Opening Day: 2008 Services Leadership Conference

Greetings from Las Vegas!  Our 2008 Services Leadership Conference officially kicked off at 3pm today with our first joint keynote across the AFSMI, SSPA and TPSA.  JB Wood, Stephen Smith and Thomas Lah talked about the past, present and future of the industry, with emphasis on service convergence and Value-Added Support. Next, Juergen Rottler, EVP of Customer Services for Oracle, gave one of the best keynotes in my recent memory about how Oracle challenged the industry status quo and pushed for innovative services.

Juergen Rottler presents at the Services Leadership Conference

Juergen Rottler presents at the Services Leadership Conference

I spent my day in 1:1 meetings with members and partners, and the economy was front and center in every conversation.  The good news is that many members came to this event with budgets for technology purchases, ready to evaluate alternatives, and with the strong ROI for core support technologies like remote control/remote support, knowledge management and proactive monitoring, even concerns about a recession have not impacted those budgets.

Most of our members lived through the tech crash of 2001, so they understand what budget challenges may lie ahead. But as I said in a previous post, support operations are no longer cost centers, and AFSMI, SSPA and TPSA members are much better positioned this time around to defend their budgets, their technology needs, and their plans for new programs.

So what are companies asking me about?  Typically the bulk of my 1:1 meetings are related somehow to knowledge management, and today was no exception.  The thread that connected todays’ meetings was both confusion and intrigue about how the traditional KM and multi-channel service providers (Kana, RightNow, Talisma) compare to the intelligent search and ‘intent engine’ providers (InQuira, Knova) and the new breed of community-geared Web 2.0 KM and customer service providers (Fuze, HelpStream, Parature).  

The economy definitely factored into these conversations, which discussions about the risk:reward potential of investing in innovative technology.  Vendor viability is definitely on everyone’s mind, and members are interested in which industry drives the bulk of revenue for vendors on their short list.  (If the bulk of your business comes from the financial services industry, the concern is you will be impacted faster and to a greater degree than those focused on telco or tech).

Tomorrow is the first full day of the conference.  I’m presenting the Fall 2008 Recognized Innovator Awards at 10:30, then leading Innovation Tours of the winners booths in the Expo at 11am and 2pm.  I also have a session on Green Support at 3pm, a panel discussion with executives from Xerox, SupportSpace, Cisco and Ericsson. Stay tuned for more updates on the latest topics and trends!

Explore posts in the same categories: Consumer Support, Enterprise Support, field service, Professional Services, Technology

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3 Comments on “Opening Day: 2008 Services Leadership Conference”


  1. John,

    Sorry I missed the Oracle keynote. I have been seeing some interesting things from them lately, and their executives seem to be getting more comfortable around support issues – i am sure it was very interesting.

    Fascinating, as usual, is that we focused on a couple of the same trends — I just wrong my overall impressions of the show (http://evergance.wordpress.com) and I agree with the view on remote support / greening of support. i highlighted the real-life adoption of W2.0 we are just scratching the surface on — and I even made a bad joke about the use of the words profit and customer service and support in near proximity in a sentence (yes, it is a really bad joke – you probably won’t even smile).

    I also talked a little bit about my baby, the love of my life, and the focus of my world these days — feedback management. Check it out!

    But I sill like yours better (and I didn’t even cheat by reading yours first this time)


  2. […] opened at 8:30.  In an eerie coincidence, I had 2 more 1:1 meetings focused on the topic I wrote about yesterday: how to fulfill customer service/KM requirements when no single vendor offers all the necessary […]


  3. Hey John: Thanks for calling our company out. We sincerely appreciate the exposure. Thanks!

    I think that under close scrutiny folks will find that Fuze comes as close as anybody in providing all the vital components necessary to provide outstanding assisted-service and self-service customer care across all channels while leveraging the community and preserving brand integrity, but we also clearly recognize we have a long way to go…..My lengthy product roadmap certainly attests to that!

    Great conference. Liberace, Beyonce, Elvis, Homer and Gene Simmons came back with Llance pretty tired out.


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