Community building may be as old as humanity itself, but community in a commercial context is an emerging thing. Organizations have been building communities for a long time, but for most of it, community has only ever been utilized for customer service or marketing. Those remain important outcomes, but thankfully, companies increasingly understand the strategic value of community to grow their business. Community is now also being used to gain product feedback, drive contributions, improve loyalty, and share best practices, as companies utilize community to create value for members in new ways.
This evolution impacts the role organizations play in many communities. Members are critical, but the organization a member represents is an increasingly important factor for some communities, especially product communities. It can determine a member’s potential to buy, likelihood of contributing to the product, and indicate how they might actively engage in your community. As such, we’re making organizations a first-class object in Orbit, and we are delighted to announce our first set of features that make this a reality. So you can spot prospects from interesting organizations who have become active in your community and can use that to build relationships with and support critical new accounts.
Under the new Organizations section, you now get a list of all the organizations active in your community. You’ll see the organization name, website, member count, employee count, and the date the organization was first active in your community.
You can also access rich information about each organization listed in the organization table - from its members to their activities and more. Clicking on one of the organizations in the organization table opens its profile page.
Both the organization table and profile page are initially being released in closed beta. If you'd like to try it out, let us know, and we'll enable it for your workspace(s).
Meanwhile, community within an organization is increasingly a team sport. Like with customers CircleCI and Apollo, we see adoption of Orbit spread from within community teams, to customer success, talent acquisition, sales, and elsewhere. So the next significant new addition in Orbit is notifications. Notifications help you keep track of what’s happening in your community across your whole team. They allow you to be proactive by being alerted to interesting events and kept in the loop on the actions of other team members.
We’re excited to announce the first set of in-app notifications:
- When a member gets their first GitHub Pull Request merged
- When a collaborator adds a note to a member
- When a collaborator joins or leaves your Orbit workspace
- When an integration or CSV import is completed
But this is just the start. We’re already working on email notifications, and we’d love to hear about the other notification types that would make you more productive.
Something that has come up in the feedback provided by community members is that while Orbit provides lots of insights, they can sometimes be hard to navigate. We want to fix that and have made changes to the workspace homepage and member profile pages to make accessing key insights easier than ever.
We’ve redesigned the workspace homepage around “Community Highlights,” where we surface important members according to four categories:
1. Most active members in the last seven days
2. Highest reach active members in the last seven days
3. New most active members in the last 30 days
4. Formerly active members who haven’t been active for three months
Meanwhile, we’ve updated the right-hand sidebar to include data for all plug-and-play sources. This shows an overview of channel-specific changes, which can be clicked on to view a modal of the relevant activities. These changes make the homepage a snapshot into the current state of your community, enabling you to quickly dive deeper into the highlighted points of interest.
The design changes also extend to the member pages. We’ve redesigned the member profile page around three main panes:
- Member’s attributes or information such as tags in the left pane
- Member’s last activity summary in the top right pane
- Activity feed and notes in the bottom-right pane
These combine to provide an at-a-glance overview of important member information and their recent community engagement.
We're continuing to iterate on our reporting capability, to make the reports and dashboards even more powerful and flexible. Hot on the back of some recent reports section UI changes, which made your custom dashboards more accessible, we’ve added the ability to create a new dashboard from the main action menu. This was two links in the reports sidebar before; now, it’s just one.
We’ve also updated the date range filter in reports, adding an option to select relative timeframes, like “last 6 weeks”. Previously you could only choose from preset timeframes or absolute timeframes from the calendar widget. Now, with custom relative timeframes, you can ‘set it and forget it,’ creating a dashboard that always shows up-to-date information for the exact rolling timeframe you want.
We’ve added channel and category group filters to reports. So for GitHub, each repository can now be clicked to filter the view to a specific repo. Previously the filters had to be used to narrow the scope of a report down to a repo; this table shortcuts that. It works not just for GitHub but also for other plug-and-play integrations where there’s a breakdown by channel (Discord, Slack) or category (Discourse).
As the utilization of community insights spreads within an organization, the importance of integrating your data from across all of the platforms you use becomes critical to getting a 360° view of a customer. So we’ve also improved some of our core integrations, like adding new Actions to our Zapier integration. You can now search for members using one of their identities, such as an email address, or their usernames on services like GitHub, LinkedIn, or Discord. In addition, we’ve added the ability to update a member profile directly from Zapier, so if you need to update profile information such as a biography, shipping address, or other information you can use this action to achieve it. For example, this unlocks the ability to do things like automate sending swag.
Meanwhile, we've added tracking of fork activities to our GitHub integration. For now, only new fork activity is added to workspaces; however, we will be rolling out imports of historical fork activity for workspaces that require it in the new year.
All of these updates are live now in the app. Visual tweaks like some of these can take some getting used to, but if you need help, then the Orbit team is here for you. Please take a look at the docs in our new knowledge base, or drop us a line to get answers to any questions you may have.
These updates wrap up the year, but there are many more product improvements to come in 2022. To stay up-to-date, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our newsletter 👇.