The cat’s out the bag. As John Stokdyk reports, the ICAEW has launched the first of what will be many communities for Chartered Accountants. I’ve been gagging to talk about this for…well…months as it is a project on which I have been working with the main consultants and the content team.
Once fully rolled out, the ICAEW communities will reach all 132,000 members and as such will be the largest deployment of its type anywhere in the world. As far as I know. I’m choosing my words carefully here because while there are some large communities out there, this is the first of its kind of which I am aware.
The one I’m most heavily involved with is IT Counts, which as the title suggests, is aimed at IT Faculty members and interested parties. I’m contributing to the content and ICAEW have given me pretty much free rein to say what I wish. Anyone who has read my past critiques of ICAEW will know this represents a huge step forward (and risk!) for which the entire team should be warmly congratulated.
As background, IT Counts is built on WordFrame, an evolution of what was Blogtronix, a platform I have used in the past. The design has been enhanced for ICAEW requirements and, as John so eloquently states:
The parallels with our own IT Zone are hard to miss, but to give the institute its due, IT Counts is adorned with all the latest Web 2.0 accessories – wikis, RSS feeds and blogs from Hurst and other figures including Microsoft UK finance director Steve Dunn.
Does this represent ‘competition’ for more traditional forms of media? The short answer is no because ICAEW is particularly focused on delivering information of value to professionals of all kinds – not just those in practice, which is where I perceive most of AccountingWeb’s readers are drawn. However, it is perhaps an indication of where media is going that Microsoft is a leading stakeholder.
Where I think IT Counts differentiates itself is in the fact that once registered onto the site, users can create their own content rather than being restricted to commenting as is the case at AccountingWeb. The site has moderation controls and there is a simple editing workflow in place so that in the early days at least, the content team can ensure the quality of content is going in the direction they wish. Some might baulk at the prospect but I think it is a very good idea. Quality matters and ICAEW made it clear they want to be not just perceived but seen to be thought leaders through the content that is produced.
The site is very new and content creation is being ramped as quickly as possible. Similarly, since the site works in a different way to that with which professionals are used, a number of helper articles are being created as guides to what content producers need do and how readers can get the best out of the site.
I would encourage anyone interested in the concept of professional communities to take a look. If IT Counts encourages professionals to think about their IT knowledge and how that might be enhanced, then it’s a good start. As John graciously says:
IT Counts is an attractive and laudable attempt to broaden the ICAEW membership’s technology expertise
Once again, congratulations to all the team. I’m delighted to have played some small part in getting this project off the ground.