I’m using this post to offer my two penny’s worth to a subject raised by Elias Khnaser in a recent post over at InformationWeek titled “Open Letter to Jack Domme, CEO, Hitachi Data Systems”.
In his article Eli talks about the need for HDS to do a better job of selling itself.
In his article, Eli makes several references to “Chad’s Army”. For those of you who don’t know, Chad Sakac is a big chief VMware geezer at EMC, and his so called Virtual Dream Team is comprised of some of the very top VMware and virtualisation talent on the planet. Not only are these guys (and I know several of them) top technical talent, they are also hugely influential. These guys are vExperts and write via books, websites, blogs, as well as being Twitter warriors. While I know Twitter and the likes are not everybody’s cup of tea, however, they are powerful mediums…. if you just as much as mention you have a question or issue with VMware and the wider VCE piece, you can guarantee that at least one of these guys will be all over you with all the help and info you could ever want. Cisco have been similar in their evangelising of FCoE.
In respect to Chad’s Army, I agree with Eli’s observation that HDS could benefit hugely from something similar. It’s a brave new world and the likes of EMC Cisco and VMware are leading the way.
Anyway, in light of Eli’s article I thought I’d throw in one or two other things that I think would benefit HDS –
- Unleash and encourage your in-house technical talent. Have them, and reward them for, participating in the following –
- Online user forums
- Take a leaf out of Cisco book (literally). Cisco have written great books (the traditional paper kind that get posted out to you from the likes of Amazon) on UCS, FCoE and Converged Networking. Search Amazon and you’ll find them.
- Want to know about FCoE? Chances are you will end up reading something written by somebody on the Cisco payroll.
- Want to learn about the architecture behind UCS? There’s a book for that too.
- On the other hand, want to find good info on HDS technology? ……… ???…..??? In fact it was so hard to find good HDS technical information, that a while back I felt the need to write a technical USP V User guide myself!
- Invest in creating and nurturing a real online community. One that opens up the top talent at HDS and makes them more accessible to customers. A good starting point would be improved support forums (check out VMware or even HP support forums). forums.hds.com looked like it could have been something good 4 or 5 years ago when Jeremiah Owyang first started it up. But I dare say it hasn’t changed at all since then. If anything, it’s been left to gather dust and frustrate customers rather than help them.
- Institute MVP style awards. Microsoft MVP and VMware vExpert type awards seem to be seen as valuable today. I dare say they also help create communities, giving people something to aim for and a feeling of belonging – that their participation in and contributions to the community are valued….
- Host a HDS World event. Along the lines of the likes of EMC World and VM World. These are awesome events and don’t need me to extol their merits
UPDATE: How about bringing back Mr. T for some more YouTube commercials? Cast your vote below –
I’m sure there are more, but those are the ones that came to mind when reading Eli’s article.
The claim to be the industry’s best kept secret is wearing a a little thin these days. Time to step up to the mark and take off the gloves – or alternatively do nothing and remain in obscurity.
On a side note, I find it interesting that HDS are pushing the “open” aspects of their UCP (unified computing platform/vertical stack offering). While I think this could be an important differentiator, it’s kind of hard to see this being a reality coming from a company that has a history and a reputation of being ultra closed.
Opportunity is knocking, will HDS answer?
Just my opinions of course 😀
PS. I’m thinking it’s probably about time “Chad’s Army” got it’s own Wikipedia article 😉