Thriving in the Future: Alignment in Professional Services

Thriving in the Future: Alignment in Professional Services

The professional services industry is rapidly transforming, propelled by technological advancements and ever-changing customer expectations. At TSIA World Interact 2023, industry leaders convened to share their insights and shed light on the path forward. In this blog post, we will delve into the key takeaways from the conference, exploring the strategies and considerations that professional services organizations must embrace to thrive.

One resounding theme that echoed throughout these conversations was the importance of alignment. Whether it's aligning subscription offers with customer needs, aligning metrics with business goals, or aligning services and consulting portfolios with market demands, the future of professional services hinges on achieving seamless coherence. This blog will address the ideas from these conference sessions, offering a roadmap to lasting success in professional services.

Service and Delivery Partner Alignment

Sofia Barbosa, vice president of worldwide delivery services for BMC Software, brought a crucial perspective to the discussions at this year’s Interact conference. She emphasized the importance of aligning professional services with delivery partners, recognizing it as the critical determinant of successful product adoption. According to Barbosa, this alignment not only ensures consistency in service delivery but also brings forth many benefits, including enhanced efficiency, improved customer experiences, and, ultimately, increased revenue.

During her session, Barbosa delved into the practical steps that professional services organizations can take to foster alignment with their delivery partners. Partnership programs allow organizations to establish structured collaborations with their partners, facilitating joint planning and execution. Co-selling and co-delivery initiatives enable the seamless integration of services and products, resulting in comprehensive solutions for customers.

Barbosa also discussed the critical role of service enablement: by equipping partners with the necessary knowledge, tools, and resources, organizations can empower them to deliver services far more effectively. This entails providing comprehensive training programs, equipping partners with the latest product information, and ensuring ongoing support.

Another significant aspect of partner alignment lies in effective service portfolio management. Organizations must strategically assess their service offerings and align them with market demands, customer preferences, and partner capabilities. By optimizing the service portfolio, professional services organizations can cater to diverse customer needs and unlock new revenue streams.

Additionally, Barbosa emphasized the importance of performance management regarding partner alignment. Regularly evaluating and measuring the performance of delivery partners allows organizations to identify areas of improvement, recognize outstanding contributions, and foster a culture of continuous growth and development.

Of course, Barbosa's insights didn't stop at partnership alignment; she also shed light on the criticality of partner enablement. She discussed BMC Software's partner enablement model, which comprises several stages to foster gradual progression and expertise development among partners:

  • The onboarding stage serves as the initial introduction, where partners gain knowledge about the products and services offered by the organization.
  • As partners move through the "ramp-up" stage, they actively contribute by assisting project leaders on their first projects.
  • The delivery stage signifies partners' autonomy, where they drive their projects and lead service delivery.
  • Finally, the advising stage marks a significant milestone, as partners directly engage with customers, offering expert advice and handling complex use cases.

According to Barbosa, nurturing strong relationships between partners and the organization is the key to achieving alignment and successful adoption. By investing in partner enablement and providing opportunities for growth and advancement, organizations can cultivate a network of capable and trusted delivery partners, leading to enhanced alignment, customer satisfaction, and business success.

The Consumption Gap and a Common Language

In addition to the insights shared by Barbosa, BMC Software’s Simon Crabtree, assistant vice president of customer success, and Engel Martin, senior director of customer success, shed light on a critical aspect of successful adoption—the consumption gap.

The consumption gap refers to the disparity between what customers expect to achieve with a product or service and the actual outcomes they experience. Martin highlighted the importance of addressing this gap to drive successful adoption and customer satisfaction. To illustrate the concept, he presented Figure 1, which depicts the consumption gap and its impact on customer success.

The consumption gap.
The consumption gap and its impact on customer success.

To overcome this challenge, BMC Software implemented several approaches to engage customers and enable them to realize the total value of their investments. One of their key initiatives was introducing skew-based subscription offers with flexible credit systems. This innovation simplified professional services transactions, providing customers with the flexibility to allocate credits as needed while accelerating the adoption process.

To further facilitate adoption and streamline customer onboarding, BMC Software developed an online service catalog consisting of repeatable offerings. This catalog served as a comprehensive resource for customers, guiding them through various processes such as onboarding, configurations, and migration. By providing a centralized repository of best practices and streamlined procedures, BMC Software made it easier for customers to navigate complex technical requirements and optimize their usage of the products or services.

In addition to the subscription offers and an online service catalog, BMC Software also implemented a framework that provided prescriptive approaches to desired outcomes. This framework served as a roadmap, guiding customers through the necessary steps to achieve specific goals or expected results. By providing clear and actionable guidance, BMC empowered customers to navigate the implementation process more effectively.

However, these innovative solutions weren’t without challenges of their own. Martin highlighted three key hurdles that BMC Software encountered in its journey:

  1. The alignment of customer expectations
  2. The outcomes from staff augmentation
  3. The lack of credit utilization by customers

To address these challenges head-on, BMC Software focused on creating a common language that bridged the gap between customer success managers and BMC’s technical service catalog. By aligning the understanding of outcomes and processes, they could effectively communicate and educate customers on the steps required to achieve desired results. This approach facilitated a shared understanding and enabled customers to navigate the implementation complexities more effectively.

By simplifying communication and providing customers with a clear roadmap, BMC Software overcame the challenges associated with the consumption gap. This common language approach fostered alignment, minimized misunderstandings, and ultimately facilitated the successful adoption and utilization of their offerings.

Bridging the consumption gap through innovative approaches and effective communication is a critical step toward unlocking the full potential of professional services and driving sustainable growth in the industry.

Unlocking Success through Professional Services Alignment

The presentations at TSIA World Interact 2023 emphasized that alignment in all its forms is crucial for the future success of professional services organizations. Establishing solid relationships with partners and other stakeholders and fostering internal alignment with customer success managers allows organizations to break down silos, promote collaboration, and achieve common goals. Speaking a common language and sharing a mutual understanding enables seamless communication, minimizes misunderstandings, and ultimately drives success in the professional services industry.

Ready to find out what’s next? Attend TSIA World Envision!

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