Online Community Q&A with Tim Dickinson — a Khoros Core Member

Lindsey Boyd

Through the Voice of the Khoros Core Q&A series, we highlight the voice, thoughts, and experiences of our Core program members. We will learn their favorite things about working with Khoros and get a glimpse into who they are as professionals and digital customer engagement innovators.

Meet Tim Dickinson, a Khoros Core member. Tim is the Senior Manager for Community at SailPoint Technologies where he develops the strategic direction of SailPoint’s online community, Compass, that serves their customer, partner, and employee ecosystem.

What is your favorite thing about working with Khoros and how does Khoros enable you to do your job better?

Khoros Communities contains analytics that gives us a data-led picture of our online community. We don’t have to rely on anecdotes. We can now clearly see what parts of our community are the most effective, which generate the most interaction, and how useful our solutions are for our users.

How does your company create a unified digital customer experience?

Our support and ideation portal used to be separate from our online community, now they’re an integrated part of it. The other tools that our users need – online training, deal registration for partners, virtual user groups, real-world events, etc. – are all accessible from our community now too. But there’s always more to do and we have plans to make users’ access even more streamlined than it is now.

What is the most important thing you've learned over the last year in your role and how did it change the way you work?

There’s no piece of a process – no matter how simple I think it is – that doesn’t need education or documentation or at least a tool-tip. I was previously of the opinion that a properly-designed tool shouldn’t need a lot of documentation. But an online community isn’t just a tool: It’s a lot of tools and a lot of processes, and it manifests the needs of its users.

An online community isn't just a tool, it manifests the needs of its users.

In our case it’s more than just a community: It’s a portal to other tools, it helps employees and customers and partners, it serves up downloadable software, and it is a gateway for our partners. Different people learn how to navigate and use these things in different ways, too: Some will get it right away, some will play with it, some will want to watch a video, and some will want to read text. My moderator and I have designed all of these types of support. I try to get more input on new features during design phases too.

What are some of the challenges that your industry faces with digital customer engagement, and how do you solve for them?

SailPoint is a cybersecurity company specializing in identity governance: That is, who has access to an organization’s applications and data, and how is that access being used? Cybersecurity is, by its nature, cautious. Some software is still on-premise. Some users are reluctant to share details of problems and their solutions for fear of giving away details that might compromise their employer’s data.

We mitigate risks here by having parts of our online community that require sign-in and specific roles to access, and those roles are controlled by an integration to our CRM. Moderation also plays an important part here by watching out for users who might accidentally over-share. Also, our community has always been a very technical one, and we continue to work on creating and supporting content for casual and business users.

We mitigate risk by having parts of our online community that require sign-in and specific roles to access.

What was your first job and why did you decide to do the work you are doing now?

If you don’t count working on my dad’s farm, then it would have been a summer job at an engineering and architecture firm in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I studied engineering and while I was just an office boy it showed me how businesses have to hustle for jobs, how teams work together, and how speed is necessary to stay competitive.

I’ve been in customer-facing roles (support, customer success, and community) for a few decades now because I really enjoy the immediate feedback: Customers want understanding and results, and they express their happiness when they get those things (and their unhappiness when they don’t).

I’m at SailPoint because cybersecurity is a booming business and because I had a friend who was working here and told me it had an excellent culture: He was telling the truth.

What is your favorite quote or saying and why?

“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago; the second-best time is now.” Too much time is wasted bemoaning the fact that we didn’t do something earlier, or worrying that we’ve missed the boat on some initiative. Be smart, then move. Do something.

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago; the second best time is now.

What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your LinkedIn?

I took part in a photoshoot with 5,000 other people on the steps of the Sydney Opera House by artist Spencer Tunick.

What’s the best way to start the day?

For me, running. My whole body wakes up with a massive infusion of oxygen and I feel better all day for it. Recently I’ve started cycling, too.

What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to or where do you look forward to traveling to the most?

I’m from Canada. I lived in the UK for nine years, and in Australia for six, and I’ve been to many places. But my favourite trip so far was to India: Mumbai and New Delhi, but also several places in Rajasthan. I enjoyed the architecture of Udaipur and Jaipur, attended night school for kids near Tilonia, saw tigers in Ranthambore. India is about as opposite as you can get from Canada and I enjoyed how fundamentally different everything is from where I grew up.

Interested in hearing more from Khoros Core program members like Tim? Stay tuned for more Q&As featuring top business professionals and see how they’re teaming up with Khoros to push the industry forward every day! To learn more about online communities, read our ebook: How Online Communities Improve Every Stage of the Customer Journey.

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