In November 2010, when I stepped into my role as Customer Loyalty Director for Enterprise Solutions Group, I gathered together all my stakeholders (my stakeholders being the Engineers, Marketing Managers, and/or PMs who owned product attributes that consistently surfaced via customer surveys). My objective was simple: to outline a plan and cadence by which we absorb customer feedback, integrate it into the next generation of our products and ultimately delight our customers. Easy – right?

The universal reaction was: “Sure – just give us the details. Tell us what our customers want.” Repeatedly, I heard the same response, whether the topic was Systems Management, Acoustics, or Energy Efficiency:

So I went back to the survey verbatims (customer comments). Indeed very little was specific or actionable. I had none of these details! How am I going to get my Customer Loyalty program up and running, I wondered, if we can’t even get specific product feedback through our primary diagnostic vehicle? My perfect plan (to drive for immediate results) was foiled. After a brief period of denial, I realized I had to start over.

It took me a few weeks and lots of talking to lots of people who know lots about surveys, focus groups, and community forums. But by early December, I had an answer. I proposed, and my management approved and funded, a high-touch on-line community forum to gather inputs on one of our critical focus areas: Energy Efficiency.

This time the response – from numerous Energy Efficiency stakeholders across Engineering, Marketing, and Program Management – was overwhelmingly positive. The time and effort this cross-functional team put in to produce a meaningful forum – on top of their regular jobs – was impressive.

Our March 31 customer forum focused on Energy Efficiency was game-changing... We learned that while we’ve been speaking to server power efficiency, our customers are concerned about data center power and cooling. Our focus has been product specs; our customers want business value. They want the ability to measure, monitor and manage energy efficiency easily, and we intend to provide that ability.

Next Steps:

  • Align energy efficiency efforts across Servers and Storage products
  • Investigate additional next generation improvements
  • Further investigate the right tools for measuring, monitoring and managing energy efficiency at server, rack and room level
  • Truly differentiate from the competition (“stand out from the crowd”)

Tell us more! We’re hungry for insights on your business needs as well any specific innovations, product or attribute advancements you can provide. As we invest further into our energy efficiency solutions and other improvements, tell us what you think -- We’re listening!