Many times, a quick Google search for any type of information will deliver you thousands of results, many of which are discussion threads on forums. It's no surprise, as there are millions of online forums that individuals around the world use on a daily basis.
The standard forum that you come across today does not vary much from the forums that first emerged on the web over a decade ago. As the web has become the central repository of human knowledge, the problem with standard forums is that they are not typically organized and they have ongoing, threaded discussions that go on ad infinitum. Forums are essentially a collection of unstructured information, which makes it taxing to try to find the relevant bit of information your searching for in the otherwise irrelevant sea of information.
The alternative, and more modern approach, that remedies the problems of the chaos of forums is to apply structure and context to knowledge as it is captured in the form of dialogue. A powerful enterprise knowledge management sharing platform that specializes in custom Q&A communities, ideas and articles will make your customers, users and employees more collaborative and productive by bringing structure to the same, otherwise noisy, information that would be capture in forums.
So, once you've realized the benefits of moving away from an obsolete forum, what are the keys to building a more powerful and robust information sharing community?
Three things are necessary for a powerful Q&A community:
1. Complete Administrative Control
- Own all of the content on your site, unlike online forums and other Q&A platforms.
- Customize the theme to reinforce your brand - internally and externally.
- Advance moderation features enable you to have a more professional, information-rich, relevant and accessible community.
- Granular access control layers make it easy to manage virtually every action on your site - who can post, who can and cannot moderate content.
- Ability to run a variety of reports so you know what's happening in your community with advanced analytics.
- Integrate with tools like Google Analytics, Atlassian, Confluence, Parature or others.
2. Dependable Customer Support
- Determine how long your provider has been providing online communities. What's their heritage? Talk with a few current customers to get their impression of the platform, integration and customer support.
- 24/7 web, phone and email support, and on-premise notifications of server/network errors, is ideal so your community can get the support it needs and have an optimal user experience. The better the user experience, the more users, and more frequent users, you will have.
- Access to professional services to create custom themes and plugins.
3. Advanced Community Capabilities
- Break down silos and share knowledge with community members. While you may not be able to get rid of silos within your company, you can fill the information gap between them by using the hierarchy of spaces within your community.
- Identify topic experts to automatically route relevant questions for quicker, more trustworthy and knowledgeable answers.
- Powerful, intuitive search that indexes ALL community content.
- Receive notifications and respond to questions with email integration.
- Optimize organization with space categorization by tagging content with topics.
- Keep users engaged with gamification which recognizes participation and contribution with reputation points and badges.
If you'd like to see how AnswerHub can build a powerful, customized Q&A community for your organization, please visit us at www.answerhub.com