How Popular Are Online Community Platforms?

Online Community Platform

To have a clear vision of the popularity of online community platforms, we need to analyse some important aspects:

  • Are online communities still in demand from marketing and HR teams?
  • How do online communities fare against legacy web environments (website, intranet, portal)?
  • What will be the future for online communities?

Let’s talk about online community platforms – have they reached maturity?

No, they have not! In fact, we can say that online community platforms have only just started to progress. They evolved from different sources, like forums, online encyclopedias and elements of integrated platforms like Teligent and SharePoint. Today, these older systems have blurred the outline of elements that can be found in some portals or in traditional features on the most popular social networks of today, like Twitter or Facebook.

The very first online community platforms were integrated in ‘light’ form. Nevertheless, they looked like separate tools in the suite of digital apps used by organisations for communication with customers, employees and partners. Some examples of this can be found in online communities created to support customers. They existed separately from service environments, external social media channels and traditional websites.

To supplement the standard digital platforms for their employees (like email, employee portals, or network drives), companies added various community platforms.

Such solutions have driven quite measurable value for organisations with their employees, partners and customers. But what’s next? This question often arises after the successful launch of any community platform.

Should Marketing, HR and IT teams invest in online communities?

The right answer will be: “It depends”. The common challenge that most businesses face is their disjointed digital environment. There is also a need for consolidation and integration of various web-based environments because of issues such as:

  • Poor UX that creates fragmentation
  • Imperfect technical integration between platforms
  • Large numbers of user accounts and logins
  • Poor access to customer data
  • Hard to manage enterprise content, etc.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Spring ’16 Release But Were Afraid to Ask

It’s only January, but Salesforce has already published its Spring ’16 Release Notes. In order to provide better business capabilities, Salesforce has improved various features.

Lightning Experience.

Currently, Lightning Experience is all about its beautiful, new, user experience. Unfortunately, this Spring ’16 (as well as Winter ’16) Release does not support all the features that are already available in Salesforce Classic. Many Salesforce customers are so impressed by Lightning’s publicity campaign that they forget about the limitations – some functionality, critical for business, is limited or unavailable in Lightning Experience.


The Spring ’16 Release will bring more campaigns and opportunities for sales teams. One of the features that should be mentioned is integration with Microsoft®. Salesforce presents its app for Outlook that allows you to work without having to switch between Microsoft apps and Salesforce.


With the mobile version of Salesforce, it’s easy to do business on the run. Advantages: interactive charts, objects keep track of purchased products, Salesforce Authenticator mobile app with two-factor authentication for strong protection.


The most anticipated component of the Spring ’16 Release. The first thing to do is to upgrade your templates to the latest version – Winter ’16.

Long story short: some of the template components were renamed to make finding them easier. For those who used to know the old names, it’s time to start learning new ones! Hint: components are grouped by type in Page Editor.Chatter Lightning components allow you to use the full Chatter capabilities for a community. Templates in the Spring ’16 Release will support multiple languages, plus users will be able to vote on knowledge articles and see more options for the case detail page. Community Builder will please users with Page Manager – it’s an enhanced tool for creating/deleting pages, adding page variations and viewing page properties. Community managers will be happy too – there’s support for all feed types and special characters. Also, a community manager can now set up file limits for a community and specify recommendations for targeting specific audiences.


With the new Release, users will be able to create broadcast groups, supply users and groups with banner photos, and edit posts (as well as adding links and attaching files).

Another chapter of the Spring ’16 Release is Marketing Cloud. It’s not just a set of improved features, but a whole platform that will delight marketing managers. With Marketing Cloud from Salesforce, users can have a single view of customer-leveraging data from any source. Now marketers can deliver personalised content to their customers via any device at exactly the right time.

That’s not everything in the Spring ’16 Release, but only the most interesting points. It looks quite impressive, right? That’s why it’s important to understand that these features are just planned, but not yet implemented. Salesforce is a highly effective business with publicity campaigns that help it a lot. However, remember that according to its Safe Harbor document, Salesforce cannot guarantee that any mentioned features will be generally available at some particular time, or at all.

To all current and future Salesforce customers – be patient, be critical of exciting announcements and keep your mind clear.