7 Tips for Choosing a Community Platform

by Jim Berkowitz on May 18, 2010

Here are several excerpts from an article by Christopher Andrews, a senior analyst at Forrester Research, 7 Tips for Choosing a Community Platform.  Be sure to check out the complete source article for more on each tip:

The emergence of community platforms has been one of the most exciting technology marketplaces to watch over the past few years. These tools have revolutionized digital marketing by allowing companies to develop online communities that they can use to facilitate conversations about products, stimulate innovation initiatives, and generate new levels of customer intimacy. Given the significant competitive advantages that can result from such a highly visible technology, it’s important that sourcing professionals play a role in their procurement.

However, as the market for community platforms grows, so do the challenges associated with managing a variety of suppliers and stakeholder objectives...

Many sourcing teams find themselves struggling to consolidate several internal community platforms and identify the vendor that most closely aligns with long-term organizational objectives.

To provide some clarity and best practices around sourcing community platforms, Forrester spoke with seven leading community platform vendors about the evolution of their organizations and their history of working with sourcing teams. Our conversations highlighted seven key points for sourcing to consider when evaluating these technologies:

  1. Pay close attention to business model differences.
  2. Consider how the platform will scale to multiple users and integrate with other collaboration tools.
  3. Look for a pricing model that fits your objectives.
  4. Avoid the “checklist” trap in favor of prioritized features.
  5. Be prepared to consider new risks associated with new capabilities
  6. Look beyond ROI to overall business value.
  7. Contractually protect yourself from the impact of market changes

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