A key decision when developing an enterprise level social network or online community is which platform to use. In this post, we look at how BuddyPress has emerged as the perfect enterprise level solution.

What is BuddyPress?

BuddyPress is a plugin for the WordPress CMS. It delivers a suite of community-based functionality out of the box. This includes member profiles, activity streams, user groups, messaging, and more. It’s a fantastic foundation for any online community. Because of its seamless integration with WordPress developers are able to access a huge library of plugins to extend functionality further.

BuddyPress as an enterprise solution

In order for a piece of software to be considered enterprise ready, it must pass a range of criteria:

1: Security

A business is only as secure as its weakest point. Thankfully, BuddyPress has been created with security in mind. A BuddyPress enterprise-level social network can go further. This is achieved in three key ways:

  • Security sweep: When building an enterprise level social networking community, conducting a full sweep of the core software, including changing default passwords and database names will ensure common attacks and exploits are blocked.
  • Plugins: Securi & other providers offer excellent enterprise-level, proactive security upgrades to BuddyPress.
  • Security monitoring: The final prong of an enterprise security solution is an external monitoring service. This detects and repels all significant attacks.

When supported by industry standard security practices, including secure hosting and SSL certificates, these three processes ensure BuddyPress is capable of offering enterprise-level security.

2: Control of your data

Your data is everything. It’s what powers your community and adds value to your core business. Ensuring you have full control over your data protects IP and ensures your business can react to the ever-changing business landscape. The only way this can be truly achieved is by ensuring you have full and unfettered ownership and access to your data.

As a hosted solution, a BuddyPress enterprise community offers this access. You own and control everything. Not only can you control what data is collected from your members, you can also make that data readily available across all other business operations. This works both ways, meaning you can pull existing data from your business and insert it into your community, while also using the data your community generates within your business.

3: Stability and Scalability

BuddyPress is owned by Automattic, the company that owns WordPress. As a result, there is continued work that ensures it will continue to support you as your community increases in popularity and scope. This foundation can be built upon with the sort of planning that any enterprise solution should expect. This planning essentially breaks down into two areas

  • Structure. As with any enterprise solution, a BuddyPress social networking community should be planned for today and tomorrow. By analysing current business requirements and taking into account forecasted considerations, you can ensure your community will be set up to grow in line with your business.
  • Hosting. A BuddyPress community is self-hosted. Don’t be scared off. The advantages are numerous and managed solutions are affordable. On top of this, modern hosting options like Amzon’s AWS service mean you can scale in your own time while only paying for what you use. Ultimately, this means a cost-effective, scalable solution that grows and adapts to your needs.

4: Evolve and adapt

Here’s where BuddyPress really shines. Being an extension of WordPress, BuddyPress is capable of supporting an enormous range of WordPress plugins. These plugins are capable of expanding the features and functionality of your custom community. In the right hands, these, in turn, can be further refined to fit your exact requirements. Not only that, BuddyPress gives you access to a huge base of developers and agencies who can develop solutions based on your specific needs.

If that wasn’t enough, the BuddyPress software is constantly updated and refined. This ensures you have access to the latest interfaces, tools and features. These upgrades can be effortlessly added to your online community via WordPress’ excellent updates system.

What does this all mean? Your community can grow, evolve and adapt to you and your community members’ needs. Creating your own online community means you get a social network perfect for you.

Conclusion and thoughts

Ultimately BuddyPress offers the savvy brand owner, media strategist and customer relations manager the perfect foundation to build their online community. It is cost-effective, adaptable, secure, scalable and can evolve to your exact needs and requirements.

And while this may all seem like a lot to consider, it need not be. As BuddyPress has matured so have the agencies, like Zipline, that uses and supports the software. This ensures the technical details can be managed by development partners while you work with them to plan and grow your community in your vision.

This is the first post in a series of articles about BuddyPress as an enterprise level social networking community solution. We’ve got a lot to cover, including features, usability, member engagement, responsive design, iOS and Android apps and more! If you want to stay up to date, follow us on Twitter, or sign up for the email newsletter.