Archive for October 2010

Announcing the Fall 2010 Recognized Innovators

October 20, 2010

The Recognized Innovator Awards may be my favorite part of my job. The awards are presented at our Spring and Fall conferences to our TSIA partners, who submit applications and are judged by a group of TSIA members, expert alliance partners, and industry experts. Finalists are selected, and I lead Innovation Tours of the finalists booths at the conference Expo. Tour attendees also vote on Best Innovation Demo. I announced the winners today at the closing TSW Awards Ceremony.

The categories for the Fall 2010 Recognized Innovator Awards were:

  • Innovation in Service Economics. The Associations’ Services 50 Study documents the rise of services revenue for large high tech companies, which now represents as high as 70% of revenue from software firms and a third of the revenues for hardware firms. While this trend means that service and support enjoys more visibility and influence with company executives and Wall Street analysts, it also means that service executives are eager to identify new sources of revenue. The Recognized Innovator in this category will provide real-world examples of how companies are leveraging their technology or services to generate incremental services revenue.
  • Innovation in Customer Satisfaction. One of the few metrics tracked across professional services, technical support and field service operations is customer satisfaction (CSAT). In fact, even Wall Street is now caring about CAST: according to the TSIA benchmark, 62% of service executives have compensation tied to satisfaction and loyalty scores. Not only does poor satisfaction impact the life time value of a customer, with the myriad of social networking avenues available to give customers a global voice, upset customers can easily do damage to a company and its brand. The Recognized Innovator in this category will provide real-world examples of how their technology or services have been used to increase customer satisfaction scores, or insight into reasons for satisfaction or dissatisfaction, for one or more areas of service and support.
  • Innovation in Mobility. Mobile technology and devices have the highest planned spend for any technology area covered by the 2010 TSIA Member Technology Survey, with 34% of field service members having budget for mobile technology. With smart phones putting web browsers at our fingertips, employees and customers are demanding faster and more consumable content, and innovative mobile devices allow a greater array of services to be delivered in the field, boosting productivity and revenue. The Recognized Innovator in this category will provide real-world examples of how their mobile technology or services have been used to extend the reach of a service organization, streamlining activities and lowering operational costs.

The Recognized Innovator Winner and Finalist for Service Economics are: (more…)

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TSW: Top Attended Sessions Illustrate Industry Trends

October 20, 2010

We are back for the last day of Technology Services World at the Mirage in Las Vegas. Our always amazing conference coordinator, Christi Holzer, sent me the attendee numbers for all of yesterday’s sessions, and as always, looking at the top attended sessions is a great indicator of industry trends and challenges.  Here are the 7 top attended sessions from yesterday, all with over 100 attendees–some close to 200 with standing room only.

  • How Smart Companies Use Social Media, Shawn Santos, Director, Programs & Community, TSIA. It is no surprise that social media continues to be one of the hottest topics in service today, and our own social media expert, Shawn Santos, unveiled findings from his latest social service survey, and provided insight into how companies are successfully leveraging these new customer touchpoints and collaboration opportunities.
  • From Good to Great and Beyond, a panel discussion with Thomas Pridham,TSIA; Joanne Weigel, TSIA; William Beach,Cisco Systems; Rachel Berg, PRTM; Nigel Marrion, TSIA Organizational Development Program; John Blakeman, Taleo; Mark Baniewicz, Xerox. Our members are very metrics driven, naturally, but with increased interest and visibility in support excellence, more companies are now interested in moving beyond benchmarking to do formal audits of their support operations. This is great news for the industry–customer service can be a major differentiator for a technology company, and getting a ‘best in class’ designation from an operational audit is a fantastic proof point for customers and prospects.
  • Global Customer Experience: Internationalizing Support; Erik Ryan, Knowledgebase Manager, ESET; Chris Hall, Vice President, Product Marketing, InQuira. I believe that InQuira, a knowledge management, intelligent search and customer experience partner of the TSIA, has had one of the top attended sessions at every conference since I started tracking this information. InQuira has a great ability to focus on meaty topics that address real problems for our members, and this session was no different, based in part on a joint research paper I worked on with InQuira on internationalizing support by offering knowledge content in any number of languages–something our advisory board says is a critical issue for 2010-11.
  • RightNow Technologies & Changepoint: Improving the Client Experience through Strategic Services Delivery; Leslie Williams, Director, Professional Services, RightNow Technologies; Lori Ellsworth, Vice President, Compuware Changepoint, Compuware. This session, which showcased how RightNow, a customer service/CRM vendor, revolutionized their professional service business by implementing Compuware Changepoint professional services automation (PSA) software. Since RightNow is one of the first and best known SaaS vendors, there was also lots of interest in how PS for SaaS vendors may (or may not!) be different from OnPremise vendors.
  • Breaking Down the Barriers Between Customer Support and Product Development; Bertrand Durou, IBM Support Manager – KT Program Manager, IBM; Christoph Goldenstern, Global Vice President, Service Excellence, Kepner-Tregoe. One of the key messages in The Complexity Avalanche is that support and development must work more closely together to create more usable and supportable products, and this session was a great example. KT’s Christoph–who is incredibly passionate about the industry and its future–co-presented with their customer IBM about IBM’s success with Kepner-Tregoe’s diagnostic and support processes, extending into areas beyond support including development.
  • Getting to the Heart of Best-In-Class Customer Service; Rob Gibson, General Manager, Product Support Group, Sears Holdings; Damien Choisel, Vice President, Service Knowledge Management, Servigistics. Knowledge management has always been a key interest area for TSIA members, and this session is a great example of why. Sears, America’s fourth largest retailer, has the largest field service organization in North America with more than 12 million service calls made annually, 3,000 call center agents and 9,000 trucks. This session documented how Sears tackled the challenge of decreasing customer service calls by improving knowledge management processes to gain faster issue resolution and a stronger knowledge base for call center agents. Through Servigistics Service Knowledge, a large percentage of Sears’ service calls are now being resolved over the phone, eliminating a technician visit. As a result, Sears has dramatically improved customer satisfaction levels and is now exceeding their year-to-date cost savings goal.
  • Inside Value-Added Services: Uncovering the Missing Link Between Increased Revenue and Customer Loyalty; Panel discussion with J.B. Wood, President and CEO, TSIA; Phil Nanus, Director, Business Critical Services, Symantec; Panel: Mike Charest, Director, Value-Added Services, Information Intelligence Group, EMC; Panel: Ashish Khanna, Strategic Support Manager, NetApp. This panel discussion from the chairs of the VAS Community of Interest discussed how and why the creation and integration of a value-added services model can lead to higher customer satisfaction and renewal rates while propelling revenue and margin growth. The panel provided “tales from the trenches” of VAS, sharing best practices, successes, and challenges in implementing a VAS business model, including the value of portfolio management in managing customer expectations and driving top-line revenue; the link between value-added services and customer loyalty; service delivery challenges along the evolution path (skills, staffing, and service quality); leveraging automation within value-added service delivery; interlock challenges/opportunities with engineering and consulting services along the path; leveraging the power of the team to generate new service ideas and opportunities.

The conference comes to a close today with our awards ceremony, presenting our TSIA STAR Awards, and I will be presenting the Fall 2010 Recognized Innovator Awards. Stay tuned for winners! And as always, thanks for reading!

Live from Technology Services World Las Vegas

October 19, 2010

Greetings from TSW Las Vegas at the Mirage. I’m hiding in a conference room to write a quick blog about what’s been going on today before heading to my next session. First of all, a big THANK YOU to everyone for making this our biggest event ever! Around 950 people, and these attendees are engaged: when everyone shows up at 7am for breakfast so they aren’t late for the first session you know you have a dedicated audience!

Tuesday is typically my crazy day at the conference, and today is no exception. I started with breakfast meetings with members and partners, then my “Power Hour” session on Knowledge Anywhere: The Mobile Enterprise at 9:45am. I was very pleased to have a full room to talk about the findings from my 3-part research series on mobility and service. The first piece focused on KM and search, the 2nd on field service automation, and the third piece, just published today, covers productivity tools and the future of mobility. I had a good mix of members and partners in the session, and had time for a few partners to talk about their mobile vision (thanks to CitrixOnline, Qualtech Systems and RightAnswers for speaking up!). I also enjoyed telling my customer service nightmare story that caused me to break the iPhone habit once and for all last week and move to a droid phone (so far I love the much more usable Samsung Captivate Galaxy S).

Right after my breakout session was my first innovation tour, and we had a good crowd to visit each of the Recognized Innovator finalist’s booths for a 7 minute demo, and a drawing for an iPod shuffle. Tour attendees also vote for ‘best innovation demo.’ At the awards ceremony tomorrow I’ll present the Recognized Innovator Awards and the award for best demo.

Following lunch is another Innovation Tour, a breakout session I’m moderating on “The New Frontier of Services Alliances” with Erna Arnesen, Vice President, WW Services Alliances, Cisco Systems, and then I’ll close out the day doing interviews on the Solution Stage in the Expo.

I’ve also had some interesting 1:1 meetings with members, some of whom are here shopping for technology. So far, the hot topic has been reporting, analytics and dashboarding, which is a tricky area because A) there aren’t a lot of standalone vendors since they have all been acquired, B) many packaged tools don’t integrate easily with home grown or legacy systems, and C) some vendors keep lying and saying their basic reporting module is an ‘analytics’ package, which only confused everyone.

Stay tuned for more conference updates, and thanks for reading!

Balancing Quality and Innovation: 2010 Consona Connect

October 13, 2010

I am at the 2010 Consona Connect User Conference at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and what a successful event this is! Over 800 attendees across the multiple product lines Consona sells: Axis, Cimnet Systems, Configuration Solutions, Consona CRM Customer Management, Consona CRM Knowledge Management, Consona CRM Live Assistance/Dynamic Agent, DTR, Encomplix, Intuitive, and Made2Manage. I attended this morning’s opening keynote for CRM attendees by Consona CRM General Manager, Tom Millay. Tom gave an overview of the business and talked about product roadmaps.

Interestingly, though 2009 was definitely a wretched year for closing new business, Consona continued to grow. The CRM division has grown from 141 to 249 employees since 2008, with 70 new customer accounts added. And there are some exciting new product features on the horizon, including a new UI, more granular search controls and in-line editing for grids coming in Consona CRM 7.1; new features and improved response time in KM 7.3; prepackaged solution content being added for Dynamic Agent 7.1; integrated knowledge and chat interface in Live Assistance 6.6, etc.

Milay also presented the Summit Awards for excellence among their customer base. The first was the Transformation Award, for a company showing dramatic ROI in a short period of time. The winner was ADP, who consolidated 17 support centers and 17 KB’s  into a single operation. The next awards were for Best Overall Use, for customers that have leveraged multiple Consona products with dramatic effects. Winners were VM Ware, who tripled customer visits to their self-service site; TechSoup Global, a non-profit serving 300,000 non-profits and libraries; and Marriott, with 3,420 properties across 18 brands in 68 countries, who increased call deflection by 10% with self-service knowledge tools.

Later today David Kay of DB Kay & Associates is leading a session on generating revenue within customer service and support, there are multiple deep dives into product futures, and my preso at 2:15 on the top trends impacting service and support today. I’m excited about getting to preview some of my research before I’m back in Vegas next week for our Technology Services World (TSW) Conference!

Thanks for reading, and hope to see all of you next week in Las Vegas for TSW!

Race to the Cloud: TSIA Members Quickly Adopting Cloud Solutions

October 4, 2010

If I were to look into my crystal ball and predict which future piece of TSIA research will be the most downloaded article in Q4 2010, my guess is the report my research peer Tim Flannery will publish based on his upcoming session at our Las Vegas Technology Services World (TSW) Conference, “The Cloudprem Checklist: What You Need to Know Before Transitioning from On-Premise to Cloud Service Offerings.” From what I’m hearing, software vendors who have not already made the move to the cloud are being pushed to do so by both customers and prospects. Some are introducing ‘cloud’ pricing for their on-premise tools, which essentially is financing the cost of the deployment over a number of years, with monthly payments similar to OnDemand subscription pricing schemes. Tim has been talking to a lot of companies that have made the move to the cloud, and I’m sure there will be some great lessons on what to do…and what NOT to do.

The report, “Cloudprem: What You Must Know Before Making the Transition from On-premise to Cloud-based (or, On-demand) Services,” which will be published on October 19th to coincide with Tim’s conference presentation, includes an overview of what impacts to expect when moving to the cloud across services sales, services delivery, services operations, services engineering, services marketing and product engineering. I think this one section makes the report a “must read” for members, but there’s more great content in the report, including what questions to ask to assess readiness, and a very comprehensive list of support services functional area considerations.

As a proof point of cloud adoption, I was going back over my 2006 technology survey results, and in the most core of support technologies–incident management–only 13% of members were using an OnDemand/SaaS/Cloud solution. In the 2010 survey, that percent has risen to 25%–almost doubled. And, the top installed incident management product has changed from an OnPremise solution in 2006–Oracle Siebel CRM–to an OnDemand solution in 2010–Salesforce.com.

What impact is this having on technology infrastructures? In my view, it is creating an even more fragmented infrastructure, as IT continues to build out CRM/ERP deployments with OnPremise tools, and business users are bringing in OnDemand point solutions with overlapping functionality without doing the required integration work–handicapping both the CRM deployment AND the OnDemand deployment, impacting time to money for both.

Our TSW conference is just a few short weeks away, and I encourage all companies attending to send someone to Tim’s session, and be sure to download a copy of the report when it is published on the 19th. And as always, thanks for reading!