3 Tips for a Successful Professional Services Organization: Part 2

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Adoption_PlaybookIn my previous post in this three-part blog series, I talked about how the state of the industry is affecting professional services and outlined the three capabilities professional services organizations (PSOs) need to develop in order to stay ahead, starting with new offer development. In this post, I will go over the next capability on the list and why it’s so crucial to the future success of a PSO: adoption playbook. 

Changes to the Customer-Supplier Relationship

In order to move from being a Level 2 to a Level 3 supplier, technology companies are finding themselves partnering with their customers in new ways. Specifically, they are now playing a more active role in monitoring the consumption of their technology and ensuring their customers receive the desired value from the solutions they purchase. Making sure customers are effectively using the technology solutions they have bought is known as “adoption services.” (Tweet this!) Every tech firm will need to provide them in one form or another if they’re to successfully adapt to this shift in the customer-supplier relationship. 

Tip #2: Design Your Adoption Playbook

The first step to developing the right adoption services starts with outlining an “adoption playbook.” (Tweet this!) This is a set of concepts, tools, skills, metrics, processes, and offers that help customers consume technology solutions in a way that allows them to successfully achieve their desired goals. Unfortunately, few PS organizations currently have a formal methodology in place to ensure product adoption.  

While today’s technology suppliers and their accompanying PS organizations are full of technical experts who have deep knowledge of products, they may have far less understanding about how to get specific business outcomes out of those products. In short, developing a true, deliverable adoption playbook is easier said than done.

In order to become a capable, successful supplier of adoption services, I recommend you first refer to my previous post on new offer development, but here’s a short overview of the kinds of adoption services you can offer:

Consumption Monitoring

Consumption monitoring is an annuity service offered by the customer support organization designed to report to the customer on current adoption or utilization levels. This service should report on end-user adoption (EUA) levels, feature or capability adoption, and volumes. Ideally, this reporting should trend actual results rather than the intended results of the adoption plan.

Consumption Optimization

This is an annuity service offered by the customer support organization (both central support and field services) designed to intervene with end-users, or even with the technology itself, in order to optimize a customer’s business outcomes through widespread use of its capabilities.

Adoption Planning

A project-based service offering by professional services designed to plan the optimal adoption of a new technology deployment. This plan will direct the adoption activities of both the supplier and the customer. (Tweet this!)

Are Adoption Services Product-Attached?

Something to keep in mind as you develop adoption services is that while in some ways, adoption planning could be considered a typical product-attached offer, but the reality is a little more complicated. On one hand, it’s recommended that product companies “attach” adoption planning engagements to as many platform or product deployment deals as possible.

However, “product-attached” typically refers to services that not only are related to the product, but are specifically aimed at its operational deployment. In other words, your customers can deploy your product without engaging you in an adoption planning exercise. The platform will be just as operational either way, but implementation services is a Level 2 play, while engaging with the customer to direct the adoption activities of both the supplier and the customer is at Level 3. It’s my recommendation that your current professional services organization should probably house the adoption planning offer – and certainly the ones that are project-based, but also continue adding new capabilities to ensure future success.

Learn More About Adoption Services

For more about developing adoption services for your PSO, be sure to listen to my on-demand webinar, “The PSO Journey to Customer Adoption.” I will also be hosting a Power Hour session at TSIA’s upcoming TSW 2015 Service Transformations conference, “Optimizing Professional Services for LAER,” where I will talk about TSIA’s customer engagement framework, the LAER model (land, adopt, expand, renew), and what PSOs need to do in order to optimize each customer engagement activity, resulting in increased service revenue growth. Hope to see you there!

Read other posts in the "3 Tips for a Successful Professional Services Organizationseries:

About the Author

bo_dimuccioBo Di Muccio is vice president of professional services research for TSIA. He is also the chairperson of the TSIA Professional Services Advisory Board. Keep the conversation going with Bo by emailing him at bo.dimuccio@tsia.com.


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Topics: adoption services, customer-supplier relationship, professional services, adoption, professional services organization (PSO), Tips for a Successful PSO


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