With centres and partners all over the world, International Baccalaureate - the non-profit educational foundation on a mission to create a better world through education - needs to be able to bring everyone together regardless of their location. Global organisations like International Baccalaureate are increasingly turning to online communities to overcome geographical barriers. We talked to Marjorie Lope, Global Head of the International Baccalaureate Educators Network, to find out how communities are helping to drive greater collaboration between the International Baccalaureate, the schools it serves, and its educators in all parts of the world.

How important is collaboration at International Baccalaureate?

We have multiple global centres on multiple continents, and work with schools and educators all over the world. If we’re not aligned as one entity, our message and core values can become diluted. We want our schools to teach their students that communication is the first step towards progress, so we need to ensure we practice what we preach.

How did you engage with key stakeholders?

Our previous solution was functional but primitive: we could capture contact details and documentation but had no way of logging customer interactions or mining our data on an enterprise scale. It meant communication was fragmented and one-dimensional.

Why did you decide to take an online community-based approach? 

To maintain our high standards, we need to ensure our programmes are delivered consistently by every school in every geography. We have a lengthy authorisation process as well as a peer-to-peer teaching model, which both require extensive collaboration. We wanted a more effective approach for connecting educators to each other, as well as to us.

Tell us about your communities

We’ve created two communities using Community Cloud. First, there’s IBEN (International Baccalaureate Education Network), where 5,000 educators can log in and apply for roles, events, and training. Then there’s MySchool, which helps us to collaborate with more than 14,000 schools both during and after the authorisation process. 

What insights have you gained from these communities?

With IBEN, we have greater visibility of the educator journey. We can see who has received training, who has attended events, and which roles they’ve applied for. MySchool allows users to submit materials, track their progress and update their school action plan; it’s their main hub of activity. 

How will the communities improve the education experience? 

We want to create an online community where educators can collaborate with each other and share ideas. Members of our team are already building stronger relationships with schools around the world, which will lead to a better experience for students around the world. 

What's next on the agenda? 

With a single enterprise-wide customer view, we’re collecting valuable data every day. We want to start tracking what issues prospective schools encounter when trying to meet our requirements. This will enable us to provide the right support at the right time. With greater understanding, we’ll be able to overcome challenges and unlock new opportunities.

What advice would you give to someone starting on their community journey?

Always keep the strategy focused and aligned, embracing the core of what the journey is about – the community. For us that was how to best bring those we serve closer to us to hear their voice and take action to serve them in the best way possible.

Many thanks to Marjorie for those insightful answers - many of which can apply to any company looking to create deeper connections with their customers through online communities. To read more about International Baccalaureate's story with Salesforce, visit the Salesforce.org website.