Looking for platforms that work for clients and internal collaboration

(outofthebox) #1

Continuing the discussion from Introduce yourself (or at least just say hi):

Building internal communities of practice
(Sarah Hawk) #2

I’m going to tag my colleague @Todd_Nilson into this conversation for his thoughts.

(outofthebox) #3

Hey @Hawk, part of the reframing for me was understanding that “content” is a broad term. For DNN, “content” includes all kinds of user-generated content as well. So profiles, profile pictures, messages, discussion forums - all the features that you want for either internal or external communities - those are “content” that DNN is set-up to handle. But then it can also handle the content of blogs, web pages, documents, etc.

(Todd Nilson) #4

Hi @Carson, I haven’t specifically had experience with DNN for a few years, and never on the technical implementation side. Our company managed its externally facing site with it and the interface was okay, but my experience with the latest versions would be far out of date. The downside of DNN is going to be that it’s based on the Microsoft stack, which is somewhat at odds with its averred open source stance. Not sure how that’s playing out these days. If you are a Microsoft shop, of course, that may be a blessing rather than a curse. If you are looking at other Microsoft-centric platforms (aside from SharePoint which I’m not a fan of), you might check out OneWindow, although they look a bit more like an intranet play.

There’s a much broader field of options to be considered if you’re looking for an integration-friendly platform that works both as an internal social intranet and a customer facing community platform. If you are looking in the paid enterprise platform space, you might consider Lithium (stronger, in my opinion on the external side), Jive (strong at both, though perhaps better known for its internal social intranet applications) and Salesforce Community Cloud (still an emerging player but especially strong at integrating its other cloud-based systems). These enterprise grade applications are going to give you pretty strong capabilities for integration with other systems such as your CMS or LMS. There are definitely others you might consider as well.

What I’d be looking for on the social intranet side would be strengths around document collaboration (including versioning and commenting) and lightweight project management capabilities, rather than just discussion forums and media sharing capabilities. That might limit my field of vision when it comes to considering open source providers in the social collaboration space. The enterprise platforms often have their own solution or integrate with Dropbox, Box, or Google docs as the binary storage provider.

(outofthebox) #5

Hi @Todd_Nilson, those are very insightful comments - thank you!

The four alternatives you’ve mentioned (OneWindow, Lithium, Jive, and Salesforce) are all probably outside of our budget. In a sense, that’s a good confirmation that DNN might have enough functionality to be a great choice on our budget, even if it isn’t ideal. Looking at it another way - OneWindow, for instance, looks like an excellent, precisely focused intranet solution but then the customer portal and LMS integration is not there.

DNN does offer document storage, and the DNN store offers some modules for document collaboration. How well they work is an open question. The project management capabilities look more limited, though workflows are built into the administration side of the platform (for updating the website, etc.).

You’ve given me a great perspective to keep in mind as I continue the research.

(Todd Nilson) #6

Glad I could help!