Hitachi Data Systems Community: A place for answers and help – 2014 Forrester Groundswell Entry

Kari-Lynn O'Neil | February 28, 2014

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), part of Global 500 parent company Hitachi Ltd. In Tokyo, Japan, provides information technologies, services and solutions to IT buyers in all major industries in more than 150 countries. HDS’ go-to-market strategy includes a direct sales channel that supports customers globally and an expansive partner network that includes consulting partners, technology partners, and independent software vendors. HDS faces some key challenges. One challenge is their buyers’ behavior and expectations are rapidly changing. Over the past several years, HDS’ buyers are increasingly turning to social media to research and evaluate technology products and address their support needs. They expect to be able to ask technical questions and quickly receive accurate answers, and their purchase decisions and loyalty are impacted by the experience they have dealing with their technology vendors. Another challenge is making HDS experts and thought leaders from around the world more accessible and responsive to customers and partners – to keep customers and partners up to date on HDS’ latest offerings, help them get the most out of HDS’ products, and deepen relationships with them. A third challenge is servicing HDS’ “global accounts.” These high-value customers have a variety of HDS products installed across multiple countries, requiring HDS to organize myriad specialists to service and support these massive customers’ unique needs. To help address these challenges, HDS launched HDS Community in June 2013. HDS Community is an online community whose vision was simply stated asto be the place for answers and help for prospects, customers and partners. The objectives for HDS Community included:

  • Increasing awareness and confidence in HDS products and services
  • Improving customer experience and satisfaction (pre-sales and current customer)
  • Reducing support case volume by enabling customers to get support from peers
  • Increasing intimacy and loyalty among global accounts
  • Increasing intimacy, mindshare and affinity among partners

HDS Community helps accomplish business goals in several ways, making it a truly transformational program for HDS’ business:

  • Targeted to 14,000 customers and 1,200 partners
  • Discussion forums and content for all HDS products and solution
  • A Developer Network enables and supports developers who work with HDS software products
  • An Innovation Center allows HDS to crowdsource ideas and suggestions from customers and partners and preview new innovations and obtain feedback prior to releasing them to the market
  • Gamification is used to recognize credible experts within the community and to foster engagement
  • Private groups in which HDS collaborates privately with key customers and partners
  • Integration with HDS social marketing channels such as YouTube and Twitter
  • Immediate increase in demand generation through company blog, which sparked a $20 million per annum opportunity

   Visit the Community     Watch the testimonial

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