Posted tagged ‘lithium’

Sneak Preview: Case Study Sessions at TSW Santa Clara

April 11, 2014

Sorry I’ve been absent from my blog for a while. My annual technology survey closed on 3/31, and I had 2 weeks to write 10 reports based on the data in order to have them edited and published in time our upcoming Technology Services World Conference in Santa Clara. All the reports are done, and now I’m ready to start working on slides for TSW. Many of the top attended sessions at our conferences come from the case study track, in which TSIA partners and their customers present real-world examples of technologies and services in action. Our conference theme is “Extreme Efficiency,” and the case study sessions will all include a focus on how innovative technology and service providers are driving increased efficiency for service operations.  Here’s a look at the sessions planned so far:

  • Delivering Support thru Technology Skill Groups. Technical Support organizations tend to be characterized by teams with product focus, serial escalation of more difficult problems, and complex workflows. NetApp has embarked on a path to bring the appropriate level of technical assistance as close to the customer as possible while continuing to improve support efficiencies. In this session, PWC and NetApp will share an approach to achieving these goals while servicing a highly demanding, global, extremely heterogeneous customer population. Leaders and practitioners that would like to explore new ways of providing high levels of service in complex technical environments will be interested in this presentation. Speakers: Matt Stone – Director, Customer Success Services, NetApp; and David Yoffie – Customer Impact Consulting Practice, PwC.
  • From C-Suite to Practitioner: Patheon Leverages PSA to Maintain Competitive Edge. In a global climate of outsourcing, services businesses are no longer exclusive to technology organizations. With greater emphasis on speed to market and extension of technical capabilities, one such industry moving more and more towards outsourcing is the pharmaceutical industry. However, there is one characteristic shared by all services organizations – the need to continually improve core KPI’s (revenue and margin) in increasingly competitive environments. Hear how Patheon, a global leader of contract drug development and manufacturing services leverages Changepoint to give it a competitive edge to improve efficiencies in delivery of services and profitability. Temoor Saeed, manager, Global PDS, Business Processes, discusses how Patheon, by strengthening its core operations, has deployed a strategy to drive efficiency improvements throughout its facilities, materials and supporting operations, giving it a broader solution for project delivery within its pharmaceutical development services division. Speakers: Temoor Saeed – Manager, Global PDS, Business Processes, Patheon; and Matt Weick – Director, North American Sales, Changepoint Corporation.
  • Next-Generation B2B Online Community. If you think online communities are just discussion forums, think again. Companies like AppDynamics are stretching the boundaries of a B2B community, encompassing documentation, learning, ideation, app exchange and other elements to create a one-stop shop for sharing and learning. In this session, Steve Levine, Senior Product Manager at AppDynamics, will share the business rationale for creating such a hub and what it took to bring all the right pieces together. Joe Cothrel, Chief Community Officer at Lithium, will set the stage with some observations about B2B trends across Lithium’s global customer base.
  • Power to the People! During an epic 15 year journey, Rackspace® has transformed from an obscure San Antonio start-up into the global leader in hybrid cloud, the founder of OpenStack®, and a constant on Fortune’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For. The home of fanatical support, Rackspace® now operates on four continents and is helping the world through the cloud revolution. Learn how they empowered customers to guide them on this journey by combining trusted disciplines and a fiery culture, with a unique set of tools. Then get a sneak peek into the future as they share their plans for empowering front line employees to drive the next wave of innovation. Speakers: Julian Lopez – Head of Customer Loyalty, Rackspace Hosting, Inc.; and Clayton Sherwood – Business Development Director, Clarabridge.

We are still finalizing abstracts and speakers for a few additional case study sessions, so stay tuned for more updates! Hope to see you in Santa Clara. And as always, thanks for reading!
 

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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!

Social Support Content Featured at Upcoming TSW Conference

August 29, 2013

Our Technology Services World (TSW) Service Transformation Conference is just around the corner, October 21-23 at the Aria in Las Vegas. I am very excited about our new venue, Aria Hotel and Conference Center in City Center, the newest hotel property on the strip with lots of high tech features, including internet everywhere. That’s right, free internet in the hotel and conference center, and those staying at the hotel will even have faster connect speeds than the free option. Hopefully that will encourage attendees to be more social than usual. Get ready to hashtag yourself into a stupor!

Over the last few weeks we have been doing prep calls with speakers, discussing breakout session content and best practices, and we have created a solid group of sessions around various aspects of social support and I wanted to call those out now. If you are active in your company’s social media or online community efforts, or are interested in learning how to get started, here are examples of the social content you can expect to find at TSW:

Monday 10/21

Benchmarking Your Way to Customer Community Success. The first round of breakouts at the conference is the “Power Hour,” with TSIA research leads presenting sessions from 4:15-5:15 on hot topics in each service discipline. My session will give an overview of a new member program I am launching at the event, a benchmark survey for customer communities. Open to all members, this survey covers critical metrics on community size, growth, problem resolution, staffing, technology, etc., and will allow me to have coaching sessions with individual members on how their online communities compare to their peers. In this session, find out what questions are in the survey and how to participate.

Tuesday 10/22

Building a Customer-Centered Business, from the Support Organization Out. Usually many of the top attended sessions at TSW are technology case studies, and I expect this session at 9:45am, presented by SaaS provider Blackbaud and leading community platform vendor, GetSatisfaction, to be standing-room-only, so arrive early for a seat. As a SaaS pioneer in non-profit financial management, Blackbaud differentiates by creating a customer-centered culture. Their service organization leads the charge in this effort by creating and nurturing a base of enthusiastic and supportive customers. Find out how these efforts by the support organization are transforming their business and the results they’re seeing. The presenters are Kristen Gastaldo, Community Manager, Blackbaud, Inc., and Scott Hirsch, VP of Product and Content Marketing, GetSatisfaction.

Stump the Panel: Empowering Service Organizations to Take Community to the Next Level. This panel discussion at 2pm focuses on the strategic value of communities. Though at first communities were seen as a way of lowering support costs, today the emphasis moves beyond deflection to identifying how communities can empower their social-savvy customers through collaboration, with direct ties to product direction, customer satisfaction, loyalty and repurchase. For this session, TSIA has invited three recognized industry experts on customer communities to share their views on the current and future role of communities within technology firms, and to answer your questions, both tactical and strategic, on building, launching and driving adoption for customer communities. Prizes will be awarded to the audience members with the most challenging and thought provoking questions, so this is a great opportunity to bring your biggest community-related challenge and leave the session with a plan of action you can immediately implement. The panelists for the session are Rob Shapiro, Senior Director, Customer Service Technologies, Oracle Corporation; Joseph Cothrel, Chief Community Officer, Lithium Technologies; and Scott Hirsch, VP of Product and Content Marketing, Get Satisfaction.

Social Media: The New Customer Service Channel. This session at 3:30 is presented by Carl Knerr, Services Director at Avaya. Carl has already made a name for himself as a social media expert via the Avaya CONNECTED blog. Check out his series on social media in customer service, which he will expand on in this session. According to Carl, “There is encouraging news that companies see the need to move into social media as a customer support channel. In fact, 80 percent of companies were planning on utilizing social media as part of their customer service strategy by the end of 2012; something they know is important, as 62 percent of their customers are already there. While companies are moving to this space, that does not mean they know how to approach the problem. I’ll cover my ten recommendations on how to proceed.”

Also, for those of you who participate in the Social Champions group, we will have a Social Breakfast of Champions on Wednesday morning, 10/23, beginning at 7:15am in the Expo Theatre. I will be there to answer questions, facilitate discussions, and get to know the champions in real time. For more information on the Champions program and the Champions breakfast, follow this link.

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to seeing all of you at TSW!

 

 

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!

TSW: The Shift To Mobile

October 17, 2012

Yesterday was Day 2 of Technology Services World at the Mirage in Las Vegas, and I hosted a workout session on mobile applications that was a lot of fun. Due to a speaker cancellation  I had to pull together a panel at the very last minute (last Friday!), but the results were terrific. The focus of the session was creating mobile versions of applications for customers and employees. I’m starting to get more questions from members, so wanted to pull together some experts to share their experiences and answer questions from the audience.

My panelists were:

  • Karin Ondricek, Director, Product Marketing, Lithium Technologies, Inc. Lithium, the leading provider of community and social solutions, released mobile applications to allow both customers and employees to interact with the community any time, any place, boosting the collaboration potential.
  • Bill Platt, SVP Operations, Engine Yard. A TSIA member, Engine Yard provides a mobile development platform, so Bill had lots of technical information on the intricacies of developing mobile tools, and the gotchas most companies encounter when they try to build it themselves.
  • Don Brass, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, LogMeIn. TSIA members primarily know LogMeIn as a remote control and desktop sharing solution, but they also have a whole line of mobile products for consumers and the enterprise. I use LogMeIn on my iPad to access my home computer, so I’ve stopped bringing my laptop on some trips. They also offer a Rescue product allowing you to remotely control mobile devices–a huge benefit for supporting mobile customers, or employees.

We kicked off the discussion with the top mobile application FAQs I’ve received from TSIA members:

  • Who should build it? Internal development or a specialist firm? What I learned yesterday is that you may want to own the UI and feature set, but few companies are able to build the back end part of the application. The hard part is making sure the data and processing is happening on your server–not the mobile device–and still offer fast performance.
  • What platforms should we cover? This is a hard one for many companies, because you want to cover as many devices as possible to encourage adoption, but the droid world remains unstable, with 50+ OS versions to deal with, and lots of device specific requirements. The panel’s advice was to survey customers to find the most popular devices and prioritize your development list.
  • How much functionality is enough? Recreate everything or basic flows? Everyone seemed to agree that going with minimal functionality in the first version makes sense, so you can get your feet wet in a small pond before jumping in the ocean. But again, consider involving customers to make sure some key feature isn’t left out, dissuading adoption.
  • How much support traffic is generated for mobile application help/support? Is self-service enough, or is assisted support required? None of the panelists have found that support volume increases measurably with the introduction of a mobile app, perhaps because the primary demographic for mobile users are also more prone to try self-service or peer support, not assisted support.

I’d like to thank the panelists for stepping in at the last minute and doing such a great job, and I’d also like to thank the audience for their interest and all the great questions and comments.

And as always, thanks for reading!