SPC11: Community Central for SharePoint 2010 Receives Overwhelmingly Positive Response

Things are never lonely at the Bamboo Booth at an SPC event. Still, since our press release hit the wires earlier this week, we’ve been exceptionally busy with attendees wanting to get a first look at the newest addition to the Bamboo application family: Community Central. Some “early birds” had attended the Bamboo customer appreciation party at the House of Blues Monday night. They were anxious to see Bamboo’s entrance to the social collaboration space. Below are some of the comments and reactions we’ve fielded so far.

On the ease of posting a blog, one of our visitors commented, “This is what WordPress offers, and to get that functionality in my secure SharePoint Intranet is huge.” Additional features that stood out for this visitor were the ease of creating a new blog entry and pasting from a Word doc, along with images and links.

In Forums, the “sticky” feature that allows a post to stay at the top of a forum and the ability to mark a response as the correct answer seems to be the standout feature among business users. Comments such as, “The ease of use will encourage employees to participate in the discussions and allow us to ‘crowdsource’ within our existing employee base and bridge the gap between various organizational units” have been heard more than once.

The fact that the application extends out-of-the-box SharePoint 2010 and leverages SharePoint’s security trimming and permissions resonated with most users. The ability to moderate both blog posts and comments provide additional content management functionality that is now at the forefront of many SharePoint administrators.

We typically begin the demos at the top-level Community Sites, but at this point, viewers are already eager to move down to the blogs or the forums.  When we return to the top sites for the blogs and forums, however, the statistics on the right rail tied the community together for them. The stats on the forums include Most Replies, Most Viewed, Most Active Users, and Top Experts. Each of these brought about varying degrees of “This is exactly what we need for employees to be engaged in the hot topics and either contribute or find answers fast” and “This will encourage our employees to participate in topics that they are eager to learn or to bring their expertise to an even larger audience.” The fact that the Top Experts list exposes the users who have provided the highest number of correct answers in forums seemed to resonate for the ease of identifying subject matter experts within each topic area.

The search feature that allows users to look for information across blogs, forums, or the knowledge base ties into how users seek and expect information to be served and “has the potential for customers and partners to self-serve beyond the standard FAQs” and encourage participation in a user community.

These comments and reactions were all music to our ears, and we look forward to receiving more responses to how much you like the application and feedback, such as, “Could you, please add this feature?”  So if you’re attending the SPC and have not yet gotten your first glimpse of Community Central, please stop by the Bamboo booth (#339) for a demo. The exhibit hall opens at 11:30 a.m. today, and we’d love to see you at the booth.

Read our complete coverage of Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011.

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