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The Challenge

Cisco needed new stabilized platforms for their two flagship communities in order to support their goal of driving engagement and increasing the user base for each.

The Cisco Support Community is a thriving community of over 500,000 users—one of the largest and most active enterprise communities on the web. However, this wasn’t always so. In late 2009, the community— then at approximately 200,000 users—was proving too large for the underlying community platform. The system had been customized over an eight-year period by a variety of teams; the code base was impossible to maintain, it was crashing frequently, and page load times had become excruciatingly slow. Community-driven technical support is mission critical at Cisco—if this system were to go down, inbound calls would inundate call centers, customers would become very frustrated, and costs would skyrocket.

In parallel, The Cisco Learning Network had a vision to increase the number of certified individuals to 3 million within a 5-year timeframe, but the social platform they were using was not robust enough to accelerate engagement of new potential certification users. It had accumulated hundreds of custom features, which collectively were causing poor performance and system instability. There was no way that the learning team at Cisco could meet their goals without taking action.

The Solution

While the challenges facing these two platforms were different, SolutionSet recommended that Cisco standardize on Jive Software and establish a common platform for enterprise community and collaboration.

The first stage of enhancing Cisco Support Community's platform included implementing Jive, migrating all content from the legacy platform, integrating with Cisco's enterprise SSO, and developing a new visual identity. During the second stage, we built a custom user reputation system including leader board widgets, average post and user ratings, and event-based points awarding. Other social features were added to drive engagement such as custom badging, social sharing, web services for mobile, and a module that could embed social content on external sites.

To drive Cisco Learning Network's customer engagement and community adoption, SolutionSet first set out to stabilize the platform by upgrading to Jive Clearspace 2.5. This included migrating existing customizations over from the previous system, creating a new visual design, and integrating with Cisco's enterprise SSO. We established a platform that made it easy to build in new features and integration points and have since upgraded it to the latest solution: Jive SBS 4.5.x. SolutionSet also devised a system that empowered the staff of 25+ Cisco community managers to create landing page content on the site without ever touching HTML, therefore reducing the content publishing cycle from weeks to hours.

The Result

Since 2008, SolutionSet has been a partner to Cisco by providing maintenance and support on these two sites, having performed over sixty releases for the sites to date. Our creative team is certified by the Cisco Brand Authority, which speaks to the strength of our partnership and our understanding of the unique qualities of each community.

In the past two years, the Cisco Support Community has grown from 200,000 to over 500,000 users. Cisco saves millions of dollars each year in technical support costs now because the Cisco Support Community site solves issues that were traditionally serviced by support representatives. The Cisco Learning Network has amassed more than 2 million users and is well on its way to reaching the 3 million user goal in 2012.

Visit Cisco Support Community Website
Visit Cisco Learning Network Website