SOURCE: SolarWinds

SolarWinds

May 08, 2013 07:30 ET

IT Professional Community thwack Helps Crowdsource 43 New SolarWinds Product Features

SolarWinds Connects With More Than 125,000 thwack Members to Develop Superior Products, Provide Educational IT Content and More to Help Customers Do Their Jobs Better

AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwired - May 8, 2013) -  SolarWinds (NYSE: SWI), a leading provider of powerful and affordable IT management software, today announced that its thwack community members have helped influence the implementation of 43 new or enhanced SolarWinds product features through Ideation™ -- thwack's crowdsourcing feature request and voting platform.

Added in June 2012, Ideation has become a popular and effective medium for thwack users and SolarWinds customers to engage actively within the community. With a cumulative 5,540 votes on 980 unique ideas, Ideation has implemented 43 user-determined ideas with another 42 ideas currently in the "What We're Working On" stage.

thwack Ideation Implemented Feature Highlights:

  • Audit Tracking - SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM) added the capability to audit users and track their activity to monitor which product administrators make which changes
  • Custom Property Drop-Down List - SolarWinds NPM now allows users to customize properties within drop-down lists and saves previously assigned properties
  • Hardware Health for Server Blade Chassis - SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (SAM) added support for common blade chassis including visibility into the status of fans, power supplies, temperature probes, and more
  • Custom Properties for Templates and Components - SolarWinds SAM now allows users to customize properties for reporting and filtering to improve and simplify message routing

In addition to the Ideation platform, thwack underwent a number of other significant changes over the course of the last year in response to the growing popularity of the community and continues to demonstrate user insight and appreciation with its latest enhancements.

"thwack is constantly changing to meet the needs and challenges of IT pros. Each update to the community serves the users and creates more ways for them to learn and engage," said Michael Torok, thwack community director. "New resources like SolarWinds Lab and specialized engagement opportunities represent the kind of geek-to-geek engagement that is the very purpose of thwack."

What's new in thwack?

  • IT-specialized Gamification - In the past year, thwack added a gamification system in which members earn points for engaging with the community. For example, users can complete any of the 30 missions and over 25 actions, which challenge them to accomplish tasks like creating content, answering IT questions, and more. There are also Monthly Missions with unique challenges like rating or sharing posts that can earn users big points. Now, the gamification system will also allow members to distinguish their areas of IT specialty as they earn points and advance on leader boards within topic-specific forums.
  • SolarWinds Lab - On April 3, 2013, thwack aired the first SolarWinds Lab, a new live video lab in which SolarWinds Head Geeks Patrick Hubbard and Lawrence Garvin address real IT challenges faced by the thwack community, offer technical training and discuss solutions. The lab is a direct response to increased demand for technical topics and training and is an opportunity for IT pros to speak with Head Geeks in real time.
  • thwack store - Opened in September 2012, the thwack Store lets users choose from and "purchase" 20 different geeky items including SolarWinds shirts, buttons and chatzskis with points they have earned by engaging within the community. 
  • Multi-language support - thwack added machine translation in the fall of 2012, allowing IT pros that speak and read Portuguese, Spanish, German, French, Russian, Chinese (simplified), and Japanese to interact on a global level.

"thwack has always been about having fun with techie folks and sharing valuable information and experiences, and recently SolarWinds has really taken it up a notch," said Chris Wahl, senior technical architect for Ahead, Wahl Network blogger and former thwack Ambassador. "thwack lets users add value by sharing, participating, and evaluating content for others and appreciates them with points to recognize their expertise. Add to the mix an involved and interactive audience and fun, geeky engagement like the Sci-Fi Bracket Battle, and you get a pretty cool place to hang out."

How have thwack features evolved in the past year?

  • Geeky content - thwack has also built up its Ambassador program of industry experts that share their IT industry-wide knowledge in thwack posts. Derek Schauland, TechRepublic blogger, and Robert Novak of the rsts11 blog are a few of the IT pros that have contributed posts and answered questions as thwack ambassadors. Additionally, thwack's Geek Speak blog, which has over 750 posts since it began in 2007, now averages 15 new posts per week, approximately 380 views per post and a bevy of blogging IT experts. Geek Speak also regularly features external IT Blog Spotlights, which highlight expert IT bloggers such as Bill Brenner of The Salted Hash and Tom Hollingsworth, self-described Networking Nerd.
  • Community events - A number of events have also been hosted on thwack including the community's very own version of March Madness -- the Sci-Fi Bracket Battle -- in which thwack members voted on science fiction legends, shared their brackets, and debated the matches on social media and blogs. The Battle garnered nearly 6,000 votes with over 58,000 total views and ultimately crowned Star Trek's Spock as victor. During the the past year, thwack also hosted thwack Camp, a virtual IT conference with educational IT-focused sessions, and various user-voted contests.
  • Forums - thwack has added several new forums that focus on common IT challenges in which IT pros can engage on topics of interest to them. For example, PatchZone is an active forum for experts to discuss patch management issues, and EOL Lookup provides end-of-life information for network devices.

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About SolarWinds
SolarWinds (NYSE: SWI) provides powerful and affordable IT management software to customers worldwide from Fortune 500 enterprises to small businesses. In all of our market areas, our approach is consistent. We focus exclusively on IT Pros and strive to eliminate the complexity that they have been forced to accept from traditional enterprise software vendors. SolarWinds delivers on this commitment with unexpected simplicity through products that are easy to find, buy, use and maintain while providing the power to address any IT management problem on any scale. Our solutions are rooted in our deep connection to our user base, which interacts in our online community, thwack, to solve problems, share technology and best practices, and directly participate in our product development process. Learn more today at http://www.solarwinds.com.

SolarWinds and SolarWinds.com are registered trademarks of SolarWinds. All other company and product names mentioned are used only for identification purposes and may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

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