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Today kicked off my 23rd TSIA conference, Technology Services World, in beautiful San Diego. I have a busy day planned, starting with my Partner Advisory Board meeting at 7 AM, my keynote at 11:30 AM, and my Power Hour session at 4 PM. Before things get too crazy, I wanted to write up some of themes I’m talking about this week which hopefully will resonate with you.

Pre-Conference Keynote - 11:30 AM

In my pre-conference keynote, “Creating a Converged Online Customer Engagement Strategy,” I will be talking about how companies need to expand the concept of self-service beyond support, and create an online engagement strategy for customers that crosses the boundaries of service. Examples include having a customer success dashboard in the portal showing adoption/consumption levels of the customer, a field service dashboard showing open issues and the ability to schedule a field tech visit, a managed services dashboard showing the status of equipment, etc.

In the advisory projects I’ve been doing over the last year on self-service portal assessments, I’m finding the number of departments involved in self-service overhauls is increasing, with education services and customer success involved in most projects today. If we can continue to expand the reach of self-service to include every touchpoint across the customer journey, there is great potential for consolidating everything a customer needs to be successful in a single place, reducing effort and increasing stickiness.

Power Hour - 4:00 PM

In my Power Hour today at 4 PM called, "Hot Tech Trends for 2017: Leveraging Machine Learning for Extreme Automation," I’ll be sharing the results of the 12th annual Global Technology Survey, including top spending areas (no surprise, customer portals tops the planned spending list for the 2nd year in a row), as well as technology areas that saw the biggest adoption increases over the last year. Interestingly, the three areas with the biggest increases were all managed services tools, which I believe shows that companies are creating more formal managed services offerings, including the adoption of ITIL-certified tools to better meet the needs of IT customers.

Stay Tuned for More News from TSW!

It is going to be a very busy week. I’m moderating two panel discussions, one on improving knowledge sharing across the enterprise, another on leveraging social support to improve the customer experience. I suspect social media will be a big topic of discussion in many sessions this week, particularly in light of recent well publicized airlines problems, showing that service issues can have a big impact on brand reputation—and stock price—without immediate intervention. I’m also spending most of Tuesday and Wednesday in one-on-one meetings with members and partners, which are always enlightening.

Stay tuned for more blogs this week, I’ll be back Tuesday and Wednesday to let you know what the top attended sessions were for the previous day, and next week I’ll write a wrap-up blog about the key trends I heard this week in my meetings.

For all of you attending TSW, look for me in the EXPO and say hello! And as always, thanks for reading.

John Ragsdale

About Author John Ragsdale

John Ragsdale is a distinguished researcher and the vice president of technology ecosystems for TSIA. His area of expertise is in creating strategies for improving the service operations and overall customer experience by leveraging innovative technology. John works closely with TSIA’s partner ecosystem, identifying leading and emerging technology vendors whose products help solve the key business challenges faced by TSIA members. He is also author of the book, Lessons Unlearned, which chronicles his 25-year career inside the customer service industry.

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