2020 was an unpredictable year, so while we’re loathe to make “predictions” for 2021, we did want to hear what some community thought leaders were thinking about in terms of where the industry is going.
Below eight community leaders share their perspective on what 2021 holds for the online community industry.
“Progressive organizations will lean into the power that community brings to their employees’ sense of employee engagement. The business value of community will extend beyond conversations about solely work-related topics and will embrace employees’ desire and need to bring their whole selves to work.” Steve Nguyen, Principal Program Manager, Microsoft
“With the spotlight on virtual communication, connecting, and collaboration, there is a widening opportunity for skilled community practitioners. I think we’ll see more professionals looking to skill up in community management and more roles for experienced community professionals. There is a growing need for more strategic community management around events for external facing use cases and collaboration for internal use cases.” Hillary Boucher, Ultimate Kronos Group
“With so many staff now working from home, 2021 will see more digitally dependent Communities than ever before. Whether in Yammer, Teams, or Workplace, internal communities are set for massive growth next year. SWOOPs benchmarking of nearly 9,000 Yammer Communities showed us this trend and we expect it to continue in 2021. Dr. Laurence Lock Lee – Chief Data Scientist – SWOOP Analytics.
“I think we’ll continue to see the creation of key community roles within organizations. What this translates to is leaning less on the technology that holds the community and focusing more on the community’s purpose (why), people (who) and programs/content that help it grow (how).” Marjorie Andersen, Manager, Digital Communities, PMI
“After so many years of community professionals trying to justify the need or impact of a community, 2020 put a spotlight on what we’ve been trying to say all along. I expect to see a significant uptick in new communities and existing community with new purposes.” Jillian Betjlich, Lead Community Strategist, BAE Systems
“COVID-19 has completely and in some cases digitally transformed the way organizations approach employee and customer engagement. 2021 will bring tremendous opportunity for the community management industry to reinforce the business value of an innovative online community use case and strategy to drive ROI. The necessity of an integrated approach to organizational digital culture change is now clearer than ever.” Ashleigh Brookshaw, Founder & CINO of C2M Digital, LLC.
“With the ‘work from anywhere’ reality, an enormous emphasis will be focused on creating digital workplace culture, human interaction, and guarding against isolation. Community Managers face new challenges balancing business and social elements to keep people interested and engaged, requiring greater sensitivity to analytic trends, and innovation in engagement strategies.” Brian McIlravey, VP Customer Experience
“By the end of 2021, Communities, Web Self-Service, Knowledge Management, and Intelligent Virtual Assistants will ALL be delivered by a single platform, from a single vendor, to empower customers and the employees that serve them. Humans and AI machine learning will work together to improve the community and service experience.” Jon Allen, VP & GM, Communities & Web Self-Service, Verint Intelligent Self-Service
Have a prediction for 2021 that you’d like to share? Add it in the comments below or send us a reply on Twitter.