Lithys 2012: HP Enterprise Business Community - Best Social Customer Experience

Lithys 2012: HP Enterprise Business Community - Best Social Customer Experience

0 Kudos

Company: HP EnterpriseHP_S_K_RGB_72_MD.gif

Entry Submitted by: Margaret Nugent Social Media Marketing Manager (maugent)

Community: HP EBC (

Lithy Categories: Best Social Customer Experience


  • HP built one world-wide community on a single instance for all enterprise customers
  • Executed 11 community migrations to the instance, retiring these communities on their legacy platforms
  • To date, five languages are hosted on a single instance
  • Mobile version is available in all languages
  • Benefits:  Cost efficiency; more accurate data of our members (not spread over several platforms)


  • The HP Enterprise Business Community (hereafter referred to as HP EBC) was launched on January 29th, 2010 with a single category called “BladeSystem”.
  • Three years’ worth of content belonging to 3,500 members was migrated from a third party proprietary platform to our new Lithium instance for the initial launch.
  • It was the first of seven migrations that took place in 2010, bringing total membership to over 200,000
  • Our migrations came from a combination of HP legacy sites, third party proprietary platforms and an acquisition
  • The HP EBC has enabled us to bring all our disparate communities together on one platform and present a single holistic view of our members and their activities in detailed metrics reports

Our goal for the first two years was to consolidate all the external-facing communities managed by HP Enterprise onto a single instance.


Within our first year we built five brand new categories and migrated four local language communities from our Asia-Pacific Region (APJ):


  • Chinese (Simplified)
  • Chinese (Traditional)
  • Japanese
  • Korean

This was the first time non-English language content had been hosted together on a single instance along with English, so it took great collaboration and partnership between HP and Lithium to make this happen.


In 2011 we completed the largest migration, with over ½ million members from an 11 year old HP support forum to our instance.  Despite the year’s notice we were given, this migration was a huge project for both HP and Lithium.  The go-live date was fixed due to HP server retirements.  Thanks to Lithium’s experience garnered from the smaller migrations completed in 2010, we were able to complete this with minimal downtime to our members. We also worked with our super-users to help facilitate the change and support while communicating the benefits of the migration. 


Here is what our members said:

“I’m excited about the changes coming soon. I have always enjoyed this forum, but participating at the new Consumer Forum since it opened 11/08 I have come to really appreciate the extra features it offers…hyperlinks, macros are just two that I think of instantly. Kudos is another great feature. It is very rewarding to have multiple people give kudos to a solution or tip that you provide and be able to realize how many actually benefited.  I believe everyone here will soon come to wonder how they ever did without all the extra goodies. It may take a bit of time and some adjustments, but is well worth the effort.” Cheryl G.

“Thanks for the heads up about what's getting ready to happen with the forum. I'm looking forward to the new functionality. And thanks to HP for continuing to provide such a great place to share ideas and to get and receive help.” Prof Julie

November, 2011 saw HP EBC launch a mobile version of the community: in combination with a new redesign.


HP Software originally launched its own instance in April 2010, with a view to migrating the software support boards from the HP legacy community (aka HP ITRC) in June 2011.  Once HP Software made the announcement of their intentions at their annual customer event, they received lot of feedback from members asking “Why?”  HP Software’s perception was that software customers were different from other enterprise members and only focused on software products. 


The reality proved quite different as approximately <20% of HP Software members were active on both communities.  They were asking why HP Software had their own community, why was HP asking members to join two communities.  So HP Software listened and acted on this by migrating their instance to HP EBC.


The platform has become ingrained in the way we conduct our support business, here are some examples:


HP Software Support

  • HP Software Support uses discussion boards for members to have technical discussions on the software product portfolio with a goal to ensure a better understanding of all the features these products have to offer.   In order to provide additional value, to those customers with a valid support contract, they offer a Limited Access area that enables two-way discussion with a support expert.
  • HP Software see this as an extra service to their support customers that results in reducing the number of deferred calls from their support center.  They have created a formula which calculates the potential number of deferred calls each month. The metric that plays an important role is the ‘number of accepted solution views’. We are reporting on this metric in all of our support forums (public and limited access forums).  Throughout 2011, HP Software saw the number of accepted solution views increase from 24,000 in January to 405,000 in December 2011

Support Call Deflection

  • The HP EBC community provides HP a significant cost avoidance opportunity as many customers are able to resolve their support issues via the community, as opposed to contacting HP directly (via phone contacts, email, or chat).  Together with other web-based self-solve service capabilities, this is a critical success factor for HP’s support services organization.


HP Expert Days

  • Following completion of our support forums migration to one unified community, we began to partner with the HP consumer side of the business (which was also utilizing the Lithium platform) to offer our customers a broader “Expert Day” experience.  The ‘HP Community Expert Days’ provide our community members a 24-hour period during which to interact directly with HP employees within the forums.  HP Expert Days are typically hosted once a quarter, and are a great way to create awareness of the forums for customers who may not typically choose to receive support in a social manner.  Registrations, logins, posts, and page views consistently see impressively sized increases during Expert Days:









Accepted Solutions





The evolution and growth of the HP EBC has brought about a new requirement to bring in a limited access area to meet specific business needs with our customers (members) and our channel partners.


HP Software has introduced three Limited Access programs within the community:


1. Customer Advisory Boards (CAB)
These are Advisory Boards for our top customers, who have the opportunity to meet face to face twice a year.  All meeting notes, presentations and discussions conducted are shared within this category.


2. BETA Testing program
HP Software has started to conduct beta testing of the next software product versions with our beta customers within limited access categories in the HP EBC.  In the past all communications were conducted via email after the software was downloaded and installed.  Using the HP EBC has been a great success as more customers have seen the advantages of using the discussion boards versus email. 


These advantages are:

  • Increased efficiency and reduction in time to resolution
  • Easier to share knowledge
  • Forums are searchable, enabling customers to find solutions to issues
  • Easier to see where customers are struggling and can put together essential webinars throughout the beta testing period.
  • Opportunity to train customers on new features of the product, so that they can take advantage after upgrading to the new version
  • Ongoing relationship using the forum until the release is launched and can easily train customers on new features and get their ongoing feedback

3. Practitioners Forum

The Practitioners Forum provides a unique opportunity for experienced members to share their experiences and learn from other like-minded practitioners.  Outside of the discussions taking place in these forums we also conduct bi-weekly one hour round table sessions between HP product experts and members, where active participants can contribute or simply listen. Experienced members wanted a place where they could conduct discussions or have conversations with other members with the same level experience.


HP EBC is really a cluster/nest of communities – each managed by separate ‘neighborhood’ or ‘category managers’ and one overall administrator.  It is funded by seven internal cost locations within HP by internal cross charges based on proportionate page view costs.