Archive for May 2013

Results from the 2013 Member Technology Survey: High Planned Spending for 2nd Year

May 29, 2013

Tomorrow I’ll be leading a webcast to share the results of my 2013 Member Technology Survey. The webcast is open to everyone, and all attendees will receive a copy of my 2013 Technology Heatmap research report, so please register and attend! I wanted to give a sneak preview of some of the survey highlights. The survey covers 24 categories of tools used by service organizations, tracking the adoption, satisfaction, and planned spending for each category. In addition to technology, I also have categories for outsourcing/service providers and business consultants.

First of all, a big thank you to everyone who took the time to fill out the survey. We had a stretch goal of 500 responses, and we receive many more than that. It is a great data set and I really appreciate the time involved in completing the survey. We had a good distribution of responses across support, field service, professional services and education services; as well as a good showing–about a third of responses–from Europe.

A number of technology categories saw increases over 2012 adoption numbers, including areas with high planned spending last year which tells me that spending materialized. In particular, we saw big increases in adoption of professional services automation (PSA), analytic platforms, communities for customers and employees, and outsourcing.

Satisfaction levels were low again this year, and I have a theory about this I’m going to test in tomorrow’s webcast. Tune in and find out my hypothesis! The lowest rated category was contract management tools, with an average of 3.29 on a 5 point scale. I’ve discussed this with Julia Stegman, our VP of research for service revenue generation (SRG), and we think this indicates that legacy contract tools may be good for entitlement, but they do a lousy job of automating the renwals process, and a number of specialists are now dominating this side of contract management. I’m considering splitting contract management into 2 categories (entitlement management and renwals management) for the 2014 survey to get more granular information in this area.

Of course I’d like to mention that the satisfaction ratings were not all gloom and doom. A number of our partners received 4.0 ratings or higher, including the finalists in our TechBEST Best in Satisfaction awards presented a couple of weeks ago at TSW Santa Clara: Citrix, DB Kay & Associates, and MARKETii. The winner was DB Kay, with an average satisfaction score of 4.44. Excellent job and big congrats to David Kay and Jennifer Crippen, who do such great work with our members.

I will close the webcast with a look at planned spending for 2013-2014, revealing which areas have the highest planned spending by members. Last year saw record planned spending, and this year’s results are almost as high. Nearly half of the survey categories reported planned spending by 50% or more of survey respondents, and each of these areas has a direct tie to improving productivity and/or generating revenue.

Again, here’s the link to register for tomorrow’s 9am PT webcast. Hope to see you there! And as always, thanks for reading!


Day 2 of TSW: Top Attended Sessions. Technology Case Studies and Business Makeovers Are Hot!

May 8, 2013

Yesterday was Day 2 of Technology Services World Best Practicesin Santa Clara, and I’m back to give you a list of the top attended sessions. We had a lot of variety in the focus of sessions yesterday, including a technology case study track, “business makeover” sessions, and collaborative workout sessions. Here were the top 10 attended sessions yesterday:

  1. Business Makeover Case Studies – Support Services. This was the #1 top attended session yesterday with 169 attendees–a big crowd. Ken O’Reilly, our VP of support services research, hosted, with an expert panel including Chrisophe Bodin, VP and GM, Maintenance and Customer Support, BMC Software; Marco Bill-Peter, VP Global Support Services, Redhat; Randy Wootton, VP, Premier Success Plans, Customers for Life,; Jim Robbins, Director of Continuous Improvement, Brocade; as well as me! Great questions, good discussion, and the fun part was we didn’t all agree with each other, which always makes for a better conversation.
  2. The Road to Loyalty: Engagement Throughout the Customer Journey. This session was presented by Barry Lamm from LivePerson, and focused on moving interactions to less expensive channels, and the reporting and monitoring required to make it work. I’ve had the pleasure of doing webcasts with Barry and he has a wealth of high volume call center experience and brings great insight into the world of service technology.
  3. Achieving Better Visibility into PS Operations, Project Performance and Financials. This session, presented by Pat Garrett – Director, Project Management Office, Experis; and Tom Donnelly – Regional Sales Director, Compuware Corporation; provided a case study in how Experis benefitted from improved visibility and decision making by implementing a “best of breed” PSA (professional services automation) solution.
  4. Business Makeover Case Studies – Professional Services. This panel discussion was hosted by our VP of research for PS, Bo Di Muccio, but unfortunately I don’t have a list of his panelists. These business makeover sessions are unique to TSIA events because our members “open the kimono” to discuss their challenges and get input from peers–including competitors. A really powerful example of an association at work.
  5. Extracting Meaningful Customer Feedback and Using It. Also a technology case study session, featuring Nicole Allen – Customer Insights Group, Manager, Acer America Corporation; and Ian Wright – Business Development Director, Clarabridge; this session profiled Acer’s voice of the customer (VOC) program, showing how a global PC company extracts meaningful feedback from multiple sources, and leverages it to improve products and the customer experience.
  6. The Building Blocks to Optimize Your Recurring Revenue Business. Our members love case study sessions! This one was presented by Dan Biasotti – Sr. Director, Global Support Renewals, VMware; and Frank Lucier – Director, Customer Success, ServiceSource, Inc., and talked about how to identify the gaps and opportunity areas in your renewals business using an end-to–end business process blueprint.
  7. Business Makeover Case Studies – Service Revenue Generation. This session was hosted by our VP of research for service revenue generation (SRG), Julia Stegman, with a panel of experts (again, sorry I don’t have the list of panelists) discussing challenges with pricing, renewals, contract tools, etc.
  8. Transform Technology Support into a Loyalty-Building Engine: The Power of Advanced Remote Monitoring. This technology case study was presented by Jennifer Kuckelman – Director of Global Support Services, Perceptive Software, LLC; and Michael Cush – CTO, ISOdx Solutions, LLC. Jennifer explained the key financial and performance metrics Perceptive is using to measure success and describe the people, processes and technologies Perceptive is bringing to bear to transform its support team.
  9. Proactive Services: How to Get Started. This session hosted by Ken O’Reilly included some great panelists (Joe Ward – Director of Customer Support & Services, Sage; Lewis Rubinstein – Director, Support Services, Enterprise Portfolio Management, Motorola Solutions; and Sydney Garrett – Director, Global Service Delivery Excellence, Cisco Systems) discussing the capabilities of proactive support tools and how to effectively incorporate them into support operations.
  10. Social Support 2013: Lithium and Symantec Norton. Rounding out the top 10 attended sessions yesterday was this technology case study presented by Tony Weiss – Norton Forums Global Community Manager, Consumer Products & Solutions, Symantec; and Joseph Cothrel – Chief Community Officer, Lithium Technologies; showing how Symantec Norton’s social support effort has served as a model for many companies beginning the social support journey. Initiated as a platform for customers to help customers, Norton’s communities have matured into a key source of customer insight, and as a way for the company to share timely and accurate information.

Thanks to all the great presenters, and thanks to all the attendees who voted with butts in seats! And as always, thanks for reading!

TSW Day One: Top Attended Sessions

May 7, 2013

Yesterday was the official opening of Technology Services World Best Practices in Santa Clara. I haven’t seen the final registration count, but we have around 800 attendees. I kicked off the conference yesterday with our TechFUTURES event and the TechBEST Showcase. The TechFUTURES event was so much fun–we moved the audience forward to 2018 and looked at how support operations had changed, particularly around social media, knowledge management, mobility and customer experience. Great presentations and audience response. Now everyone is teasing me about the slide of me as “Rip Van Ragsdale.”

I just received the session counts from yesterday’s breakout sessions, and I always like to do a blog post showing which topics received the most attendees. Obviously conference attendees vote with their feet, so this is a good way to figure out which topics are “top of mind” for the audience.  The five top attended sessions from Day One of TSW were:

  • Best Practices for Retaining and Upselling Customers. No big surprise, the top attended session with over 100 attendees was focused on revenue generation. Presented by Julia Stegman, TSIA’s VP of research for Service Revenue Generation, this session looked at industry performance with renewal rates and upsell rates for recurring service revenues, based on Julia’s SRG benchmark work.
  • The 2013 TSIA Technology Heatmap: Service Technology Adoption, Spending and Inquiry Trends. I’m tickled that my session was the 2nd top attended session. I hosted this session with Edly Villanueva, one of our member success representatives, who was a great presenter and a lot of fun to work with. I presented findings from my annual Member Technology Survey, and Edly and I talked about top inquiry topics across service disciplines and gave a pitch to the audience to submit more inquiries!
  • Linking Service Business Challenges to Service Optimization. This session was presented by TSIA’s Operational Best Practices (OBP) team of Joanne Weigel, Charles Thomas and Tom Pridham, who shared their global perspectives on known best practices, what they are and why they are important ingredients to a successful Support, Field or Professional service business.
  • How to Transform Your Support Organization into a Knowledge Management Machine! We always have at least 1 KM title in the Top 5! This session, presented by Jeremy Largman, Knowledge Management Program Manager, Atlassian, discussed techniques to get past the common pitfalls with change across the organization. I’m doing a workout session today with Jeremy and looking forward to it!
  • Picasso and Einstein: Best Practices in Content Development. It is great to see an education services session make it into the top attended sessions! Presented by Maria Manning Chapman, TSIA’s Senior Director for ES, this session presented research conducted earlier this year outlining best practices for approaching the content development process, timeliness to market, options for managing the expense of content development, metrics to gauge success and how volume of offerings is a key indicator of the level of science required to produce a work of art.

Stay tuned for more updates live from TSW! And as always, thanks for reading!

Announcing TSIA TechBEST Finalists: Citrix, DB Kay & Associates, MARKETii

May 6, 2013

According to the TSIA Benchmark, customer satisfaction with enterprise software averages 4.2 on a five-point scale (with 1 representing very unsatisfied and 5 representing very satisfied). It is troubling, then, that the satisfaction scores for the 24 categories covered in the TSIA Member Technology Survey range from a low of 3.29 to a high of 3.96—all are under the industry average of 4.2. However, if you look at individual satisfaction scores by vendor, multiple bright spots emerge. In fact, multiple partners received scores above 4.0, with one partner scoring an average of 4.44, well above the industry average of 4.2. The three partners with the highest satisfaction scores are named finalists in the TechBEST Best in Satisfaction Award.

Today at the Technology Services World Conference, I interviewed the TechBEST Best in Satisfaction finalists in the Santa Clara Convention Center theatre to kickoff Technology Services World:

  • Citrix. Citrix is transforming how people, businesses, and IT work and collaborate in the cloud era. The Citrix GoTo cloud services portfolio powers mobile workstyles, allowing companies to work with anyone from anywhere. Its GoToTraining product is an easy-to-use online training service that allows you to move your live instructor-led training programs online. Reach more learners, collect real-time feedback, record and store your training sessions and more—all while slashing travel costs. With GoToAssist, companies are able to deliver amazing support experiences and maintain maximum uptime of people, their devices, and apps. GoToAssist seamlessly integrates web collaboration with technical support and remote monitoring tools to remove support complexities, drive efficiencies, and reduce costs. Using all three capabilities together makes it simple for support professionals to identify, ticket, and quickly resolve issues. Citrix also offers other services purpose-built for collaboration and remote access that include GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, GoToMyPC, Podio, and ShareFile. Learn more at
  • DB Kay & Associates. DB Kay & Associates, Inc., helps support organizations create sustainable knowledge programs. The firm consults and trains to drive best practices and sway internal stakeholders, reducing risk and accelerating success. DB Kay provides measurement frameworks that help organizations develop their team members and show value to their executives. They tailor their services to their customers’ specific needs, offering everything from short strategy sessions to hands-on program management. Whatever the engagement, they know they’ve been successful when they’ve transferred knowledge effectively enough that their customers no longer need them! DB Kay customers include Sage, IBM, Carestream, Riverbed, Microsoft, and NetApp. For more information, go to
  • MARKETii. MARKETii specializes in end-to-end customer satisfaction and service quality assessment and reporting solutions covering event-based and business relationship surveys via telephone and web surveys, along with mystery calling. MARKETii operates in over 25 native languages to over 85 countries. Reporting is via multilayer, real-time web portal and proactive summaries, action items, and recommendations. Advanced reporting comes with the aid of call recording, culture indices, NPS, Strategic Priority Analysis, Service Correlations, and tech support call-reduction analysis. MARKETii works with companies such as Hitachi Data Systems, Ricoh, HP, Extreme Networks, Agilent, and many more. The company has never lost a client since its inception! For more information, go to

Congratulations to each of our finalists, each of whom is clearly doing a great job in meeting and exceeding customer expectations, and creating excellent customer experiences. I will announce the winner of TechBEST Best in Satisfaction during the awards ceremony at Service Revolutions on Wednesday. Stay tuned for details. Thanks for reading!

Join us live for TechFUTURES in Santa Clara!

May 2, 2013

Last fall at our Technology Services World Conference in Las Vegas, the question I asked everyone I talked to was, “What does the support desk of the future look like?” What I heard were lots of elements that are quickly evolving, and will definitely be different in 3 or 5 or 10 years. Social media and rising customer clout were voiced by many people. Impacts of mobility–on how we service customers and how customers consume our products–is another game changer. Remote workers becoming the predominate model for support was also on the minds of many people. And other people expressed concern that many of today’s challenges, such as knowledge management, will only get worse in the years to come.

Out of these dialogs grew a new TSIA event, TechFUTURES, which will open our Spring TSW conference on Monday at 11:00am at the Santa Clara Convention Center. TechFUTURES presents a day in the live of a support technician, and the day in the life of a technology customer, in the year 2018. We will look at how things will change in respect to four specific areas:

  • Social media. How will social media shape customer conversations, especially as Generation Y becomes the primary demographic for employees and customers? After seven years of investment, TSIA members are finally starting to see ROI for social initiatives. How will customer communities, as well as current and future social media channels, allow service operations to accommodate ever-growing customer demand for support without infinite scaling of service employees?
  • Knowledge and content management. With the amount of content exploding due to rising complexity and faster release cycles, how can future service employees navigate an impossibly large knowledge infrastructure? Tomorrow’s corporate content store will be even larger and more dispersed than today, creating challenges for service organizations to find what they need quickly and efficiently. How can knowledge tools become more intelligent, anticipating our needs and proactively serving content to employees and customers?
  • Mobility. The mobile revolution has quickly moved customers from desktops and laptops to smartphones and tablets, with a myriad of smaller and smarter devices on the horizon. As customers become inseparable from technology, their expectations for service continue to rise. As more sophisticated mobile devices proliferate, and mobile applications become the predominate way customers access our technology, how do we effectively support this increasingly mobile customer?
  • Customer experience. With the customer quickly gaining clout and visibility, how will the customer experience movement impact service operations in five to ten years? With the push toward managed services, how can next-generation remote and proactive support technology radically change the customer ownership experience? Where can we make investments today to better enable the ultimate customer experience in the future?

I will open TechFUTURES and then turn things over to our panelists, each an expert on one of these areas, who will present their vision of the future. Our experts are:

  • Social Media: Joe Cothrel, Chief Community Officer, Lithium
  • Knowledge and Content Management: Diane Berry, SVP, Marketing and Communications, Coveo
  • Mobility: John Purcell, Director, Products, LogMeIn
  • Customer Experience: Anthony (T.J.) Felice, President, ISOdx Solutions

After the 4 presentations, each audience member will vote live for what they think is the most provocative view of the future, using hand held response units provided in each seat. I will announce the winner during the awards ceremony at Service Revolutions on Wednesday at the close of the conference.

If you are interested in attending TechFUTURES, attendance is included with your TSW registration. If you aren’t attending TSW, TechFUTURES is open to the public and you can register and get an entry badge at the TSW registration area in the rotunda. I’m really looking forward to this new event, and hope to see you there! Thanks as always for reading!