A top-tier Solid-State Array (SSA) solution provider builds data centers and helps customers maximize the value of their data for a competitive advantage. Their solutions enable SaaS companies, cloud service providers, and enterprise and public sector customers to deliver real-time, secure data to power their mission-critical production, DevOps, and modern analytics environments in a multi-cloud environment.

“With Vanilla, we have seen an increase of about 75% in page views and community posts. We’ve seen a lot of improvement!”

-Community Manager

The Challenges: When Cost Doesn’t Equal Value 

Before Vanilla, this SSA solution provider was working with a vendor that was providing them with an all-in-one solution; as part of this Suite, they were able to implement their first community.  

It was clear from the beginning that the community was extremely valuable, however in 2015, they decided to move from this Suite to a “best of breed.” They were interested in finding a vendor that could focus exclusively on community and help address their business needs. Armed with the knowledge of what was working and what wasn’t, the Community Manager was given the go-ahead to explore other options. 

And to the CMGR, this was great news. 

One of the major challenges that their community faced was the fact that it wasn’t mobile responsive. The “all-in-one” solution that they had wasn’t “all-in-one” at all; many features that communities rely on weren’t included in the out-of-the-box price. To have a mobile responsive platform, their vendor required additional fees on top of their already hefty price. “For me,” the CMGR said, “I just think that this should be something that’s included in everything that we use.”

Moreover, since their community operates as a support-based community, one of their main goals is to ensure their community is engaged and that questions are answered. To that end, having a non-responsive platform was actually hurting their business goals; the average time to first response was about two days. 

Their Community Manager knew that changes needed to be made, and so, the search for a new vendor began.

The Search: Easy Choice in a Sea of Vendors

To ensure that the next vendor would meet the needs of the SSA solution provider community, their Community Manager began their search by researching and connecting with six different community vendors. When they connected with Vanilla, they were immediately impressed; Vanilla not only had all the features that they were looking for, but they were all included as out-of-the-box features.

Vanilla stood out for a number of different reasons. “The most attractive thing about Vanilla was the level of customization that could be done in the community,” stated their Community Manager.

The Vanilla community granular permissions was something that could be altered and customized easily, which was extremely important to the SSA solution provider; they provided community support to both customers and staff, so the ability to customize these permissions and change them on the fly was something that immediately drew their attention. 

Further, the flexibility that Vanilla offered in terms of languages to support the SSA solution providers’ international clients was the icing on the cake. 

While all of the features that Vanilla offered combined with the level of customization made for a strong case, the fact that these were all included in the base price made signing with Vanilla an easy choice. 

“At the end of the day I chose Vanilla because [Vanilla] had all the features that I needed, and I was happy with it,” says their Community Manager.

The Migration: Full Attention For An Easy Transition

Migrations are usually a stressful time for organizations, though the same can’t be said for this SSA solution provider. Although they had thousands of community members to migrate, in addition to thousands of discussions and threads, this was an easy task for the team at Vanilla. 

“The migration was really very easy,” their Community Manager admits. “We only had one small  issue on the day of the launch, but the team at Vanilla was awesome — they helped us fix the issue right away on a Sunday, so that was really cool.”

The Results: Realizing Full Potential

Since the launch was complete in 2016, the SSA solution provider has seen an increase in numbers across the board. “I’ve seen an increase in engagement on all fronts,” their Community Manager states, “this includes things like total page views, posts and number of responses.”

Before Vanilla, the average time to the first comment was a couple of days. Now, the average time to first comment is less than 10 minutes. At exactly 8 minutes and 21 seconds average time to response, the SSA solution provider is seeing results that they didn’t think was possible!

In addition, the community response rate went from roughly 30% to 65%. All of these amazing results, their Community Manager says, come from a powerful combination of crucial Vanilla features. 

“Our user base is much more mobile, so moving to a platform that is compatible with tablets and phones have helped increase our engagement levels a lot,” their Community Manager comments. 

In addition, the SSA solution provider is making good use of other Vanilla features that they didn’t have with their previous vendor. Since the launch, their Community Manager has incorporated a number of gamification features in the community to help encourage members to participate. By adding special ranks and badges, their Community Manager believes that members have another great reason to engage in the community. 

“One of the things that I’ve started to do with the community gamification is to hold a monthly draw for those on the leaderboard — the top 10 members with the most points in the community are entered for a chance to win a prize,” says their Community Manager.

Ultimately, it’s a combination of all of these little things that have led the SSA solution provider to see the best results that their community has ever seen.