Wrapping up 2014: A challenging but fulfilling year (part 1)

Well it is that time of the year, where once again I reflect on things. I am getting this done early because quite frankly come Friday the 19th of December, 2014, I am going dark and on my Christmas holidays. Some proper family time, good cheer, overindulgence and some much needed down time and reflection is the prescription I am following.

During the drafting of this post I realised it would have to come in two parts. I dislike writing¬†overly long posts when I don’t have to. So this is part 1 ūüôā ¬†This one focuses on the Ask the Expert Program.

As I am getting used to my role in EMC IT following my departments re-org from Customer Services, I feel obliged to wrap up some numbers on how well the EMC Ask the Expert has done in 2014. These are early numbers mind you, going from the start of the year to December 10th, but as the program takes a hiatus from the 19th, the discrepancy of the final result should not be a major difference. I recently posted some stats on the program. EMC Ask the Expert: a little more insight. And I posted the 2013 results which can be seen in this post: Happy Holidays, belated Merry Christmas and a recap of 2013 and into 2014!

Its just amazing that since its inception back in 2012, the program has had phenomenal growth. Its really no longer a project, its a genuine service provided by EMC online. and its free. This is all down to the amazing community participation of EMC Community Network members. This program would have none of the success it has had without the EMC community backing it. The accolades and praise for this success is theirs. I am delighted to have facilitated it. To me I was its trustee.

So before I share the numbers, let me define the program direct from our executive summary:


And this is what our numbers look like for participation in 2014 (at least up to December 10th, 2014)


  • 145,561 page views. 16% increase on 2013
  • ~ 13,232 page views per month
  • 92,276 visits. 29% increase on 2013
  • ~ 8388 visits per month
  • 62,487 unique visitors. 34% increase on 2013
  • ~5680 unique visitors per month

And as you can see primarily anonymous users, indicating these events are being found via web search. These numbers account for 2.5% of all the EMC Community Network traffic in 2014 (up to December 10th) , which itself looks like 6,000,000 views this year. Indeed this program takes a fair chunk of the ECN traffic. It says a lot about the program.

And when we look at how long people stay in the Ask the Expert Community?

28.7% of visitors stay from 5-10 minutes, with a further 13.2% staying from 30 minutes to an hour. That means a lot of people find this community via web search and stay a good while to search the content. And they keep coming back.

It is amazing to think, that when this program started in 2012, we had 3 experts and one program manager, all from customer services. Now The stake holder list has grown rather substantially.

They now include:

  • EMC Total Customer Experience Team
  • EMC Global Services
  • EMC Product Marketing
  • EMC Technical Leadership Academy
  • EMC Elect
  • EMC Inside Sales
  • EMC Customer Services

It’s a program that has had humble beginnings, and now is a critical service online for EMC. It’s been a pleasure to lead it, work with amazing experts, community managers, customers and partners. And this has to include the Multilingual teams. The local language Ask the Expert events in Chinese contribute a lot to the metrics shown here. and events are growing in number in local languages such as Japanese, Spanish and Portuguese. Just look the global heat map to see the interaction taking place


It’s been an amazing three years building and taking the lead for this program. I have learned a lot, made superb connections I would normally not have been able to do in a traditional customer support role. I have mentioned plenty on that before. It’s not been easy either, but I learned quickly to let the community tell you whats a hot topic. They will anyway. I learned to listen, be ambitious, to continue a maniacal focus on supporting our customers and a thing or two about EMC products ūüôā And I thank all those people, in EMC and outside EMC for making this program what it is.

In ¬†2015, I will be focusing on EMC Community Network Forums, helping redefine the communities and improve the overall experience. Its a big project and I will be sharing more on that as I dive in next year. I am still heavily involved in the EMC Elect program management. Nothing has changed there in any way. I will still be consulting on the Ask the Expert program but my colleague, and my current joint program manager partner on this, ¬†Roberto Araujo¬†will be the primary contact on the program. It’s been great working with Roberto over the last ten months on the program and he has definitely been a great partner in this program and done some great hard work supporting it.

So thus concludes part 1 of this blog. I’ll be posting more tomorrow to round out my end of year roundup. Thanks for reading and listening to what is entirely my perspective. And feel free to comment. I welcome any feedback you want to provide.

Part 2 will deal with my perspective on the EMC Elect program over 2014.

EMC Ask the Expert: a little more insight


So I was rather inspired and yes informed following attending the Ask the Experts vBloggers session. The panelists were Chad Sakac, Duncan Epping, Eric Sloof, and the MC was Matt Cowger. So yeah it had some good EMC Elect representation ūüôā

They shared their best practices on blogging and the methodologies they used to ensure they blogged frequently. It was nice to hear that blogging was challenging for them and to learn what they did to ensure they remain consistent in it.

One thing that struck a chord with me was something Chad said about sharing things we do. Often we feel we are going to violate IP stuff by sharing but often the information is already in the public domain anyway. So taking that suggestion on board I decided to share something more abut a program I run at EMC called Ask the Expert. Yes I have blogged about it before and for those that know the program forgive me for defining it again for other readers who might be new to my blog.

Ask the Expert (ATE) is an online event series in which technical subject matter experts drive public dialogue and engagement with community members about specific EMC product and solution topics, though building high-value content with broad use and longevity. These simple and quick to organize events rely on timely topics, credible hosts, and a collaborative environment while adapting to your platform of preference. ATE events are hosted in multiple languages for a local or global audience.

So thats the definition. But it has dawned on me that I have been sharing the phenomenal success of this program only with my upper management and team,  not the community at large, who are actually the beneficiaries.

So who are the beneficiaries of this program? Well this is how we see it inside the business:

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 12.22.01 PM


They are the Customers, EMC and the Experts who engage.

This is a really successful program and is widely engaging EMC Customers, partners and employees.

  • From January to August of this year we have had ¬ü143,366 page views.
  • In that time period alone there have been 92,710 visits to the site. And ¬†61,820 were unique visitors to the site.
  • We are averaging 11,500 + visits per month, and 7,727 unique visitors per month.
  • Amazingly ¬ü79 % of unique visits were through a browser search.
  • 29% of those visitors interact with the site for a period of 10 -30 minutes.
  • 13% of the visitors interact with the site for a period of 30- 60 minutes.

To me these stats show how valued the content is on the EMC Community Network for this program. People love the interaction and it gets a lot of attention. It also indicates a there is a lively community that want to have those technical discussions.

So thats what i wanted to share. Let me know your thoughts on this if you have any. I ‘d appreciate any feedback you have.

Oh Yes, ¬†I suppose I should share where you’ll find the space. Its the Ask the Expert Community on the EMC Community Network. For those of you familiar with that community, you’ll se its had a makeover to make it easier to interact.

Drop by and enjoy the content there. Now back to VMWorld. Final post coming out shortly before I fly out today ūüôā

EMC Elect from my perspective within my EMC role

In the following post I attempt to show the importance of the EMC Elect Program for the EMC Support Community and EMC overall. I also intend to show how it is a global program made up of very exciting and interesting people from around the world who influence interact and assist like-minded peers in the ECN Support Community and beyond!

This is my EMC Elect Card

This is my EMC Elect card

This is my EMC Elect card

There are an exclusive few like it, but this one is mine!

But this one is mine!

But this one is mine!

If you have not heard of the EMC Elect Program, quite frankly “where have you been ?” ūüėČ Well if you honestly haven’t it was actually featured in the Register.¬† That gave us an audience of 2.5 million reading about the program.

The symbol on my card, by the way, is a representation of ¬†the Celtic Tree of Life.¬†The Tree of Life symbolizes to me the connectedness in this world of ours. My twitter handle is @DathBrun¬†which¬†is a combination of the Irish word for color and the common name in European¬†countries¬†for my surname (Browne) . ¬†The¬†motto¬†inscribed on the card is “Eolas scriosann eagla” which literally in the Irish language means Knowledge dispels fear.

I did this with my card for two reasons.

  • The first was an¬†opportunity¬†to personalize my card, and say more about myself and my own personal branding.
  • The second was to humbly lead by example for other Elect members to feel inspired to personalize¬†their¬†cards, put their own stamp on it. And that’s important.

EMC Elect is a community driven program.The Elect members are there because their community of peers nominated them. They not only represent themselves and obtain exclusive opportunity, but they are actually representing their Community. The Elect are leaders and representatives of the wider community of peers of technologists who interact with EMC. Personalizing the cards also gives an opportunity for Elect members to share things about themselves, the places they are from, their culture. This emphasizes most importantly that we are a global community and come from lots of different places around the World.

This is important to note, we are a global community. And as EMC Elect grows it will grow further into our community interactions around the World.

From the EMC Support Community perspective and as a community manager for that, I see that first hand. in the EMC Support Community we not only have a global¬†presence¬†but we have a growing local language¬†presence. We have¬†Chinese¬†and Japanese local language communities and Spanish and Portuguese are just taking off with a lot more to come in other languages very soon. Multi-Lingual Support is a key objective of the EMC eServices strategy and it stems from the interaction and demand from our local language community members. It is indeed the Community members making this happen. These people who ask questions,¬†answer¬†other people’s questions, share knowledge and¬†experience. The best example ¬†to me (and of course I have a bias as the Program Manager for it) is the EMC Ask the Expert Series.

Ask the Expert has been hosted¬†initially in English but very quickly spread to Chinese¬†and in doing so it lifted the lid on interaction. It showed across different geographies our community members wanted this program. Now Ask the Expert (ATE) will be hosted in every MLS community that is launched. That means ATE will happen in Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese and more in the not too distant future. And even today we are working to cross translate ATE events, translating from English to Chinese and vice versa. Imagine the global impact of Knowledge shared in multilingual ATE’s being shared and translated for global community members. It’s amazing and excites me anyway.

And whats interesting too is that already EMC Elect members are taking advantage of ATE. Our first exclusively EMC Elect led ATE event will be happening just before EMC World at the end of April. It will be on Fibre Channel Routing, an awesome topic. I imagine there will be a lot of interest in that across the World. Oh yes and did I mention those EMC Elect experts will wrap the topic at EMC World on video.? That’s exciting.

But really all I want to say is that if you are an EMC Support Community member, then ATE and EMC Elect are your programs, driven by and for you. I enjoy being able to provide and support the infrastructure behind that as part of global team in eServices for EMC. And I never forget that it is made of real individuals from lots of different places with different languages and cultures. That’s what’s exciting and that is a huge part of the brand differentiation EMC has with the benefit of the EMC Support Community.

Finally something  to note is that currently we have 75 Elect members. in 2014 we will be looking for other nominees and there are plenty of deserving nominees in the Support Community around the world. Will you be one of them?

Double whammy: How EMC Elect do it their own way and a new improved ECN!

Okay, so those of you who know me know I am running the EMC Ask the Expert program. Essentially its a series of events on specific technical topics.¬†During EMC Ask the Expert events, subject matter experts engage in discussions with community members about specific EMC product and solution topics in a Forum type discussion in most cases. Although we do these events also as webinars, live chats for launches and “tweet chats “which are rather popular. It’s proven to be a popular and effective program in engaging customers with specific hot topics.

The Experts that engage are top-notch great people, who are EMC’ers¬†, customers and partners. That’s what makes it a brand¬†differentiation¬†for EMC in my view. It’s not just EMC support people controlling the¬†narrative. We¬†recognize¬†and appreciate our customers and partner perspectives. By pairing them, we have a powerful and credible story and event in EMC Ask the Expert¬†endeavors. This is is an amazing program.

But ¬†late last week it got so much better ūüôā ¬†As the VMAX Cloud edition launch Ask the Expert event was underway, Matthew Yeager, an SME on the subject (and an EMC Elect member and a Founder) does something different to what has been done before, but not out of¬†character¬†in the way he does things. In reply to a question he composed and posted this amazing video.

It was awesome, it was very well done and it just kicked the door open and set the bar for Ask the Expert events in the future.

For the first time we have video content in addition to discussions and documents that answers questions and solves problems that was directed to the EMC Support Community. A clear benefit from the EMC Elect Program which hopefully inspires other experts to follow suit.

And to back that awesomeness up EMC did an upgrade over the weekend to the EMC Community Network. Thus making it even more amazing fun and collaborative place to be.  Jump in and have a look and see what makes it a vibrant and awesome place to interact socially for your EMC topics and requirements.

Reflecting on an amazing year: 2012 in review.

Wow, It’s hard to believe that 2012¬†AD is coming to a close. What a year it has been for me. Personally and professionally it’s been a roller coaster. But it’s been a hell of a ride!

Looking back over my last  12 months professionally, well, the biggest thing I guess would be kicking off Ask the Expert.

That all started with this post: Wrapping-up-2011, into-2012-on the EMC Support Community
Since that post, we’ve hosted, 30 Ask the Expert events. And it was a mix of forum discussions, webinars, live events, and tweet chats. We even wrapped an event during EMC World in a luxurious suite in the Venetian in Vegas. It’s been a lot of fun. We had numerous experts, too numerous to mention here, but I am thankful to each and everyone of them. They and the Support Community members, made Ask the Expert the amazing program it has been and will continue to be.

Keep an eye on it in 2013. We are expanding the program to incorporate Ask the Expert events for new products and services. We will also continue to have events around existing products. But we will be going further by hosting more events on a wider range of products and hot topics. We will be engaging more experts, from EMC, Partners and Customers who know our products so well. It will continue to be your hot centre for EMC Support hot topics on existing and newly launched products and services. And we are always open to new experts and new topics. Its a community driven program so don’t be shy in suggesting topics and experts.

EMC World 2012 was a big highlight of the year. Our Buzz Talk was a great highlight as was the Support Community party. Getting to recognise some of the participating experts and to thank some of the legendary stalwart ECN Support Community members was very fulfilling. To meet community members in person is always great and rewarding. It was a hugely successful conference for my organisation, eServices, as we also launched the new EMC Online Support Site. It really brought home to me the level of collaboration we’ve had with customers, partners and EMC employees in a vibrant community. Did you know our ECN Support Community¬†accounts for over 50% of the entire traffic of the EMC Community Network. with 250,000 + members of ECN it’s obviously a large Support Community. It’s extremely collaborative friendly and full of great knowledgeable helpful professionals.

And the year ends for me now as it began, with a big project getting underway.
With EMC Ask the Expert established and growing we are also focusing on EMC Elect.¬† As I posted recently EMC Elect is Community recognition with exclusive opportunity. Its a fantastic program recognising EMC advocates within the ECN community and out in the social sphere. Unintentionally it also has a great benefit of bringing externally socially engaged advocates together with internal EMC Support Community advocates. Something that might not have occured were it not for this project. the nomination phase has ended and Matt Brender, myself and the amazing EMC Elect Founders are now engaged in the selection process. It’s nerve wracking and exciting. Some truly amazing people have been nominated. It will be difficult deciding. But I look forward to January 15th 2013, when the 2012 EMC ¬†Elect group will be announced. And then the fun starts.

2013 is lining up to be a very amazing and challenging year. But I am looking forward to it. It’s an opportunity I am ready and raring to take. Thanks to all those who follow my blog / ramblings. It’s been a challenge to write for all the right reasons, being really busy doing something I truly love.

So have a safe holiday , however you celebrate, and to you and yours¬† Go raibh maith agaibh agus Nollaig Shona Diobh! (Gaelic for “Thank you all¬†and have a¬†happy Christmas!” )