Mikael Blaisdell & Associates Inc. have been conducting specific research projects for a variety of clients for all of the company’s history. In every Assessment engagement, we include carefully designed conversations with the client’s customers. One of our first major commissioned research projects was in the mid-1980’s, when we were asked to conduct an extensive study of the community built around a particular computer operating system, analyzing the needs, interests and motivations of its business users, VARs, ISVs, hardware manufacturers and distributors. Our tracking and analysis of the contact center management technology sector has been continual from its inception. As new players arrive, and existing ones merge or depart, keeping up to date with what is technologically possible and authentically available is a key aspect of our practice.
A New Focus
In the spring of 2006, we recognized that the advent of what has come to be known as the Software As A Service business model represented a tectonic shift in the high technology industry. Microsoft’s Bill Gates described the change as a tsunami, a tidal wave that had the potential to sweep away old fundamental concepts and approaches to software. (If anything, his perception was an understatement.) Since then, we have refocused our ongoing research and analysis program on the SaaS ecosystem, zeroing in on the needs of the ISV sector as it continues to develop.
There have been a number of significant transitions in the CCTECH community since the early days of its beginning, and we are now entering another one. By January of 2008, a number of software companies were beginning to offer technologies for the customer contact center market that were SaaS-based. We conducted a specific evaluation to determine the status of the change in this sector, with particular attention to the availability of enabling technologies for the authentic operation of a contact center on a P&L basis.
Customer acquisition is only the beginning of success in the on-demand world. Winning requires customer retention and increasing profitability — and the key to both is found in mastering Customer Retention. The purpose of The SaaS & Support Project was to begin to build a foundation of knowledge about the best practices of Service & Support in the on-demand sector, and then to use that insight and data to design the future of the profession of customer relationship management Click here for more information about The SaaS & Support Project.
The Redefinition of Customer Support
Mikael Blaisdell & Associates have been at the forefront of advocating a complete redefinition of the profession, role and practice of Customer Support since the late 1980’s. In published articles in the technology industry trade press and in delivering professional conference presentations, the case for the necessity of change has been consistently made. Break/Fix support offers no real economic value to either company or customer; it never has, and never will. Unfortunately, the traditional product-centric perpetual-license business model of the software industry has largely been resistant to the idea that Support could play a strategic corporate role. The emergence of the SaaS/Cloud business model, however, has opened the door for something new.
The coming shift in the profession of Support will be a sea-change, touching every aspect of strategy, process, people and technology.