The HotLine Magazine Archives
For The Profession of Cloud/SaaS Product Support
By Mikael Blaisdell

In the previous SaaS/Cloud & Support Briefing, I called for a complete re-invention/redefinition of the role of Support and the customer contact center, starting with a total change in focus. The heart of what’s been wrong with Support all along is that the Break / Fix interactions between customer and company offer no real value or economic gain to anyone. The motivation for creating a new era of Support is clear cut: No one can afford to do business in the old reactive way anymore. Everything about the traditional customer contact center and its team shows its crippled and begrudged status. Valuable skill sets and knowledge are sidelined, left out of play until too late in the game for them to have winning effect. Evidence of the low status and regard for the group as mere repairmen is plain to be seen in their surroundings, compensation and perks. The very aura of the place is about waste. The only real way for people to succeed there is to leave. Is it any wonder that the reputation of Support in the industry, as a profession, hasn’t changed in the slightest from what it was ten or more years ago?

It’s Time for Something New

It’s time to recognize Support as a core strategic element of the company, a unique group facing many directions at once. To the customer, the role of Support is to enable them to gain maximum productivity and profitability from their technology investment. To the company, Support is about the timely transmission of vital data about the customerbase, product and market that will enable greater effectiveness and increased sales. The true role of Support is about generating value rather than trying to minimize waste.

The change that is required is profound, and can only come about with leadership from the executive team. Just as success in the new game of SaaS needs people who are capable of thinking in new ways about Sales and Development, making a fundamental shift in Support will also require people who can play on a new level. The whole functional organization of the company must be rethought so that people, skill sets and knowledge are deployed for maximum impact. That can only occur where senior management has a clear vision of what is possible, and is willing to act in order to bring it into reality.

July 25, 2007