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Top Takeaways from the TSW Conference

Action Items from TSW You Can Execute Today

5 min read
By TSIA
Two weeks ago, TSIA took over Las Vegas at our first onsite Technology & Services World (TSW) conference since the start of the pandemic. This hybrid event allowed members from technology services, sales and channel optimization, and product teams from all over the world to attend both virtually and in person. Our team worked hard to ensure every attendee had an enriching and engaging experience, providing data, benchmarking, and best practice insight to help businesses improve their performance.

We had eight standout keynotes and 102 breakout sessions featuring dozens of industry experts. They presented on everything from how to structure revenue streams and the future of AI to accelerating partner growth and how the workplace will look different after COVID.

While it’s impossible to recreate the learning that went on there, here are some key takeaways from three of our most popular keynote speakers: J.B. Wood, Eva Helen, and Thomas Lah.

The Second Wave of Digital Transformation

TSIA’s very own J.B. Wood, President and CEO, took the stage in the first keynote of the conference. As we move away from life in the pandemic, J.B.’s presentation focused on what’s coming next in the ongoing age of digital transformation.

We are moving faster and faster to a world where we are a service industry. If you’re not there yet, look at the growth you’re missing out on.

“The Second Wave of Digital Transformation” featured insight into how companies can ride the wave and not get left behind. Here’s what you need to know:

Our focus for the next decade: ease!

While we in the tech industry love complex technology and business structures, customers don’t. As it stands, many companies “hide” their value to the customer in a maze of complexity, but we need to restructure so customers can get to the value fast.

compare and contrast path to value
 
  • Customers are stepping away from customized solutions and have begun to accept conformity to standardized solutions. This is both to make things simpler for them (and us) and to align themselves with industry best practices.
  • Customers are less and less interested in owning and operating operations. They don’t want to operate complex solutions, they just want to enjoy the solutions.
Wave two is about moving from complexity to simplicity, the digital customer experience, and climbing the value ladder. J.B. addressed the fact that there has been a lot of hesitation around embracing this transformation, but challenged attendees to lean into these changes.

We’re not done with Digital Transformation. We have another 10 year journey we have to get through. This is a race to ease the path to value for our customers. Everybody is on this journey. We’ve got a lot to do.

If you’d like to hear J.B.’s full keynote address, you can watch it here.

Women in Tech: A Book for Guys

With company culture and equality more important than ever, TSIA was excited to welcome Eva Helen to the main stage. Right off the bat, she reminded everyone that diversity and inclusion contribute greatly to the success of companies and are two sides of the same coin.

Diversity is how we’re different, but inclusion is how we behave and the type of environment we build. People feel like they belong. They feel seen and heard.

The CEO of EQ Inspiration, Eva ran various software companies in the Bay Area for many years. After attending several events for women in tech, she noticed a lack of male presence and took it upon herself to solve this issue. She began hosting events, and through these interactions collected stories, data, and best practices which are featured in her book, Women In Tech: A Book for Guys.

Using her “7 Character Prototypes” matrix, Eva’s goal was to give a framework to approach and understand the types of men in the office. Here are just a few characteristics:
7 character prototype graph as explained below
Image: EQ Inspiration

The Advocates

  • Cares about diversity of thought, the business, and people.
  • Drives change, intentionally promotes women and diversity, and understands why it’s important and beneficial to the company to build diverse teams.

The Allies

  • Prefers to speak up for women on a one-to-one basis and not necessarily in a larger group context.
  • Hesitant to mentor women outside of a structured program for worry of perception.
  • Won’t go out to identify women to promote, but will wait to be asked.
  • Based on Eva’s research, the majority of men in tech belong somewhere in the Ally category (65%).

The Chauvinist

  • This category is mostly self-explanatory. Eva did make a point for attendees to consider: we can’t judge. We have to acknowledge everyone has a different starting point and find the right motivation, because it differs for each individual.
So, what can we do with this information? Eva laid out three pillars to bring about change.  
  • Communication is key.
  • Elevate the women around you.
  • Don’t be quick to judge.
Image that shows three pillars discussed above
Image: EQ Inspiration

Eva challenged each attendee to take a step not-too-far outside their comfort zone that day.

I think that there might be a gap between you and the people who claim to be experts on diversity and inclusion. And I’m trying to close that gap.

Listen to Eva’s full keynote for more on women in tech, or hear her thoughts on our recent podcast episode

Personal XaaS Transformation

In the conference’s closing keynote, TSIA’s Executive Director and Executive VP, Thomas Lah, reiterated what many in the room had felt: transformation can’t just be at one level.
 

You have to change the value propositions. It’s not just about getting things up in the cloud.

The amount of transformation needed to fully commit to the XaaS transformation can cripple executive teams and boards, and so it’s up to the individual to make change happen. Thomas gave a series of polls where he asked attendees to be honest about where their company and executive team was at with the XaaS transformation.

Unsurprisingly, over 60% said their executive team did not know how to scale for XaaS, and almost half said they weren’t willing to make the tough changes required to support the new business model.

In an encouraging poll result, almost 80% said they felt they had the ability to influence the future success of their company. However, Thomas sees a lot of times people might say that in a poll, but don’t take action as it’s “not their job.”
Cartoon highlighting how a boat will sink if people don't help
Image: Rahul Dighe

So, what can you do? Thomas laid out three steps people can take in their personal XaaS journey:

Educate

  • Understanding concepts surrounding XaaS and new thoughts is crucial as it consumes the tech market. There are seven XaaS core concepts everyone from every department needs to be conversant in:
    • XaaS Economic Engines
    • Compelling XaaS Offers
    • XaaS Pricing Models
    • XaaS Offer Continuum
    • Adoption Analytics
    • XaaS Waterfall
    • Role of Customer Success

Assess

  • How often do you assess the strengths of your company? It’s important to be honest about where your company is at and dig into evaluation criteria.

Act

  • Ask the hard questions to your manager and co-workers.
  • Be prepared for tough conversations.
  • Set a personal deadline for how long you’ll stay with the company.

Inaction is worth a thousand words...The hardest part of personal XaaS transformation is to act.

To hear more on how to start your XaaS journey, watch Thomas’ full keynote.

 November 4, 2021

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