or proformas) that can be shared to start people off?

- Having a wish list for future releases (I know Stephen Burr had a post on this not so long ago, but what about a collated list from everyone)?

3. Create more links to other HCM forums - I'm guessing this is tricky without making it sound like a sales pitch.

4. Encouraging others - full disclosure, I work with Stephen Burr and he's really encouraging about engaging with platforms like this, but as the community grows (and I'm sure it will), giving the new people chance to contribute. This may mean leaving questions a little longer to see if anyone else picks them up through to suggesting contributions on something someone is doing as part of the work you may just have helped them with.

I'm sure that there are lots of fantastic ideas out in the ether waiting to be realised and so I guess this is a kind of rally for people. Why not throw some thoughts and ideas in here and see if you can convince a colleague or client to add something?

... and whilst I'm going to count this as an initial significant (or it will be if it catalyses something) contribution, I'm going to have a think about what I else I could personally add to this (now that I've put all my best ideas out for everyone else to pick from).