The evolution of the narrative of data continues to expand, splinter, create sub-categories and specialized services and generally transforms the way we think about analytics and how we connect to the world around us. Companies have found many innovative ways to engage with the data marketplace, from small-scale business applications to the Internet of Things and even enterprise-scale open data platforms. One such company, Hortonworks, offers an interesting case study in the implementation and development of an online community centered on open data platforms.
Hortonworks, based in Santa Clara, Calif., creates, distributes and supports enterprise-ready open data platforms. The database management community is robust and has a strong level of online engagement within various micro-communities. Hortonworks was using a disjointed WordPress-based forum for Q&A, but lacked the necessary access to community engagement to fully utilize the organic knowledge from its users. According to Mark Herring, Vice President, Community Engagement and Evangelism at Hortonworks, “We wanted to engage a broad community and grow affinity for Hortonworks technology. We have a very technical audience. We required a solution that was robust enough to handle large volumes of users, including our system engineers and consultants, but also extensible to house code repositories.”
Building up this community was a high priority for the company, so as it looked around for the optimal community-building platform, it evaluated several options, including Stack Overflow, Lithium and Jive. Ultimately, Hortonworks settled on AnswerHub for several reasons, including its scalability and customizable interface.
With the implementation of AnswerHub in December 2015, Hortonworks has realized many benefits, including community growth, the centralization of organic knowledge, and efficient knowledge sharing:
- Community Affinity and Growth – At launch, Hortonworks had zero external users, zero external users viewing the site per week and 150,000 page views. Currently, they have over 3,000 external registered users, 15,000 unique users viewing the site per week, and received 800,000 page views in February 2016. The community is experiencing a healthy increase, with a double digit growth per week. Perhaps even more importantly, they are creating a group of fans
- Centralized Knowledge – With AnswerHub, Hortonworks created a knowledge base designed to benefit its technical audience. Users can capture, access and share content, engage in Q&A, and collaborate. Further, AnswerHub is highly scalable and extensible – it can support community growth, as well as rich content and code repositories.
- Knowledge Sharing and Self-Service – Both internal and external users rely on the Hortonworks Community Connection as an online resource. Herring stated, “One answer can feed a multitude of people; with the Hortonworks community, ‘how-to’ questions are answered without the need to find the person who knows the answer or post to Stack Overflow.”
- Advanced Moderation – The Hortonworks community serves both an internal and external audience. With AnswerHub, Hortonworks was able to build a community that limited content access based on user type. AnswerHub also makes it easy to moderate content directly from the interface.
For more about Hortonworks’ deployment of AnswerHub, please see the complete case study.