Dell has been operating IT community AppDeploy since it acquired the platform’s owner Kace Networks in 2010. The site itself has been operating for 13 years, and receives around 450,000 monthly visitors per month says Dell. And Dell hadn’t invested much into the site. Today, the company is completely revamping AppDeploy and relaunching the community as ITNinja, a more social, Q&A-focused product-agnostic resource for front line IT administrators.
AppDeploy.com, which was the brainchild of Bob Kelly, was previously a forum-focused community knowledge base that was updated by IT professionals around how to deploy and automate software applications. While the community will continue to revolve around the sharing of information and answers around critical IT decisions and support, the new site ITNinja is focuses more on engagement, reputation and social interactions.
Despite the fact that visitors to AppDeploy aren’t growing, Dell says that an online survey of IT professionals sponsored by KACE in February 2012 revealed 80 percent of IT professionals engage in online communities with 70 percent of them visiting several times a week. And 95 percent of front-line professionals say they save time and do their job more efficiently by using these same online communities.
ITNinja focuses on software topics such as application deployment techniques, configuration settings, and management solutions. Users will be able to leverage the community to find answers and best practices on a range of these complex issues.
The new platform features a Q&A system (as opposed to a forum-like interface), rich content pages, personalized activity feeds, and a reputation management system to encourage use. Dell has also added a tagging system to support better navigation between topics.
In particular, the activity feed highlights users’ contributions and provides a customized view of all software, topics, contributors and blogs that they follow to keep them up-to-date on the content they care about most. The reputation management system uses gamification elements to reward users with points and prizes for their contributions (past and present). Points determine one’s “belt” level which is attached to their identity on the site.
Dell KACE customers will also be able to access the same information directly through the interface of their KACE Systems Management Appliance Console offering users a quick reference for common system administration tasks.