Awareness of the fundamental changes driven by the shift to SaaS to the profession and practice of Customer Support, both to external Support and internal IT Help Desks, is growing. The Help Desk Institute has asked me to write a two-part series on the subject for their SupportWorld magazine, drawing on the continuing research of The SaaS & Support Project  ™. The first article, on “SaaS, Cloud Computing and The Redefinition of Customer Support, ” explores the changes to Support when a company transitions its business application products from the traditional model to SaaS. The second, on “Moving to The Cloud: Transitioning Your Support Technology Suite” will also talk to both external and internal Support professionals, and will cover the process of transitioning a case-management system or other element of a standard support technology suite from an on-premised product to a SaaS solution. Additional input for both these articles is welcome, from managers, individual professionals and support technology manufacturers.
The Accelerating Process of Change
I’ve been writing about the effects of SaaS on Support for several years now, examining both the driving forces and specific pressure points in articles here on The HotLine Magazine and elsewhere. The SaaS & Support Project, which formally began last year with an in-depth online survey and focused follow-up research, has revealed  a number of serious issues that ought to be of concern to senior management teams and support professionals alike. (Information about the results of that 2009 research may be found here .) The first TSSP 2010 online survey  is now ready for response . The focus of this survey is to identify the most important challenges now confronting both Support teams and their companies as well. (Click here  for more information about the new survey.) The process of the change to our profession is far from over — and it’s not limited to just those who work the customer contact centers for software manufacturers.
What are the specific effects on the IT Help Desk when the business applications used by the company employees every day are moved to the cloud? Do the number of calls go up or down? How about the categories of those calls? Are the issues more or less complex? With what effects on the average handle time per call? Has the maker of the application offered to extend their definition of Support to include the kinds of on-demand training that often is the province of the customer’s own help desk? If you’re working or managing an internal IT help desk where the company’s applications have been moved to a SaaS solution, I’d like to hear from you on this either by e-mail or in The SaaS & Support Forum  on LinkedIn.