What is the state of online community in 2016?
As I noted in my recent round-up of enterprise tech to watch in 2016, the social business industry — which largely runs on community platforms and is the center of gravity of the practice — is in the midst of a growth surge, with compound annual growth of 26% expected through 2019 to become a $23 billion industry. This is a significantly higher growth rate than the entire big data industry, and so it's good evidence that we'll continue to see communities become ever more integral to everything we do.
The reason online communities are being used more is simple: Communities have become very efficient and effective vehicles, especially in certain high value functions, for connecting people and information together, while making the resulting knowledge collectively easy to wield and reuse across a wide variety of business functions.
For years now, the respected The Community Roundtable has been tracking the growth of the industry and sharing its data with the world, especially with its widely-followed annual State of Community Management report, or SOCM. The recently released SOCM for 2016 has by far the largest data sampling ever, with data from 339 community programs from around the world.
We could not agree more and feel as technologies and innovative services continue to grow and sectors of offerings become commoditized, incredible opportunities of differentiation are always available for those companies who strive to deliver profound value to their customers in an innovative and delightful way. It's a two-way street as well, delighted customers stay with you, listen, learn, and share with you how your products/services are faring, and how collectivly your organization and your customers can benefit!
Keeping your customers forever starts with a focus on your customer experience.