It’s been almost 2 years since the acquisition of Nimble Storage was announced by HPE – that being March 2017 (can’t quite believe it!). At the time, I can recall the overwhelming response from our customers and partners was concern and worry that Nimble Support (often referred to as the best in the industry) would be diluted due to ‘large vendor syndrome’ and become just like any other technology that had been acquired.
Fanatical support, exceptional customer experience and the concept of “it just works” has become the new gold standard for on-premises and private cloud consumers – with IT pros turning their attention more towards innovative vendors who can not just solve their application demands, but make their lives simpler at the same time. Let’s face it, not many people really want to manage, problem solve and troubleshoot technology anymore – it’s a key driver for Public Cloud adoption.
And so it was with great fear that Nimble Storage – known as the company with kickass technology and a wildly passionate customer base who wax lyrical about customer support at every opportunity they get (see Spiceworks or Reddit for examples….) – would become watered down so much that Support would become an afterthought; being pushed into HPE’s wider Support infrastructure and become a parody of everything we used to sell against.
Competitors would also make such a claim – saying that Nimble was finished and they shouldn’t look to stay, instead move to them…
And then I read Reddit “/r/sysadmin”, and came across a thread where some of the comments from customers / users were:
…hopefully HPE doesn’t screw things up with Nimble!
…So far they have not ruined it. Hard to say what we’ll get In another 4 years.
…their support has been great even after the acquisition which was a major concern for me personally
And the worst:
…I’d avoid simply for the HPE ownership. I feel that HPE would eventually screw this thing up.
It’s also fair to say that the comments are not completely unwarranted due to previous experiences in the industry from a large vendor acquiring something innovative.
However, lessons at HPE have certainly been learnt from the past. Some may say that it’s “a new time” at the company. Nimble Storage and all of it’s divisions has been kept together in it’s entirety as a business unit inside of HPE Storage.
Nimble Support is NOT changing, at all. In fact, it’s getting better!
You’ll see here in my diagram that in the new Nimble organisation – Engineering and Support are the top two functions alongside Product Management/Sales Ops, the new Field CTO team (that I sit in) and Tech/Product Marketing.
What’s even more staggering is how the Nimble install base has grown year over year, yet the experience has been consistently high whilst using Infosight AI/ML to reduce manual support case creation by almost 20%!
This news should be welcome for all consumers, as the market leading experience our users and partners expect when engaging with Nimble support is going to be kept at the same consistent level of excellence. In fact Q4 2018 was actually the highest rated customer support satisfaction of Support we’ve seen EVER in Nimble’s existence (which is an amazing 11 years as I write this).
Furthermore – all new HPE Storage acquisitions that are made are going to be done in a similar fashion; integrate them into the Business Unit wholly to ensure that best practices are learnt from how the newly acquired business operates. Where’s the value in acquiring a company and it’s fantastic startup processes if it can’t be learnt from? The first of that kind is BlueData; which completed in January 2019 and integrated wholly as the Big Data organisation.
There is absolutely a best practice of cross pollination and sharing of best practices across the various setups – a good example of that is Infosight being made it’s own organisation and 3PAR support processes learning from Nimble in auto-support case creation and resolution – the things our customers love the most.
You’ll also notice a new business unit for Cloud Data Services; which contains both the fantastic HPE Cloud Volumes and Cloud Bank technologies – as well as some interesting new things that may see the light in coming years.
So all in all, this is good news and I can’t wait to see what developments we’ll see in 2019 to make the Nimble Experience even greater for our customers and partners…. Stay tuned 🙂