LAER Explained: A New Customer Engagement Model for a New Business Era

Posted by Thomas Lah on 10/17/17 9:14 AM

The act of selling technology has undergone a radical change. Purchases are no longer the large up-front investments they once were, but are instead made up of lower cost subscriptions and value-add services. As a result, the features and function of the technology are now less important when compared to the business outcome achieved by using the technology. In this new era of technology-as-a-service (XaaS), the ability to successfully deliver customer outcomes, keep customers on your platform, and get them to spend more money over time will be what determines your company’s profitability and success. 

In order to thrive in this changing marketplace, TSIA believes that today’s technology providers need to shift their focus from selling more assets to growing customers successfully. To aid in this transition, TSIA has developed the supplier view of a customer engagement model called LAER (pronounced “layer”). While we have discussed this in blogs, TSW conferences, and the new Technology-as-a-Service Playbook, here are the basics of LAER explained and its impact to the customer-supplier relationship.

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Topics: XaaS (x-as-a-service), customer-supplier relationship, customer adoption, customer outcomes, expand selling, LAER, customer engagement, Technology-as-a-Service Playbook

5 Phases of Customer Experience Strategy Maturity

Posted by Judith Platz on 10/12/17 5:00 AM

Today’s customers have large expectations, which have actually changed significantly in the past few years. These new expectations are also forcing support organizations to rapidly adjust and transform how they deliver value to their customers.   

Support organizations need to move away from the largely reactive mode of operation and become much more proactive and predictive. More than that, support needs to become real-time. They must be available at any moment, with customers having access to experts any time they may need. Everything in a modern support organization needs be interconnected, “always-on” support. It’s no wonder that today, so many are wrestling with developing timelines and strategies for the journey to create the new digital support experience that is being demanded. 

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Topics: customer experience, support services, Art and Science of the Customer Journey, customer experience strategy

Profitable Subscription Business Models

Posted by Thomas Lah on 10/11/17 5:00 AM

In the first installment of my three-part series of articles about how the new subscription-based economy is affecting traditional technology companies, I talked about how product and service revenues are beginning to shrink across the industry. In this second installment, I'll be sharing what it means to embrace as-a-service offers in a tech business model and how that can lead to future profitability. 

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Topics: XaaS (x-as-a-service), cloud, SaaS (software-as-a-service), cloud computing, technology-as-a-service, subscriptions

Why Forecasting Is More Important Than Ever

Posted by James Cramer on 10/10/17 5:00 AM

Forecasting in professional services has never matched the maturity of other industries. However, this is becoming a bigger problem as technology projects become shorter in duration and narrower in scope. Revenue backlog simply doesn’t stretch as far into the future as it once did. Faced with a less certain revenue and resource demand outlook, a “wait until you win, then react” operating style prevails. This puts pressure on margins, strains delivery teams, limits agility, and makes business models vulnerable to more progressive approaches. Yet, most of the industry is still forecasting in spreadsheets. It’s time for professional services to match other industries in forecasting innovation by deploying modern technology, more comprehensive methods, and real-time data.

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Topics: professional services, customer relationship management (CRM), professional services automation (PSA), TSIA Partners

Managed Services and the Customer Journey

Posted by Jeff Connolly on 10/5/17 5:00 AM

At their core, all managed services have at least two things in common: first, they are subscription-based services rather than transactional services. Second, they focus on providing a business outcome to customers through the management of technology. This is often with measurable service-level objectives, rather than providing customers with a discrete product or service that would then become the customer’s responsibility to use to reach their outcome.

This is both true of standalone managed services (which can be sold after, or in conjunction with, a product sale) and subscription-based managed XaaS (in which product is included/embedded within the managed services contract, whether that’s an embedded product sale or a cloud-delivered model).

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Topics: managed services, Art and Science of the Customer Journey

3 Ways to Lead Your Company to Success in the Cloud

Posted by J.B. Wood on 10/4/17 8:30 AM

The Cloud. It's where cool tech ideas get funded by eager venture capitalists and mega fortunes are made when the next big thing goes viral. For all of the excitement and hype surrounding the Cloud, there are some sobering realities that tend to get swept under the rug: namely the fact that, on the whole, the cloud business model is not a profitable one. Surprised?

Yes, cloud companies (such as software-as-a-service and technology-as-a-service, just to name a few) are all the rage, and rightly so, for they are the future of tech. They regularly enjoy double- or triple-digit growth rates and garner enviable media coverage and razzle-dazzle headlines. But the mostly unspoken truth is that they are underpinned by unproven financial fundamentals that, frankly, wouldn't be allowed to persist in any other industry.

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Topics: XaaS (x-as-a-service), big data, cloud, subscription-based offers, SaaS (software-as-a-service), Technology-as-a-Service Playbook, digital transformation

Managed Services is an Orchestra

Posted by Jeff Connolly on 10/3/17 5:00 AM

To introduce myself, my name is Jeff Connolly and I am the new senior director of managed services research for TSIA. I’ve worked in managed services for most of my career—in very large technology companies, as well as a very small one—always with a focus on building new technology services in a rapidly changing environment.

When I first started working in tech (telecom) in the late 90s, I caught the managed services fever on the growth potential in managed services. I saw all the Gartner and Forrester hockey stick charts on how huge the segment was going to be and how fast it was going to grow. “Hot crackers!” I thought. “I’ve landed in the sweet spot, fresh out of business school!”

While I didn’t know many things then, I have learned some important lessons along the way, not the least of which is to not drink the Kool-Aid on market growth forecasts. I’ve also learned some very important lessons about managed services specifically, and as my first blog post at TSIA, I thought I’d start with one of the broadest, most over-arching takeaways I’ve had, which is that managed services is an orchestra.

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Topics: managed services

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