How A Solid-State Array (SSA) Solution Provider Increased Their Community Response Rate By 35%

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

This SSA provider was looking for a “best-of-breed,” community; one that was mobile responsive, included crucial features in the out-of-the-box price and could deliver ongoing support and guidance.

The Migration

Although this community had thousands of members, discussions and threads to migrate, this was a simple task for the team at Vanilla and was done quickly and with ease.

The Search

Vanilla stood out from its competitors because of the level of customization that could be done to the community itself and to all of the out-of-the-box features, including gamification.

The Results

The community quickly saw a bump in engagement, including traffic and posts, and their KPIs improved immensely; their average time to first comment was now less than 9 minutes.

The ChallengesWhen 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.

Pain Points

High Costs, Few Features

Their current community platform was incredibly expensive, which might not have been such an issue if the cost also incorporated a number of crucial community features, such as mobile responsiveness, however these features weren’t included in the base price.

Sub-Par Support

Every time the SSA solution provider needed help troubleshooting an issue for their community, or they opened a support ticket, they weren’t able to get the support they needed, when they needed it. They were simply told to forward their questions to the vendors community for support.

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 SSA's Checklist


“We’ve saved money. A lot of money. Which of course, is a huge plus, especially when you guys have every feature that we need right out-of-the box.”


“Vanilla is so easy to set up. Like, especially with the theming and shaping your community in the way your want it. The CSS coding was there and I could just go in and put in my code.”

Mobile Responsive

“With Vanilla, we got a mobile responsive platform at no extra cost. Our members absolutely love it and it’s helped us increase our engagement levels.”

Excellent Support

“The level of support we received from Vanilla was excellent. The CSMs are great and very helpful. Whenever I need support, I don’t have to wait or be passed around and it’s amazing.”

The MigrationStraightforward on the Vanilla Side

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 ResultsRealizing 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.

Reflecting on the SSA Journey

Vanilla was seen as the best option for this SSA provider due to not only providing all crucial community features for an out-of-the-box price, but also due to the fact that all these features could be branded and adjusted as needed. Ultimately, the SSA provider was looking for a “best-of-breed” and found it; Vanila has built hundreds of communities and worked to create hundreds of seamless branded customer experiences. If you want to learn what a “best-of-breed,” community provider can do for you, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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