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The Communities Market

We consider our target market to be communities, the people and groups in them and all of their related activity. We have studied the complex ecosystem of communities and modeled the different entities and processes that are common in them. During our five years studying them, we feel communities are way behind when it come to leveraging the benefits of being online and mobile technologies. This is typically for several reasons such as they are not ready to devote the time needed, technology is too hard for them, don’t have the money, etc. Facebook has proven there are those things that are important to a lot of people that they are willing to learn and get online to exchange personal information. Facebook found that niche that proved to be the tipping point for a lot of people. However, Facebook has failed to see the next step in what can be accomplished online, and that next step is with communities and beyond social networking.   

Community People

Almost all people are involved in their community in one way or another. The average person spends a majority of his/her non-working time with something in the community, whether something social, civic, volunteer, spiritual, sports and the like. Most everyone has their passions and sense of need that motivates them to be involved in the things they want and be part of the many types of groups in their communities. Most people want to do the following in their community: socialize, interact and participate as groups, be heard, be informed, and help and volunteer those in need in their community. For the TEAP Planner, we see some primary needs for Community People:

Collaboration with others – “It takes a village to raise a child.” People, leaders and groups all need to interconnect and plan things together. Many times the burdens fall on few individuals and many times it is because there is no easy way to share the work and collaborate.
Coordination with others – There are so many things going on, so many things that need to be planned and organized and many assets like a banquet hall that people are trying to reserve and include in their plans. Coordination is a challenge in communities because people typically must have direct communication and have many dependencies with other people and groups.
Make decisions as a group – Have private interactions and communications via tools like discussion thread that can be recorded for when people have time to catch up and respond. Also initiate surveys, vote and solicit feedback along with other tools to get true group viewpoints.

Community Businesses

Community Businesses are typically smaller and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) selling to the people in and around the community. They are part of the community, kids going to same schools and playing on same sports teams, part of a church together, etc. They want to support their community and hope their community supports them. Their sales are more locally oriented which in the past meant not a lot of internet needs or value attained. They are community focused businesses that are trying to grow or have grown but usually maintain loyalty to the surrounding community. The Cincinnati area has more than 370 Fortune 500 firms located here and 10 have their headquarters here.

Community Businesses on the other hand, are usually new to technology and have some they acquired over the years to fit particular needs. They don’t have technical resources like developers, engineers, analysts and project managers, and skills like technology strategy and planning, enterprise architecture, software engineering and portfolio management are typically beyond their existing resources. Can’t afford full project teams nor do they need them. They don’t have requirements because they don’t know what they are asking for. Their sales are more locally oriented which in the past meant not a lot of internet needs or value attained.

Community Businesses are the companies that have technology needs and can’t afford IT staff or resources and are part of the community. They also cannot afford highly paid consultants and customized software or risk failed projects. They make up the majority of the companies out there. In the Tristate area (Cincinnati) alone there are over 30,000 SMBs

Community Groups and Organizations

Community Groups and Organizations are entities in the community that are typically loosely held together via relationships and membership of people in the community. Often, people donate their time and money for a particular reason. People are almost always part of more than one group, dividing their time as available and deemed necessary. For websites, they are not going to spend all their time in just one group and they do not want the hassle of maintaining, learning and using several websites for their groups with which they are involved. They need something that is focused on what they do and need to get done that is simple and helps instead of hindering and complicating like most sites today. They will usually need to have a private area for members to communicate, collaborate and coordinate and a public area for them to publish to.

A successful website would make the technology transparent, simple and easy to get started and to set up. Able to easily self-manage, add content and delegate and empower others. They will be times they need something more and need to have the answers and help as needed and readily available.