Help us, help you, have a better Anaplan Forum experience!

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Community Manager

Help us, help you, have a better Anaplan Forum experience!

Hey everyone - We are looking at how we can best improve the experience here in the forums. We want to hear it all, what is working and what isn't.

Some various topics we are interested in hearing feedback on, but please don't limit it to just these:

  • Are you a part of other Communities online? What features, layouts, things are we missing that would help your experience here?
  • How better can we organize content in our forums for you? Does the current method of a few core forums with labels work, could we split the existing forum better between 'support' and 'best practices', or should we focus on specific topics like modeling and dashboards?
  • We've been testing different features on our Forums landing page - Is having a message feed available on the landing page that brings together all topics across all of our forums helpful, or is it a nuisance? Additionally, with this we introduced a mechanism to load messages on the same page, vs the existing method in forums where you click to page 2, 3, 4, and so on. Which do you prefer to use?Capture.JPG
  • If we started hosting weekly challenges in the forum related to Anaplan, would this be of interest?
  • Do you feel like you are getting timely responses in the forums? Overall, we have a really great and active Community, and our goal is to ensure everyone using the forums feels they are able to not only get help quickly, but also be able to provide help.

We appreciate any and all feedback - We've spent a lot of time sprucing up various sections of the site over the past six months but haven't made a lot of changes to the forums themselves and how they function, but it's a place we would like to spend some time in the coming months to really enhance your experience.

9 REPLIES 9
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Master Anaplanner/Community Boss

Re: Help us, help you, have a better Anaplan Forum experience!

Want to make this a pinned post for the time being? Then it won't get lost in all the new question, thoughts, etc...

 

As long as people use the tagging for their posts then that should be a sufficient way of grouping things, but maybe make it more obvious that this is what is going rather than say a specific place for modelling, integration, etc. that way you can scroll through everything rather than having to go to various places.

One thing that would be nice is the ability to have a sort of widget device so you could bring in for example the Master Anaplanner discussion board / Idea Exchange 

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Community Manager

Re: Help us, help you, have a better Anaplan Forum experience!

@andrewtye re: MA/Ideas - Something we have talked about is having a section on the homepage (or somewhere) that acts as a roll-up of all activity throughout Community - Instead of an individual forum, it would pull in topics throughout all of Community, allowing you to sort it by new/unanswered/most popular for example. Is this something like what you are thinking, or am I completely off base?

Here's an example of how friends over at Atlassian (Jira/Confluence) handle it in their Community which I am a huge fan of myself, I love it let's me have the granular control to see "everything" or drill down to the specific options I want to see - Something like this be of interest?

Stan_0-1583506972944.png

 

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Master Anaplanner/Community Boss

Re: Help us, help you, have a better Anaplan Forum experience!

@Stan - interesting, not quite what I was thinking (see below) but certainly that allowed for all relevant information to be swept into one place and easily searched through would be great.

My idea was... below is taken from the Forums page, so having a slightly more free-format (maybe one or two) boxes where you had your own "home page" with personalised content, slightly more visual maybe

andrewtye_0-1583514321451.png

 

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Community Manager

Re: Help us, help you, have a better Anaplan Forum experience!

💡 Got it!  Yes, we are all about giving all of you more control over all of this! Very hopeful in a few months we'll be able to start to show some cool things specific to this!

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Master Anaplanner/Community Boss

Re: Help us, help you, have a better Anaplan Forum experience!

@Stan 

 

Great, Great initiative! 

1. No, I am pretty much part of this community only - so can't comment much on this point

2. Is there any way that we can have a section called FAQs for one particular year- which can be drilled down by FAQs by month. Typical Anaplan thing, you know:)  We can further categorize those FAQs into Support and best practices. I second you on this approach.

3. I have never had an issue with the page wise feed- I don't have any preference over another

4. Did you say weekly challenges? Who doesn't love challenges, as long as you are into Anaplan it is how we breathe. Bring it on @Stan Everybody would love it and boost the participation on the community

5.You can't guarantee the timely response here as there are no SLAs:) But it might be worthwhile to check, if anybody has a posted a query can the engine find if something of similar nature has been posted and clarified already and notify the person accordingly. And also few people esp Master Anaplanner and Community Bosses can take this additional challenge in order to provide timely response - HOW is that going to happen - I don't know but we surely will have to have a plan in place.

Looking forward to hearing from  @JaredDolich @usman_zia @LipChean_Soh 

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Community Manager

Re: Help us, help you, have a better Anaplan Forum experience!

Thanks Misbah - Great feedback - Especially with #5, I'm hopeful we'll be able to start enhancing some of our tech to assist with this, but definitely will be leaning on all of the Community to make it happen as well!
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Master Anaplanner/Community Boss

Re: Help us, help you, have a better Anaplan Forum experience!

@Stan 

I really appreciate you asking this question.

First, I would agree with @andrewtye and @Misbah on their points.

Second, I would say, overall, the Community Site is pretty easy to work with as it is so please take my suggestions as a form of praise.

So having written that, I would add these thoughts, some from other functionality I've seen in other Community Sites, some that are my own. 

Some nice to have, others a little more urgent if it can be done.

Had a lot of fun writing this - so forgive me if you feel I got carried away.

Functionality:

  • For posts that get a lot of responses, it becomes very difficult to figure out the order in which the responses are made and who is responding to whom. If there was a clickable tree view on the side (with icons) showing the different conversations that would be a huge win. Tree view should also link to other conversations that are essentially the same.
  • We have a lot of best practices and mini-lessons. Let's create a clickable directory so it automatically adds it to our posts. Kind of like how we click on the genre of the topic.
  • Ability for people that answer questions to add links of posts with similar answers rather than having them search for them, cut/paste, and edit in the new post.
  • Ability to see all responses or just the conversation between me and the author.
  • Please remove pages. My computer and internet are just fine. I'd rather wait for the page to load. And then I'll scroll. Or at least, let me determine the page size.
  • WYSIWYG - More editing features like paragraph formatting, better header formatting for H1-H4. Line separator, quote template, some limited HTML animation like the ability to open/close a paragraph or quote. I know we're working with HTML but I think we can make some strides here. Lastly, on this point. I would really like to see the final response look like the way I edited it. Right now paragraphs get separated, font sizes don't match, and images don't always look the way I set them up.
  • Make the replies collapsible. Meaning I can see all the responses one the page and open and close the response if I want to see more detail.
  • Pop up window to other answers so I don't lose my place editing.
  • Auto-save draft, or option to turn on/off. Hate to say it but sometimes I need to write long answers and I lose my work when I hit "post" for various reasons.
  • Image repository - image reuse. I have a rather elaborate image directory now for answering questions. It would be great if I could move that to be online and referenceable. I can't use images when I'm on my cellphone or traveling.
  • If possible, someday, I hope, I hope, I would really like to see a Community Boss Workspace that we can all share. From there, we can share, reuse, highlight, and maybe even convert to best-practices the great answers and techniques that people come up with. I have referenced @DavidSmith  DISCO methodology and @rob_marshall data hub peak performance best practices so many times. It would be far better to just have a canned answer that we can reference. This would benefit the Community in two very important ways: Community Bosses can collaborate on solutions and it makes solutions reusable, and possibly even provide the work products needed to create best practice articles out of the most common questions asked. In our posts, we can even “code” the examples so we can find them in the workspace. How about a Community Boss Center of Excellence??? We could all use the practice I’m sure. Maybe take turns being the tenant admin.

Community Boss Culture:

  • Introductions – I’d love to hear everyone’s story, their interests, what’s their favorite part of the Community Site, what can the rest of the Community Bosses do to support you, etc…

  • Tips & Tricks. How does everyone manage their inbox? If it’s like me, I get 50-100 emails / day. What’s your method for getting to the questions posted on the Community Site?

  • Data Integration. This one is more controversial but really important to me. Data integration shows up a lot on the Community Site. But, I only have access to the free tools like Anaplan Connect, Python, Postman, and the APIs. Would it be possible to leverage Anaplan’s relationship with Informatica, Dell, SnapLogic, MuleSoft, Tableau, Salesforce, and Docusign to get us a discounted license so we can sandbox these? Having access to the optimizer would be helpful too.

  • If a data integration solution for Community Bosses isn't possible in the short term, I think it would be a good idea if we had a directory of "experts" from Anaplan that can jump in to help answer some of these questions. These experts should be a clickable directory so we don't have to search and retype them in.

  • Coaching / Mentoring. The community bosses are some of the most dedicated and helpful people – should we partner with @Ameneh and @Beauram  to coach/mentor master Anaplanner candidates or perhaps those that want to go beyond L1? Maybe we also collaborate with @ChrisMullen  on best practices to enhance the L2 and L3 experience? This might also help to recruit other Community Bosses.

  • University Connect. Can we extend our leadership to colleges and universities? I’m still a little unsure how to do this. Maybe we can collaborate together to canvas the globe to provide some top quality presentations, workshops, hackathons, business cases to some up & coming students.

  • Anaplan Study Groups. Just an idea I’ve been thinking about. Maybe we have virtual workshops for advanced topics. They can be organized by genre like modeling, data integration, CoE, Anaplan Way. Or, they can be organized by horizontal: supply chain, sales, finance, service desk. They can be scripted or ad-hoc. This might also be a good venue for David Smith to get some architectural ideas. Some may fit into his overall strategy. \

  • Community Boss meetups with the Anaplan Leads. So this would be a Community Boss virtual meeting with one or more of the Anaplan leads like @DavidSmith  (architecture), @rob_marshall  (Excellence), @ChrisMullen  (Learning), @Ameneh  and @Beauram  (Master), @emilydunn@Stan (you)  and @HollyRieke  (Community), Someone from data integration, the business partner team, sales team, etc…. I’d love to get their perspective on their leadership agenda and how Community Bosses can better support them.

     

Protocol:

  • Templates: Not sure how this would work exactly but I think it would be helpful if Authors got in the habit of providing the detail we need to solve their question. I'd say 25-30% of the questions asked require us to ask for more clarification. Otherwise, we're just guessing. Templates might be as simple as reminders. So when the post opens there are suggestions about what to add.
  • When I/m wrong or imprecise: I admit sometimes my answer is wrong or not best-practice. It would be great if I could have a way to receive a private message directly from the post so I can make any corrections. While everyone on the Community site is congenial and professional about calling me out - I would still rather have that conversation in private.
  • Links - I think it's important to give credit to others that have already answered a question. I spend a lot of time researching others' answers because more than half of the questions asked have already been answered. What would be nice is a way to dynamically reference other answers directly from the new post. In addition, when someone links to other responses, they person than answered the question should be given credit. I spend a lot of time retyping other's alias.
  • Ability to move private conversations to the Community Site. Some people have reached out to me privately, which I don't mind, but the conversation could be something that would benefit others.
  • Questions regarding certifications. Every now and then someone will ask a question about one of the exam questions. What’s the right etiquette for handling these? I noticed there's a special board for these questions. Would it be possible for us, as Community Bosses, to transfer the question to that site?
  • Ability to mark a post or answer as obsolete or updated and link it to a more updated answer.

Jared Dolich
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Community Manager

Re: Help us, help you, have a better Anaplan Forum experience!

I need time to give this the proper response it deserves, but know that I am shaking my head "yes" to pretty much your entire post. 😸

Highlighted
Community Manager

Re: Help us, help you, have a better Anaplan Forum experience!

These are amazing ideas, and I'm grateful you took so much time to write them out! A few I wanted to respond to specifically:

  • Coaching / Mentoring. The community bosses are some of the most dedicated and helpful people – should we partner with @Ameneh and @Beauram  to coach/mentor master Anaplanner candidates or perhaps those that want to go beyond L1? Maybe we also collaborate with @ChrisMullen  on best practices to enhance the L2 and L3 experience? This might also help to recruit other Community Bosses.

  • University Connect. Can we extend our leadership to colleges and universities? I’m still a little unsure how to do this. Maybe we can collaborate together to canvas the globe to provide some top quality presentations, workshops, hackathons, business cases to some up & coming students.

  • Anaplan Study Groups. Just an idea I’ve been thinking about. Maybe we have virtual workshops for advanced topics. They can be organized by genre like modeling, data integration, CoE, Anaplan Way. Or, they can be organized by horizontal: supply chain, sales, finance, service desk. They can be scripted or ad-hoc. This might also be a good venue for David Smith to get some architectural ideas. Some may fit into his overall strategy. 

  • Community Boss meetups with the Anaplan Leads. So this would be a Community Boss virtual meeting with one or more of the Anaplan leads like @DavidSmith  (architecture), @rob_marshall  (Excellence), @ChrisMullen  (Learning), @Ameneh  and @Beauram  (Master), @emilydunn@Stan (you)  and @HollyRieke  (Community), Someone from data integration, the business partner team, sales team, etc…. I’d love to get their perspective on their leadership agenda and how Community Bosses can better support them.

These all overlap, at least a bit, with User Groups, or at least ideas we've had for leveraging User Groups in other areas and changes we want to make/are making to the way leadership of User Groups works. I like the idea especially about study groups and Boss meetups. Don't be surprised if I circle back with you at some point to talk more!