Social Communities are good business

Social Communities are growing at a fantastic rate around the World and are becoming part of most businesses DNA. For EMC this is clearly a strategic direction and one I have witnessed blossom before my very eyes. 

One day I might post about something other than Communities. But as I live and breathe Community at present and it’s my current predominant passion, (adding a caveat that my family is my overriding passion in all) I can write about little else at present.
 That said it won’t always be that way :).

Anyway, Communities! Well, they are good business models. I can hardly claim that that as a revelation. I won’t 🙂 . Here in 2012 we can see John Moore’s prediction from his blog post in 2010 were prescient. Social Support Communities: a path to real success with your social business strategy

EMC’s Social Support Communities are a big piece of its eServices business, and of late it’s gotten a lot of focus. When you have a VP and Senior VP in your business unit pushing Social and Community you know its sound business. And when you hear that the highest executives in EMC see this as a vital play you know you’re striking gold.

But don’t take my word for it. Listen to our VP, Julie Larsen talk about the entire eServices strategy on a recent guest spot on Silicon Angle’s TV, The Cube. Julie’s  focus on providing best in class self services for EMC Customers is driven by meeting customer demand for these services.It’s a great interview from the perspective of the challenges and the strategies EMC is taking in in online social collaboration.

This is echoed again in an interview with our Senior VP Tony Kolish and VP Julie Larsen once more, at EMC World on EMC TV.  They talk about the transformation of Customer Services for EMC, and again Social Community Support is called out.

From my perspective its crucial to have executive buy in and we obviously have it at EMC.

With that piece secured, and our Community growing and collaborating at an exponential rate, its important to not rest on your laurels and prevent stagnation. It’s important we value our Community members and the recent RAMP project rolled out to the EMC Community Network has been a huge step in the right direction.
That does not stop there either. One aspect that is a big piece (and something I am ferociously passionate about) is Reward and Recognition for the Community members.
It’s important to recognise those who are dedicated to helping their fellow community peers. Not only to thank them for their previous efforts, but also to facilitate them in helping us to make the Communities more amenable to the rest of the membership. And also to reward their past efforts by inclusion in EMC developments like Beta’s and early road-maps etc. I am working closely with EMC’s Matt Brender on this from the Support Community perspective, as Matt is leading this for the entire EMC Community Network. We are both pumped and excited to be highlighting our Contributing Community members.We want to reward our community members, but we want to reward them with something that is relevant to them and will help enrich their Community experience.

In the mean time things for EMC eServices are moving ahead with great endeavors.  There has been the launch of the new EMC Online Support Experience, the new  EMC Chinese Support Community,  and the continuing success of the Ask The Expert initiative. Well, we also just launched the @EMCAskTheExpert twitter account last Monday.  We are really looking forward to leveraging this to promote events on the Ask the Expert Forum.
But beyond that we want to hold Ask the Expert Tweet chats and the like too. We also want this to be another channel to hear our customers, partners & prospects. We will be soliciting topics and Experts but most of all we will be listening to what people want. I am honoured to be a part of this and it is amazing to see  just how much the EMC eServices Support Community and division have grown.

Indeed it’s Community all the way. It’s going great guns and it is made possible by the dedication of real EMC Customers, Partners and employees. Fun times!

EMC World 2012 in Review: ECN Support Community Perspective

Its been almost two weeks since I have returned from EMC World and I am still trying to catch up with myself.

EMC World this year was amazing. I was very busy, I met lots of new people,Customers, Partners & EMC’ers alike. EMC announced 42 new products and IT transformation was a big theme this year. 13,000 plus people attended and it was a huge event. And as I said before, what mattered to me was the people. And it was true.
Sean Thulin does a great job describing EMC World this year in this blog post  and I recommend this post for a taste of what it was. His pictures are darn good. And I have borrowed some for this post.

Getting into it, we broke new ground in that we had experts who participated in the EMC Ask The Expert present at EMC World. This gave us a unique window for members of our Support Community who were not in attendance. They got a Support perspective from the experts regarding sessions and Labs they attended. And they shared this on our Community space for Ask the Expert!

It was also great to hang out with them in person 🙂

ECN Support Community Experts @ EMC World

We even got two of our experts to wrap an ask the expert event on video at EMC World.
You can catch that video at the end of this discussion thread.

The Support Communities are primarily about the the people who participate in them. In reality its their Community, the members are the primary stakeholders.  Engaging, helping other people, passionately advocating for their community and the members is what these people are all about.  It was great to be able to celebrate that this year in the V Bar, in Las Vegas,with attending Community members. The Party was in their honor for their contributions engagement and dedicated support over the years.

EMC eServices Team members with Senior VP Tony Kolish and VP Julie

Our booth was busy during EMC World too, and our Ask the Experts contributors dropped by to talk to people about RAMP, Support Communities and of course Ask the Expert! It was great collaborating with the ECN Team and promoting RAMP as well as the forums.

As you’ll notice in the photos (thanks to @henriwithani) we had a trick shot performer in our booth who was highly entertaining 🙂


And I particularly liked that experts were engaging with customers on Support issues. In fact this candid shot I captured of @mjbrender & @henriwithani collaborating on an issue a customer asked them about just sums up why I love the Support Community. Problem solving and collaborating is awesome and fun!

But by far the best example of what the people of the ECN Support Community do for their members, and their Community was shared in our BUZZ Talk at EMC World when people got to “Meet the Legends” of our Community.

Video streaming by Ustream
Indeed, EMC World 2012 was an amazing, productive tiring and memorable experience. We did and learned an awful lot. And this will help us to provide a better experience for our Community going forward to EMC World 2013, which will again be in Las Vegas 🙂

Oh and last but by no means least props to @stephmcbride@emerhoff for all the hard work they did on getting the V Bar event together as well as all the other supportive work they did for the booth and eServices. Thank you both so much.

Continuous improvement in Customer Support

It’s been a hectic month of August for me, which bucks against the trend of what should be a quiet time. But in these times we live in and with the frenetic pace of the 21st century, if you’re involved with Customer Support, you’re always busy. A good compliant 🙂

A colleague of mine Alan Walsh  talked about the challenges he and his team mates face in meeting the challenges of Customer Support in the face of rapid IT Transformation :
” It is our role as service account professionals to make sure that we provide real-time information (now in an even more convenient manner) that allows our customers to run their businesses successfully – regardless of where they are geographically, and irrespective of the tool we use to communicate.” See the whole post here:

Well Alan will be glad to know that the EMC eServices organization strive to do just that. And we are continually working to improve the Customer Support experience. We are working on opening up the Support Forums Communities. (we’re nearing completion of this).

We’re not resting on our laurels either. There is much to be done to improve the Support Forums experience and who better to consult on this than our own Community (Customers and Partners). Right now we have a survey on improving the user experience.
Find out more here: .
If you want to participate, get in quickly. The survey closes on August 30th at midnight (PDT). Which is some ungodly hour of a Monday  morning (GMT) :).
 As mentioned before we are going to provide Multi-Lingual Support Forums. We are very near to Asian Language ones to start with, which is cool.

And to Alan’s point about which tools we use to communicate?
Well we have a Twitter account @EMCsupport which listens out for customers / potential customers requiring Customer Service / Technical Support. Just recently we have started sharing topics on Support Forums. These are discussions that are answered and trending as popular in the Support Forums.
Follow us on twitter and know this is yet  another Support Channel for you which listens and shares.

Well as I said, hectic times. More on the ever improving Support Forums… when I get a minute 🙂