Spiceworks and the world's largest network of IT professionals

For some companies, building a brand costs millions of dollars in huge ad campaigns and years of seed planting, good will, and market cultivation. But Spiceworks' Community changes everything.
Written by Ken Hess, Contributor

Spiceworks has found the "secret sauce" in brand building and everyone wants to know how its founders and employees have done it. The answer is simple but will surprise you. Spiceworks changed the focus from itself, or from the corporate entity, to the individual. It has built the largest and most active community of IT professionals in the world, which currently stands at 4 million strong—and growing. The funny part is that the concept is so simple that it's quite difficult to put a definitive moniker on it.

Back in the "olden days" of the early 1900s, there was a slogan that stated that "The customer is always right" that seems to have been left in the last century. Spiceworks has changed that paradigm into something like, "The customer has a voice and we should listen".

Guess what? It works.

That old saying means that customer complaints are valid and have value for businesses. If the customer finds something wrong, let's listen, satisfy the customer, and build our customer base by making everyone happy—one customer at a time.

That kind of customer care builds brand loyalty.

I've told people that for years. When I ran my own business, I lived by it. I didn't say that a job was finished until my customer was happy. People are willing to pay for that. They're willing to have me come back and make them happy again when thinks break. I built a very successful business by spoiling my customers. I found a formula that worked.

IT professionals perform very strange functions for companies. Businesses that aren't in the IT business hire IT pros to keep their technology running, to keep their non-IT employees productive, and to keep their customers purchasing. As IT professionals, we're seen as people who feel a lot of intrinsic satisfaction in what we do. We're often the unsung heroes of businesses. And we're considered to be overhead. In other words, our services remove company profits.

However, when summoned, we swoop in, save the day, and then return to our corners, to our basements, and to our screens. Keyboards full of cookie crumbs and dried splashes of Diet Dr. Pepper, we toil endlessly to the satisfaction of all who we survey. We do it often without a "Thank you" or any recognition.

The truth is that our jobs are stressful, ill respected, and seen as necessary evil. We generally carry no voice and no representation in the great corporate machine, although the CIO or CTO position was supposed to change that.

Before you think that I'm just waxing philosophic here, examine your own situation and tell me that it's not true. 

One answer comes from the Spiceworks community. More than simply an open forum for all kinds of Q&A sessions or collections of discussion groups, the Spiceworks community is focused on problem resolution, community-involved product improvement, beta test participation, and even business development.

Communities are made up of individuals. Those individuals are customers, consumers, end users, and voices. They're also people with budgets and buying power—buying power that amounts to more than $500 billion in annual IT spending. Spiceworks realizes the power of community and the power of giving a voice to its members.

Spiceworks continues to improve and extend its community by adding new services, such as the two new ones announced at SpiceWorld 2013: Member Profiles and a Community Job Board.

Member profiles allow community members to create an enhanced view of their work, thereby producing a living resume that prospective employers can view to get a more three-dimensional picture of a candidate and his or her abilities. You can enhance your profile with video, audio, photos, links, and text.

Currently, only SpiceWorld 2013 attendees can create profiles but soon all community members will have the opportunity to do so.

I suggest two things: Download and install the Spiceworks application and join the Spicework community. Discover the revolution. And while you're looking around, hit Spiceworks' own job board to see if there's a position waiting for you.

Have you joined the Spiceworks Community? Talk back and tell us what you think.

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