My Reflections on the CA Communities Leadership Summit, Part 1

Another CA World has come and gone. I was again fortunate to attend the CA Community Leadership Summit (CLS) at CA World, a one-day conference for leaders of the CA Technologies user communities; formerly known as CARE. This year?s CLS was a different animal from previous editions. It was a single day conference with about 70 attendees compared to the multi day conference with 200-300 attendees in prior years.

CLS had very light attendance from the modeling communities with Garry Gramm and I from the Modeling Global User Community Board being the sole attendees. This attendance reflected the absence of ERwin sessions at CA World. It was unfortunate that the modeling communities were not represented since the day?s sessions benefited all communities. I will highlight some of the major points covered during the day in this post and an upcoming post.

The Journey for CA Communities

J.J. Lovettt spoke about the growth of CA Communities over the past 18 months from 20,000 to 30,000 members. The implementation of MyCA and new community portals has given the user community more options to interact and join other communities. My take-away from J.J.?s session was his talk on what are the attributes of an active community. I think this is something for all of us to reflect on our own communities. Here they are with some editorializing from me.

An active community?

  1. Serves focused members? interests. It?s important to listen to the people engaged in our community and be their voice in our work with CA Technologies and growing the community to meet their needs.
  2. Drive and deliver valuable and actionable content. The line from the Field of Dreams, ?Build it and they will come.? says it all. Message boards, file libraries, portal pages and all other content needs to offer value and be that piece of value added information that keeps our members engaged and returning.
  3. Increase cadence through collaboration and sharing. The speed of IT today is in overdrive. Our community members expect no less from us. Building a community that shares information and encourages collaboration will keep the community fat and happy with information.
  4. Engage in reciprocity. Share the wealth of user knowledge and experiences. We need to work on opening our members up to freely sharing though conversations, message board posts, feedback, leading webcasts and in-person sessions. Sharing our experiences across communities is as equally important. It may save us from reinventing the wheel where another community has already gone.
  5. Encourage linking. MyCA and our community portals give us a social presence. However, it needs to be part of a greater social networking presence. Linking our communities to other networks such as LinkedIn and Twitter is critical. We each cast our net with different audiences. The more nets that are cast; the more community members we can reach.
  6. Service expertise. People are drawn to communities that possess the expertise that they are seeking. Cultivating that expertise makes your community more attractive. We need to develop strategies to expose our expertise and make it easily accessible to the community. Blogs, message board how-to posts, WIKI posts, tips of the week, etc are good tools to get you going.

Sam Creek of the CA Communities team discussed recent improvements to the CA Communities? pages and changes yet to come. He spoke of a recent University of Toronto study on social maturity in social media. The study used CA Technologies communities in their research. They found that email remains an important and prevalent tool used by our communities. There was also about a 50/50 split on members and communities who dabble in Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social networks as opposed to those who are not socially connected. The split continued with people who prefer an anonymous on-line presence as opposed to those who wish to be a recognizable on-line presence.

The CA Communities team is adding the ability to respond to message board posts via email. They are also building a video knowledgebase with short videos covering specific how-to?s for portal page contents. These videos will give community leaders a step-by-step process to add and change page components.

I liked J.J.?s and Sam?s view of where the CA Communities sites need to move.  During the question and answer period and in conversations between sessions in the hall, I overheard a variety of takes on this presentation. Some liked it, and some disliked it. There is a wide variety of communities under the CA Technologies umbrella. Their needs are just as diverse. Some want a robust tool that allows them to configure and build a portal that meets some pretty detailed community needs. Others would just like a portal that allows them to email members, post news and carry on discussions in their message boards. J.J. and company have quite a chore ahead to find out how they can make the majority of folks happy.  The CLS was an excellent start to that journey.

Stay tuned for part 2?

Tom Bilcze
Modeling Global User Community President

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