As community managers, we are often asked about the popularity and success of EMC’s Community Network (ECN) and the value it brings to our customers and our company. Recently I was asked “What is the purpose of running a product support forum? To reduce support engineers’ workloads? To improve communication between our company and our customers? To keep pace with competitors?” Probably, the answers are all “Yes.”
So, there are several reasons but the most important thing for me is helping our product users understand something new through engaging and informative forum discussions. I want users to gain any helpful knowledge/experience that can be applied to their day-to-day jobs and improve their experience with EMC products. By leveraging the expertise of our online communities – which include both peer-to-peer customer discussions as well as technical experts from EMC product teams – our customers are able to focus on their core business and gather the help and advice they need, on-demand.
Last quarter, an Isilon engineer came to me and asked me, “What kind of Isilon questions have been coming in to the ECN lately?” I collected all the most recent discussions about Isilon in the Japanese support forum and created five quarter-based wordclouds using the most frequently used keywords. When we saw them in chronological order, we made an exciting discovery…
“The user’s questions are getting sophisticated, aren’t they?”
“Yes.. I think so, too.”
In other words, the complexity of customer questions was growing from basic Hardware concerns to more complicated Application-related topics.
This was a revelation, and we were really happy with this finding because it indicated that our community users were acquiring new knowledge out of the forum and that their product expertise was continuing to evolve and grow over time. But at the same time, we thought, “I see. This is because those who post questions are typically the same and hence they are developing a basic knowledge of Isilon.” We collected data to verify it. Below was the result:
Surprisingly, we had more and more new users posting questions in each quarter! What does it mean? Why didn’t the new questioners post a basic question which was common in a year ago? Our conclusion was “The new questioners learned from the previously posted questions.” So, the forum becomes a great place to learn/grow!
The IT industry is transforming rapidly and radically. EMC is producing lots of new concepts and products every year. And the EMC Community Network definitely helps us keep up with the trend. Please become a member of the community and let’s grow together!
IT Social Engagement