From the archives of James Lynch September 2, 2010
The year was 2006. A company named Spiceworks held up its creation to the public. This was an answer to many IT administrators’ dreams. The company designed and created a free network-monitoring tool. Did I mention this tool is free?
This company not only created a valuable software package for small to medium size businesses, moreover, they instituted an online community structure for support.
Even though the ever-increasing capabilities of this network management software could be expounded upon, the scope of this article provides information about the Spiceworks online community.
The majority of the users in the “Spiceworks Community” share a common background of knowledge and application in the information technology field. These bright administrators range from novice to experts. Why is such an online community helpful? Contrary to popular beliefs, your local IT person does not know everything. (Coffee cups have just dropped around the world.)
Here is where the beauty of this online community comes in. The beginners can learn from the seasoned users of the network monitoring software. If you add the years of experience for the IT professionals in the Spiceworks Community, the years would number into the millions. How can this be? Here is the answer. The noteworthy achievement of having 1 million professionals to use the software was accomplished in the second quarter of the year 2010. Large quantities of these users have over a decade of experience; hence, you can do the math.
The Spiceworks Community is not limited to giving advice just for its product. This online community is subdivided into groups the user can join. These groups help you to narrow down subjects that are of high concern to you and your job. You are able to subscribe, create discussions, and receive e-mail notifications when someone posts in the groups.
Notice just a few of the interesting subjects mentioned in the forums:
Do you have questions about Windows 7? Then the “Windows 7” group would be the one for you.
Do you need research and ratings on hardware, software, or other information technology services? Then you will want to search through the “Ratings and Reviews” section of the community.
Hey, as an IT guru, do you just want to share how you have solved the complexities of the universe? The “Water Cooler” group would be the one for you. This group’s topics alone continue to grow exponentially. Good thing the universe is infinite!
This online community has implemented other avenues for the IT professionals to meet in one or two ways.
First, there are the “SpiceWorld” events they have each year. All in this online community are encouraged to attend. An article could be written alone about this event. The workshops, breakout sessions, and vision of the company are shared in a spirit of comradely. Such a setting is conducive to learning.
Secondly, there are localized area groups called “SpiceCorps.” They discuss general issues related to information technology in a relaxed atmosphere. Do not be surprised if “Water Cooler” subjects are also discussed at these meetings.
This online community has evolved in such a way that it is not viewed as a byproduct of the Spiceworks network management software, but an intricate part of a valuable service.
In closing, the Spiceworks online community is designed to help anyone to become knowledgeable and efficient in their jobs.