Archive for October 2013

TechBEST and STAR Awards Recap: TSW Closing Award Ceremony

October 29, 2013

Last week’s Technology Services World Conference closed on Wednesday with the awards luncheon, and I wanted to recap the winners of the TechBest Best in Adoption and Best in Show Awards, as well as the TSIA members who won STAR Awards.

Aria Convention Center, Ready for Awards Luncheon

The TechBEST Awards recognize outstanding performance by TSIA partners, and are awarded at our Spring and Fall conferences. For Fall 2013, there were 2 awards: TechBEST Best in Adoption, and TechBEST Best in Show. There were three finalists for Best in Adoption, based on which partners had the largest increase in adoption year-over-year in my annual TSIA Member Technology Survey. The three finalists were Citrix, Compuware and Coveo. The TechBEST Best in Adoption winner was Compuware for their Changepoint Professional Services Automation (PSA) platform, which has seen rapidly rising adoption as spending on PSA has increased. The Wall Street Journal even carried the press release here.

The TechBEST Best in Show award is voted on by conference attendees, representing the partner who provided the best experience in the TSW Expo, i.e., the most compelling demo, the best booth experience, the best value proposition, etc. The winner of the Fall 2013 TechBEST Best in Show was LivePerson, whose software and services create meaningful, real time customer connections that help businesses increase conversions and improve consumer experience. Congratulations to LivePerson who had great booth traffic, lots of buzz about their demos, as well as a standing-room only in their Expo Theatre session!

Next up were the TSIA STAR Awards, recognizing companies that display exceptional leadership, innovation, and commitment in both service excellence and in developing and implementing industry-leading practices. Since its inception in 1990, the STAR Awards have become one of the highest honors in the service and support industry, acknowledging the contribution of companies of all sizes to the continual improvement of service and support delivery industry-wide. To win a STAR Award, TSIA member companies must submit an official application, which are judged by an executive committee consisting of TSIA Advisory Board members and TSIA Research staff. The following STAR Awards were presented for Fall 2013:

  • Innovation in the Delivery of Support Services: Oracle
  • Innovation in the Delivery of Managed Services: Digital Hands
  • Innovation in the Delivery of Field Service: Hewlett Packard Managed Print Services
  • Innovation in Service Offer Development: McAfee Consumer Support
  • Innovation in Leveraging Technology for Service Excellence: EMC Corporation
  • Innovation in Enabling Customer Success/Support Services: Cisco Systems
  • Innovation in Enabling Customer Success/Service Revenue Generation: Salesforce
  • Innovation in Enabling Customer Success/Professional Services: Nice Systems
  • Innovation in Enabling Customer Success/Education Services: Cisco
  • Innovation in Customer Commitment: EMC

For all you TSIA members, stay tuned for my writeup of “why they won,” providing information behind each of these STAR Awards. That report should be published within a few weeks after review and approval by each winner.

I was a bit sorry to see TSW come to a close. It was our largest event ever with more than 1100 attendees, and the new conference location, at the Aria Resort and Convention Center, was a real class act. I’d like to congratulate all the TechBEST and STAR Award winners, and I’d like to thank everyone at TSIA and among our membership who made the conference a big success. And thanks to you, as always, for reading my blog! See you at TSW Spring in Santa Clara on May 5, 2014!


TSW Top Attended Sessions: Day 3

October 24, 2013

Our intrepid events manager, Christi Holzer, is so ahead of the curve she already sent me the session counts for today, the final day of Technology Services World.  I started Day 3 with the Social Breakfast of Champions, and really enjoyed the discussion. I appreciate the brave folks who overcame Las Vegas inertia to make our 7am meeting! We then had the final keynote of the event, from my boss Thomas Lah, as well as a couple of rounds of breakout sessions, prior to the closing awards ceremony.

Here’s a look at the 5 top attended sessions from today:

  1. Value-Driven Support: Shifting from Output to Outcomes. Pitney Bowes has been on a five-year journey to transform its support organization into an award-winning business service for its customers. By focusing on customer adoption and realized value, the Pitney Bowes support organization has seen a dramatic improvement in customer satisfaction and loyalty. In this session, attendees learned how to retool their organizations to deliver on the only thing that really matters: creating successful customer outcomes. Presenters were Jesse Hoobler, Director, Worldwide Software Support, Pitney Bowes Software; Michael McLasky, Manager, Pitney Bowes Software; and Joanne Weigel, Sr. Director, TSIA.
  2. Customer Success: Lifecycle Account Management. In this session, Tony Brucha, director of Customer Success for Cisco WebEx, described the evolution of the Customer Success organization since the acquisition and integration of WebEx in 2007. Brucha  described the Customer Success model, discussed the Strategic Customer Care framework supported by the Consumption Economics model used to deliver business results and outcomes, and defined the Customer Success Lifecycle Account Management Process executed by the organization’s Customer Success Manager (CSM) teams globally.
  3. Transforming Customer Experience by Interlocking Support Services and Product Development. The IT industry is undergoing a historical transition. Cloud, BYOD, IPv6, video, mobility, and social networking are reshaping what traditional support looks like, moving it from boxes to solutions. It’s imperative for support services to serve as the voice of the customer—and to drive the right engagement model with product development. This session, led by Danny Montejano, Senior Director, Technical Services, Cisco Systems; and Ken O’Reilly, VP, Research, Support and Field Services, TSIA; educated the audience about how Cisco has orchestrated a tight partnership between its global support organization and its largest product development group.
  4. Support and Engineering: Forming New Partnerships to Drive Customer Success. Presented by Marylon McGinnis, SVP Global Support, Infor Global Solutions, this session described how Infor Xtreme Support and Engineering are joining forces to change the way support is provided in the industry today. Infor is delivering innovation in its products to ensure its customers are successful in running their businesses. Working with Infor Development, Infor Support is delivering innovation in its support toolset to help resolve customer issues faster, provide more proactive support, and facilitate stronger collaboration between customers and our support analysts.
  5. Upsell and Cross-Sell: Leveraging Your Consultants to Capture Untapped Revenue Potential. Companies like Corptax are increasingly leveraging consulting and service delivery resources in a dual role that includes sales. This can increase customer touch points, add clarity to customer business problem understanding, create a stronger services sales arm, and drive increased revenue—but it’s not without challenges. This session detailed important steps for achieving success in this dual-role environment, such as selection, skill development, competitive differentiation, and value selling. Stuart Dodd, vice president and general manager of professional services for Corptax, and Kyle Andrews, Principal, Pretium Partners presented a case study on this process and the measurable results.

Thanks to all our presenters for your hard work in creating and delivering such excellent content for our members. And as always, thanks for reading!

TSW Top Attended Sessions: Day 2

October 23, 2013

I won’t lie, Day 2 at TSW was a long day. We started with Champion breakfast networking sessions at 7am, and went all day until the Expo closed at 7pm. There were many rounds of breakout sessions, with as many as 16 concurrent sessions in some time slots. With so many sessions to choose from, it is especially interesting to see which sessions had the most attendees–clearly indicating the top business issues companies are trying to solve. Here are the five sessions from Day 2 with the highest attendance:

  1. Analytics for Results: The Real Way from Customer Feedback to Customer Loyalty. This session was presented by TSIA Partner Michael Clarkin, Vice President Global Marketing and Product Services, Sykes Enterprises. Creating the right environment for analytics to flourish and contribute to the organization’s goals requires thoughtful design and intelligent data interpretation, built upon good science. Whether you want to identify what triggers customers to buy more or defect to your competition, or you need to understand why a product or service is failing to achieve expected results, analytics should always lead to the end result of actionable knowledge. This session, built upon years of analysis and studies across many sectors, examined what analytics really is, and why the investment is a strategic imperative. Michael and I recently did a webcast on this topic, so if you’d like to see an OnDemand version of the top attended session, here’s a link.
  2. Building a Customer-Centered Business, from the Support Organization Out. There was tremendous buzz about this session and I’m already getting emails asking when the videotaped version will be available. Online communities elevate the voice-of-customer across organizational silos, propelling companies to transition to more customer-centric business models. Support organizations are uniquely positioned to lead the charge by acting as the catalyst for community adoption, management, and reporting. Scott Hirsch from Get Satisfaction, and two Get Satisfaction customers, Kristin Gastaldo, community manager at Blackbaud, and Nathan Roth, senior manager of digital and social at Koodo Mobile, discussed how they’re tactically implementing community to achieve their strategic goals of differentiating from the competition by delivering truly excellent customer experiences.
  3. Innovative Online Support: Harness the Power of Information and Empower Customer Self-Help. In this session, presented by Julie Larsen, Vice President of eServices, EMC Corporation examined the importance of investing in innovative capabilities to meet multiple sources of demand and address diverse service channels. Julie discussed four key components of creating an innovative, proactive, and personalized online support strategy to evolve and transform your support organization.
  4. Driving Service Delivery Excellence through Voice-of-the-Customer Analytics. Another partner case study, this session was presented by Matt Wroblewski, Director, Market Research for VWR International, and Roger Woolley, VP, Solutions Marketing, Verint Systems. Many organizations are implementing voice-of-the-customer (VOC) programs to capture and assess customer comments and sentiments across multiple communications channels—but, it’s a complex job. So how do you get started? Verint Systems and VWR International shared how VWR implemented a VOC program to help deliver superior service and improve productivity for its customers and suppliers. Details included how VWR International built a best-practices model for managing quarterly customer relationship and Net Promoter Score® surveys, and leveraged feedback from customer service, technical support, and web touchpoints.
  5. Turbo-Charging Your Revenue Engine: Building Service Pricing Capabilities. As the role of services grows within tech companies, as products themselves are sold as services, pricing capabilities shift from “nice to have” to vital. So how do you develop those organizational capabilities? What capabilities should you develop first? Where should those capabilities reside? How do you know it is time for your organization to change? What kinds of pricing problems should you tackle first? In this discussion, Randy Wootton, VP, Premier Products for introduced participants to Salesforce’s Pricing Maturity Model as a framework for evaluating your current pricing practices and envisioning next steps in growth.

I started today with our Breakfast of Social Champions, and the conference closes with our awards luncheon. I’ll be back after the conference with updates on the award winners. For now, thanks for reading and thanks for supporting TSIA!

Social Day at TSW: Customer Communities Providing Strategic Value

October 23, 2013

Yesterday at TSIA’s Technology Services World Conference we featured a full day’s worth of social content, consisting of presentations, case studies and panel discussions around online customer communities and social media. I’ve heard some of the sessions were standing room only, so I look forward to seeing the actual attendance counts for the sessions. (Stay tuned for a post on top attended sessions from yesterday.)

I moderated 2 sessions yesterday that were both interactive, and it is always enlightening to see what questions are asked by the audience. The first session was a panel discussion, “Stump the Panel: Empowering Service Organizations to Take Community to the Next Level,” with some real-heavy hitter panelists. Rob Shapiro drives social strategy within Oracle services, and has lots of hands-on experience managing expert communities. Joseph Cothrel from Lithium Technologies has been a community advocate for a decade now, with a deep understanding of B2B support communities. Scott Hirsch from Get Satisfaction rounded out the panel; Get Satisfaction won the 2013 Vision Award at Service Revolutions at our Spring event for their innovative community platform.

Each panelist gave a short presentation, then we opened it up for audience questions. We had a good discussion on topics including how to screen and recruit social savvy employees, how to encourage use and adoption by both employees and customers, private vs. public communities, and a lot more. We awarded $25 casino chips to the audience members who asked the most thought provoking questions.

My 2nd session was “Social Media: The New Customer Service Channel,” with Carl Knerr Director of Services Offer Management for Avaya. Carl gave a great overview of social media channels and use cases for customer interaction. What I took away from the session was even though B2B companies don’t have as many use cases for supporting customers via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., there are customer conversations about your products happening in these channels, often with very visible and influential customers, and you are ignoring them to your peril.

I believe that customer community management is a key capability that service operations have to master. While I’ve talked to a few companies who have executive support and guidance for social programs, unfortunately many companies have yet to see the light regarding social, viewing it as just another channel. But at this conference I’ve heard example after example of how communities are becoming critical elements in customer relationships, identifying passionate customers to help you in renewal cycles, providing valuable insight into customer impacts to help prioritize bugs and enhancement requests, as well as some early data indicating customers active in communities are more satisfied and loyal than customers who are not socially engaged.

And as I always say, if your customers aren’t demanding this today, tomorrow’s customers will absolutely be insisting on community collaboration, and we are hearing that more firms are evaluating a vendor’s community as part of product selection.

Thanks to everyone who attended our social sessions and asked questions and participated in discussions! Always great to see passion around a topic! And as always, thanks for reading!

TSIA’s Newest Member Program: Community Benchmark Is Now Live!

October 22, 2013

Yesterday at TSIA’s Technology Services World Conference I launched a new program for members, a community benchmark program. Targeting online customer support communities, TSIA member companies can take the survey and then receive a one hour meeting with me to see how their community processes, technology and performance metrics compare to the industry and their peers.

With 72% of members now having a customer community, I felt we had enough adoption to start drilling down into the details of the programs to identify best practices and pacesetter practices. The TSIA benchmark philosophy is linking practices to results: if you look at the companies with the highest performance metrics, what are the tools and processes they have in common that are enabling this success? To my knowledge, there is no other source for this information currently, so I’m hoping my new benchmark program will be a unique data set offering valuable insights.

To develop the survey, I started with the data I had on what social metrics companies tracked, then asked my Social Champions co-chairs to send me the lists of metrics they tracked for their communities, and I also asked 2 of our partners, Get Satisfaction and Lithium, what metrics they recommend their customers track. After a few rounds of reviews and edits, I launched a pilot in September to test the survey, and yesterday in my Power Hour session I launched to the entire TSIA membership.

The survey consists of questions in the following categories: Contact Information, Demographics, Community Size, Community Activity, Reputation/Influence, Issue Resolution, Community Staffing, Cost, Community Practices, and Technology. In total, there are 47 questions, meeting my goal of 50 questions or less.

TSIA members who want more information can check out this OnDemand webcast which goes into detail on each survey question and how to participate. Hopefully by our Spring conference I’ll have some initial data to share.

Hope to have you join the community benchmark program. And thanks for reading!

TSW: Top Attended Sessions from Day 1

October 22, 2013

Yesterday was the opening day at TSIA’s Technology Services World Conference at the beautiful Aria in Las Vegas. This is our first year at Aria and boy, what an upgrade. This is the newest property on the strip, very high tech, and the first conference center I’ve ever been to that had internet everywhere. Hallelujah!

We had one round of breakout sessions yesterday, led by members of our research team. I always say when it comes to hot topics, people vote with their feet. So I like to look at which sessions had the highest attendance each day. The five top attended sessions yesterday were:

Transform and Control the Customer Experience. This session focused on the importance of transforming and taking control of the customer experience. While consumer firms have been very savvy about managing the customer experience across the entire customer lifecycle, B2B firms still mainly focus on siloed CSAT scores by department, with no one monitoring the entire customer experience across marketing, sales, professional services, education services, support services, field services, etc.

The Emerging Profiles of Technology Professional Services Organizations (and the Services Capabilities You Must Master in Order to Adapt and Transform). Professional services (PS) businesses are rapidly adapting to the new tech economy realities, defending and protecting even as they are transforming. We are witnessing two worlds of tech economics as they coexist, often within the same companies, and definitely within the same technology sectors. New PS profiles are emerging, new capabilities are arising, and new pressures are being exerted on well-known capabilities.  This session looked at two issues:  What are these emerging models? and What services capabilities will be required for success?

From “Compulsory Services” to Delivering Real Business Value to Customers: It’s a Journey, So Act Now! This session focused on new service capabilities that are needed for success in the future, particularly relating to service revenue generation. Topics included Understanding customers’ business priorities with respect to growing their revenue, optimizing their cost structures, and complying with their industry’s regulatory requirements; Identifying which services you can bring to bear in order to help customers accelerate on their business priorities; Pricing these new services to reflect the additional business value you will deliver to customers; and Making the training investments in your product sales reps, service sales specialists, and renewal teams to effectively position and sell these new services.

Transformation of the Global Support Services Organizational Structure. The global economy, consumption economics, new service offerings, and cloud services have had a major impact on how service organizations are structured. This session examined how these factors are transforming support services organizations to meet the demands of the customer, the challenges this is creating for our member companies, how the organizations are structured around the globe, and what new roles our organization is taking on.

Identifying High ROI Questions to Be Answered by Consumption Analytics. Consumption analytics identifies tactics and offerings that boost the value of your services to the end customer by answering the what, when, and why questions regarding the customer experience. But which questions will uncover the highest ROI for your services organization? This session introduced TSIA’s framework for building a service analytics capability, addressing the overall framework and the research agenda. Afterward, with a small panel of members and partners, there was a discussion about how service organizations can build a high-priority question inventory to lay the foundation for their own consumption analytics capability.

I’ll be back with more TSW updates soon! And as always, thanks for reading!

Announcing Finalists for TSIA TechBest in Adoption: Citrix, Compuware, Coveo

October 21, 2013

Each Spring I launch the TSIA Member Technology Survey, which tracks adoption, satisfaction, and planned spending across 24 categories of tools and services common within service operations. The survey reveals which solutions are most popular with TSIA members, and it is interesting to find out which vendors see growing adoption. One thing is certain: When the percent of members using a particular solution sharply rises, it indicates that provider has the right messaging, the right tools, and the right price for technology service organizations. Proven success within the TSIA membership means the solution meets the business needs of users, is delivering value, and doesn’t require extensive implementation or customization to be effective.

Comparing the results from 2012 and 2013, the three TSIA partners that saw the largest increase in member adoption are Citrix, Compuware, and Coveo. These three firms represent the finalists in the 2013 TechBEST Best in Adoption Award and will be interviewed in the TechBEST Showcase that opens Technology Services World today in the EXPO Theater. The partner with the highest year-over-year gain in adoption will be named the winner during the closing Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, October 23.

  • 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 any-where. 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, GoToTraining, GoToWebinar, GoToMyPC, Podio, and ShareFile. Learn more at
  • Compuware Changepoint allows organizations to maximize professional services profitability and maintain a focus on effective product decisions and delivery. Changepoint’s PSA solution includes powerful business analytics and mobility, providing total operational visibility and control over the services portfolio. Services organizations can manage every aspect of their business with Changepoint, from customer acquisition, to services delivery, through to project financial control. Changepoint customers achieve strong margins, manage projects and resources with greater efficiency, deliver a competitive product and services mix, and maintain top-line revenues and bottom-line profitability. Examples of Changepoint customers include Altum, Circle Software, Innovaost, Kana, Patheon, Priocept, Sage, Steria, and Ziggo. Learn more at
  • Coveo makes companies more relevant and responsive to their customers by providing technology that delivers, in real time, the most relevant, context-aware information for every employee and every customer. Coveo’s revolutionary Search & Relevance technology takes knowledge management to a new, more relevant level by securely connecting with and harnessing an organization’s big, fragmented data from any combination of cloud, social, and on-premise systems. For example, with Coveo for Salesforce, case-relevant knowledge from anywhere (social, on-premise and cloud-based systems) is presented directly into the agent’s context, related to the case at hand: solutions to similar cases, knowledge articles, relevant communications, even experts who can help. Technology companies including Deltek, EXFO, Tokyo Electron America, and SunGard use Coveo to inject more relevant knowledge into customer service interactions, personalize online experiences, and radically boost knowledge management initiatives. Learn more at

I’ll be intereviewing the finalists today at 11:30 in the Expo. Hope to see you there! And as always, thanks for reading!