Riverbed Technology Online Community – 2014 Forrester Groundswell Entry

Meredith Rock | February 28, 2014

Riverbed Technology is the leader in application performance infrastructure, delivering the most complete platform for location-independent computing. Riverbed’s 24,000+ customers include 97% of the Fortune 100 and 95% of the Forbes Global 100. Riverbed’ go-to-market strategy includes a direct sales channel that supports customers globally and an partner network that includes resellers, distributors, service providers and integrators.

Riverbed faces some key challenges. One challenge is their buyers’ behavior and expectations are rapidly changing. Over the past several years, Riverbed’s 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 Riverbed experts and thought leaders more accessible and responsive to customers and partners – to position Riverbed as leaders in their market segments, keep customers and partners up to date on Riverbed’s latest offerings, and deepen relationships with them. A third challenge is servicing Riverbed’s major customers. These high-value customers have a variety of Riverbed products installed across multiple networks, requiring Riverbed to organize myriad specialists to service and support these customers’ unique needs.

To help address these challenges, Riverbed launched Splash  in Q2 2013. Splash is an online community whose mission is to provide an online venue that focuses on providing technical resources, product information, and best practices in a self-supporting and collaborative environment for customers and partners that improves brand loyalty and engagement. The objectives for Splash included:

  • Generate sales leads and increase revenue
  • Reduce support costs by enabling peer support
  • Deepen relationships with customers and partners and increase loyalty
  • Engage customers and partners in new programs, such as user groups and certification programs
  • Collaborate with customers and partners to source ideas for product improvement and innovation

Since its launch about one year ago, Splash has truly begun to transform Riverbed’s business. At the end of 2013, Splash had roughly 20,000 enabled users, who are engaging in a new customer support channel, engaging with Riverbed experts, and collaborating with developers to share code samples and best practices.

Since adopting this new platform a little over a year ago, Riverbed has seen:

  • 30% increase in the activity among customers, partners and Riverbed employees in the community
  • 57% of Splash participants are support customers, reducing overall support costs (cost savings confidential)
  • 25% of Splash users are documented leads/prospects, an indicator of pre-sales engagement
  • 11% of Splash users became converted sales leads (revenue contribution amount confidential), and indicator of incremental sales lead generation
  • The Top 20 Splash users are major accounts and Riverbed partners, an indicator of deepened relationships and intimacy
  • Operational efficiencies associated with using community to service major accounts (has not been quantified at time of submission)
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