Magazine article CRM Magazine

Ciena Cozies Up to Its Partners: Community Tools from Mzinga Help a Communications Company Communicate

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Ciena Cozies Up to Its Partners: Community Tools from Mzinga Help a Communications Company Communicate

Article excerpt

* Tell us a bit about your organization. Ciena is a global communications-equipment company that builds network solutions for service providers and enterprises worldwide. If anyone is using Triple Play--Internet, phone, and cable television--their information is running over our hardware, using our software, and managed by our services.

* Why launch a partner community? We've been trying new things with social media in the past 12 months. We've managed to get a social media policy developed and launched throughout the company. On the intranet site, we have social media tips and tricks for all of our employees. We now have people on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and we're seeing [the company] pushed out into other areas on the Web, which is great.

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We knew we wanted to produce a community. When we started digging down ... we [began] to understand that we needed to start with a small, select audience--not just go out and try this with everyone [we] know. The partner audience is our test community. We plan to launch a customer community, as well.

Also, building a community was really about us making sure we continue to be an innovator. Ciena has always prided itself on, "We aren't the largest telecommunications provider, but we're specialists in our space." We also wanted to improve the partner experience. Our existing portal [was] somewhat dated so we sought to ... give [partners] direct access to the people they really wanted to talk to.

* Why did you choose Mzinga? We walked through between 12 and 15 vendors ..., what we had internally, external tools, white-label [social networking] providers, and custom-built solutions. We ultimately chose Mzinga for its broad base of tools.

* What results have you seen? We blew our membership goals out of the water. We said we wanted 50 to 100 partners to join within the first year, and now we're around 400 [and] we've been steadily increasing. So, from a membership perspective, we're seeing great numbers. However, we aren't seeing the level of engagement that we'd hoped for--that's what we're working on now. Partners are coming, they're reading stuff, but they aren't actually posting.

From an internal perspective, we're really seeing the positive changes inside the company. We did a product launch recently with social media content written before the launch. It was organized with structured posts on all the online channels. …

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