Over the past couple of months, there has been a lot of discussion around the PTC/USER – PTC Community forum merger we announced at the 2014 PTC Live Event. Some have been positive, pointing out that a merger will help to bring us to one source of information and have PTC Technical support and other useful information in one place, while also allowing for better archiving, searching, and a richer dialog.
But there have also been concerns brought up in the wake of this announcement around things like the merger not supporting a ‘reply by email’ function (similar to the Exploder which is currently available on the PTC/USER portal) and accessibility. In a previous post I outlined what some of the advantages of email communication was in order to bring that to the PTC/USER Board of Directors.
Your input, both positive and negative, has been taken very seriously, and was extensively discussed during a meeting last month between the PTC/USER Board and PTC management team. For two days we intensely deliberated the pros and cons and addressed the concerns that had been expressed about this merger.
In the end, we decided the community is best served overall by merging all the content to PTC Community. PTCUser.org will remain as an online presence that will facilitate membership, event registration, event planning, and management of Technical Committees and Regional User Groups.
We all believe that this decision is a necessary one for the long-term success of our communities. Right now we are dealing with being fragmented by two sites. There needs to be one source of knowledge sharing, and a one-stop-shop for networking, project promotion, and support to help aggregate and provide easy, intuitive access to the experience, energy, and expertise embodied in our community.
The increased ability to share knowledge and the power to connect to even more members are only two of the many benefits of this merger:
- Improved user experience: There is no argument against the immediacy of the Exploder; it is built to get questions and responses out fast. However, the broader user experience will be vastly improved on PTC Community. Search functions will be enhanced so that you can easily find things within the community for support, and the Technical Support team is working on setting up a federated search so that the results from the merged PTC Community also show up within the PTC eSupport portal, knowledge base, etc.
- Easy posting: Posting will still be straightforward, and email notifications will be available for every product community and discussion that you are subscribed to.
Essentially, there is no change in function from how users catalogue conversations at PTC/USER; the only difference here is an extra step to login in and reply on the site. At the same time, when the new site runs on its upgraded platform, Jive 7.0, there will be an inbox feature that allows you to track all of your conversations, very similarly to an email.
I want to emphasize how strongly we believe in creating one community that will be able to gain significant individual and collective advantage from learning, networking, and collaborating to solve problems – and celebrate successes - with each other. The PTC/USER group has a strong and proud tradition of independence, and we will maintain that independence through this merger, and work hand-in-hand with the PTC team to maintain and support the PTC community.
You will soon see a call for “early adopters” to participate in beta testing, migration validation, and the feedback of these early adopters will be crucial in terms of creating a unified user community. Ryan will also have more updates on the PTC Community software upgrade project over the next couple of days.
I’d encourage you to continue the discussion and make your feelings about the merger known. Your ideas and comments will greatly inform the decision making process as it moves forward.