By Shannon DiGregorio Abram, Relationship Manager at The Community Roundtable.
As part of our ongoing series of expert interviews we’re excited to bring you excerpts from a chat wehad recently with Vicki Tambellini – President and CEO (and Founder!) of Enterprise Hive. Vicki shares some background on what’s happening at Enterprise Hive, shares some passionate words about her role and some inspiring advice. Let’s get started!
Tell us about Enterprise Hive. How do you fit in the overall community market space?
Enterprise Hive is a technology leader in social business software that serves higher education and the business/corporate markets with a social community platform. Our mission at Enterprise Hive is to be innovative in order to help institutions and organizations focus on improving communications and engagement with internal and external stakeholders in order to achieve their goals. These goals can be anywhere from improving student retention to delivering improved customer service.
To “fit” in the community market space, we knew that we needed to deliver a software as a service social community platform that reduced the burden of IT support which is why the functionality of HiveSocial, our social business platform is 100% configurable.
We also knew that we needed a full suite of dynamic collaboration tools and apps. HiveSocial is complete with all of the social collaboration tools you would expect in an online community. So we developed a full suite of collaboration and communication apps such as blogs, forums, chat, activity streams, wikis, document management as well as a gamficiation platform that can boost participation, as well as track and reward activities. And we wrapped it all up with a library of API’s.
HiveSocial now in its 5th major release is available as a cloud-based saas solution for a number of business processes where “social” significantly contributes to student outcomes as well as improving business workflows. We offer solutions for higher education that transforms an institution into a social campus. HiveSocial for Higher Education is the engagement platform for any college or university that needs to improve workflows, boost rates for attracting, recruiting and retaining both online and on campus students as well as engaging and improving communications among faculty and staff. In addition, we also have solutions for Customer Service, Sales and Marketing and Innovation which we call Product Lifecycle Management.
As a sponsor of the State of Community Management 2014, you clearly care about community. How do your customers typically use Enterprise Hive to support their business?
Actually we like to refer to our customers as partners because they traditionally have the same goals that match our mission. They are innovative and want to improve the communications with all of their stakeholders in order to transform business processes and services .
The number one reason we refer to our customers as partners is because we measure our success based upon their success not just by meeting the launch date but after- in the post launch stage. We work with each of our customers one-on-one to provide them with best practices and guidance so that their communities become as the 2014 report refers the “best in class” internal and external communities.
We have customers who are using HiveSocial for customer support with peer-to-peer collaboration and to deepen company/customer relations. . We have other customers who are using HiveSocial as a membership engagement platform to keep their members connected. We also have customers who use HiveSocial to manage projects and software implementations across geographically disbursed campuses.
Do you support internal and/or external communities? Both?
To truly transform into a social business or social campus, the organization or institution must embrace internal and external communities while still providing a single user experience. That is why when we developed HiveSocial, we designed our platform with the security and authentication protocols that would support both internal and external communities.
Our approach was to design the platform so that the management of hundreds of thousands of users and the complexity of access roles a user might have within different groups or internal and external communities would be simple, streamlined, easy to manage and deliver a consistent look and feel.
We totally agree about companies embracing all types of community while optimizing user experience! How does Enterprise Hive support community or social business professionals? Through products? Services? Events?
As community managers of our own site, edu1world.org, we not only recognize but have a deep appreciation for the role of a community manager and social business professionals. Without these critical roles many social communities would not be in existence today. For some of our customers the role of community manager or even project manager of a HiveSocial implementation is new. Therefore, we include consulting and share best practices in our implementation services as well as ongoing consultation after a community has gone live. We also look for other ways to support social business professionals such as becoming a sponsor of The Community Roundtable.
Of the eight community maturity competencies, which resonates with you as being most crucial?
When I look at the community maturity competencies, I see each competency as equal in importance. To remove one would be a domino effect and a disaster for community success. Each of the competencies is valuable and necessary and builds upon each other.
I love that answer – we have a hard time picking, too. It’s like choosing our favorite child! We’d love to hear your take on some of the findings from the SOCM 2014 – what research surprised you the most?
What I found the most interesting in the findings in SOCM 2014 report was that the competencies matched key components that Enterprise Hive has been addressing with our customers since we launched our first community in 2010. Specifically it takes more than just a solid, feature rich platform which Enterprise Hive has but also the support and commitment of the C-Level executive, a roadmap and of course the community manager or manager(s) . These are the critical components to become a “best in class” online community.
I was also pleased to see the growth in online communities that are reporting that they are able to show measurable value. This has been a roadblock for the acceptance of many online communities.
We talk a lot about company culture – what is something about Enterprise Hive that makes it a unique place to work?
Enterprise Hive values the contributions of each member of our team. The core team is comprised of highly experienced software and service professionals who are not afraid to roll up their sleeves to get a job done, Especially when it comes to responding to customer requests and delivering the highest quality software. I am always so proud to boast how our product does not have a list of outstanding defects.
We’d love to hear a case study about a client that uses Enterprise Hive to solve a community challenge.
We are just getting ready for IDC to release a case study on one such customer and I don’t want to upset my VP of Marketing by giving away any information at this time! LOL We will send it to you as soon as it comes out and you can share it with the TheCR community.
Sounds great – we’ll look forward to it. If you weren’t working at Enterprise Hive what would you be doing?
I am right where I want to be and it is impossible to think about being anywhere else. I have been on this mission since I left PeopleSoft to help people in their jobs and personal lives ( which as we see with social media is quickly becoming difficult to separate.) My passion is to make a significant impact on the way that individuals communicate and share information and with Enterprise Hive the door of opportunity is opening wide.
It’s very inspiring to hear you talk about your job with such passion! Now it’s your turn to inspire us: what’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? It doesn’t need to be community related.
Do the right thing, even if nobody is watching.
Ok, final question, and a TheCR favorite: what’s your superpower?
I don’t like to think of myself as having superpowers but if I had to come up with something, I believe that it is about being able to create an environment where people with different skills and experience can come together to work for a common or greater good. I see this in my team at Enterprise Hive and all of the great things we are accomplishing.
Oh, I love that – maybe your superhero name is EmpowermentWoman?! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us about Enterprise Hive and all the interesting work you’re doing.
Have you taken the Community Manager Salary Survey 2014 yet? Your insights into your role are invaluable as we document and define community manager best practices across industries. The survey is short (15 minutes) and we’d love to hear from you. Take the survey now.