IT Infrastructure Insights

Customer Service Should Be a Feature of Storage Management Solutions

Aug 25, 2022

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Originally designed by parent company Clear Technologies as an answer to some of the problems they saw clients face over and over again, Visual Storage Intelligence has evolved and grown since 2011 by following the same model it was founded on: solving problems for clients and passing those solutions on to all of its users.

It’s a simple model that every storage solution provider should follow: onboard clients for success, actively engage with clients as they use the product, and build new features based on client feedback.

Walking with Clients at Every Step of the User Journey

Unlike many Software as a Service offerings, which give customers a tool and leave them to figure it out for themselves, Visual Storage Intelligence walks with customers throughout their entire user journeys.

Besides standard onboarding (including hours of time with Visual Storage Intelligence staff setting up, learning, practicing, and trying out the product), Visual Storage Intelligence’s technical and storage experts schedule standing meetings with client teams at whatever frequency the client prefers.

Some clients meet with us as often as every 1-2 weeks in order to consult regarding changes in their infrastructure, ask questions about how to accomplish more with the product, share internal challenges, and more. These meetings are not limited to just one contact person. Sometimes an entire team of 10-15 users joins, providing maximum touchpoints and values for the whole enterprise.

For example, sometimes a client will need a new report or a new template for executive-level reporting. We’re happy to help them find it – or, if needed, to build it for them.

In addition, all clients receive a hybrid email update each week that is specific to their storage environment. With automated insights that highlight changes from the past week, new and noteworthy trends in performance / utilization / growth, and alerts relating to over 100 best practices being monitored, the emails are personalized by one of our experts who knows the client and their goals.

This way, users don’t even need to log in to the product to gain customized value. By simply checking their email inbox, they’ll receive top-level updates about whatever is important to them, with personalized analysis plus priority recommendations – including warnings about anything which might necessitate purchases or changes in architecture (such as growth trends indicating over-provisioning).

“The spirit in which Visual Storage Intelligence approaches the customer relationship resonates so much with me,” said the ICS Delivery Director at one of Visual Storage Intelligence’s Fortune 500 Healthcare clients.

“Their support has always been way above expectations.”

Client-Led Functionality

Visual Storage Intelligence is already compatible with over 80 products from more than 18 brands, spanning on-prem, virtual, cloud, and hybrid environments. The goal is to provide a seamless reporting and analytics experience in any client infrastructure, especially as infrastructures become more disparate and rely on multiple vendors and storage delivery models.

As part of that commitment, Visual Storage Intelligence commits to adding new compatibility for devices – sometimes in as little as two weeks. This year, we have already added compatibility for Tintri devices (including IntelliFlash and VMstore) thanks to a client request.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Visual Storage Intelligence’s expansive roster of functionality is largely based on client recommendations and requests. In just the last 1-2 years, input from our client council has led to innovations including:

  • VMware capacity planning enhancements
  • Deduplication reporting and capacity planning
  • SAN switch capacity planning, firmware levels, and other device details
  • Visual end-of-support calendar for all devices

“Visual Storage Intelligence® doesn’t give you that ‘big corporation’ feeling where all that matters is profits,” one of our Fortune 500 financial institution clients said in a testimonial earlier this year.

“They care about their customers.”

Case Study: “Our Feedback Inspired Custom Product Enhancements”

Despite seeing major improvements in efficiency by using Visual Storage Intelligence®, a Fortune 500 capacity planning team was still missing key data in late 2021.

In order to make better hardware purchasing decisions, they needed to see trend reports broken down by physical, effective, and raw storage. And to improve workload placements, they needed to predict the impact any changes would have on existing device capacities.

Knowing that Visual Storage Intelligence claims to be a client-first company, they asked if we would add new capacity planning automation to their reporting abilities.

We were eager to help. In our next product update, we built and added delineated trend reporting and “hypothetical modeling” projections for this customer – and every other customer as well.

These abilities created separate capacity reports for physical storage, effective storage, and raw storage, enabling key distinctions for the team. They also innovated a way for capacity planning teams to include hypothetical details like future workload and device changes in their capacity and performance models.

For this particular capacity planning team, the impact was immediate.

“Visual Storage Intelligence’s willingness to actively work on enhancements and customize features based on our feedback made our jobs easier and more productive,” said one of their capacity planners.

Now, they are making more confident decisions based on stronger data – all without having to build the new reporting on their own.

White-Glove Service as a Way of Life

Of course, the ultimate customer service experience anticipates client concerns before they are raised. For example, earlier this year our team noticed some deduplication data reported on a certain vendor’s devices looked different than expected.

Without waiting for clients to ask about the data, Visual Storage Intelligence proactively reached out to the vendor, gained important technical insights into the type of data involved, and implemented subsequent changes to the reporting process in order to enhance data reporting accuracy.

Our team does the same any time data reporting indicates device growth at rates which might require action to avoid over-utilization or device failures. Sometimes we have even called clients directly to give more context and ensure they have seen and understand the change in data.

It’s all part of the same commitment that has always animated Visual Storage Intelligence: solving problems and building efficiencies for busy enterprise storage professionals.

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