October 17, 2018
Greetings from the TSIA’s Technology & Service World conference at the ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas! As I always say when it comes to identifying the most popular topics at our TSW conferences, people vote with their feet, so looking at which sessions draw the biggest crowd is a great way to see what the top trends and interest areas are for the tech industry. Here are the five top attended TSW sessions from yesterday as well as an observation from Day 1.
Monday was a very busy day for me, beginning with the partner advisory board meeting, a presentation for the exhibiting partners in the EXPO, my keynote speech, some member one-on-one meetings in the afternoon, my Power Hour panel, and the opening EXPO reception. A long day, but some great conversations and good feedback on my content.
The topic of my keynote was employee engagement, and how companies must evolve their programs for attracting and retaining talent to better meet the needs of millennials, as well as to better compete in a tough labor market in which job seekers have a lot of control. I was little nervous about this keynote, as being TSIA’s technology analyst I typically do a technology-focused topic, but the audience seemed to appreciate this focus on employees to kick off the conference. At one point I asked for a show of hands to see how many attendees had received a survey asking how satisfied they were with their job, and/or how satisfied they were with their company, within the last three months. I was a bit surprised when more than half of the audience raised their hands. Now, I don’t know if companies are assessing this data and making changes based on the survey results, but at least it appears that employee engagement surveys are growing in popularity within tech firms. I hope that trend continues.
The positive feedback Judith Platz and I have received from our focus this week on employee engagement has been overwhelming, and a considerable number of millennials have come up to me in the hallways or in the EXPO and said, “Thanks for talking about us. Employee engagement is an important topic.” I look forward to seeing this topic evolve.
Now, on to the top attended session from Tuesday. With about 80 total sessions, there was a lot of amazing content to choose from. Here are is the list of the five sessions with the highest number of attendees.
Eric Pelander, Co-Chairman & Founder, Waterstone Management Group
Tim Atkin, Chief Client Officer, Blackboard
Eric and Tim discussed that achieving true customer success goes well beyond standing up a group of CS representatives, it requires alignment of the entire company and may require significant change in the organization structure and operating model, particularly around all post-sales functions.
Mike LaStella, Director, Online Services, Palo Alto Networks
Gina Hancher, Director, Online Customer Experience, Palo Alto Networks
Jennifer MacIntosh, VP of Customer Success, Coveo
In this session, Mike and Gina presented their case study showing that what began as a project to increase support engineer proficiency evolved into a digital transformation program that helped make every interaction with the company’s website, intranet, contact center, and community more relevant and personal.
Alexa Erjavic, Sr. Director, Customer Solutions, VMware
In this session, Alexa explained how VMware is reinventing support by leveraging technology and the principles of customer success to give our customers an effortless experience.
Dustin Shulkin, Sr. Member Success Manager, TSIA
I’m very happy that Dustin’s session made our top 5 list, in which he presented the findings of his recent research report, “10 Elements of a Successful Employee Engagement Program.”
This was the first time one of our member success managers has published a research report or presented, and came about from Dustin’s participation in a pilot mentoring program. The audience greatly appreciated not only hearing the results of Dustin’s research, but also hearing it from a millennial, and the additional insights he was able to provide from his perspective.
Presented by Mark Robinson, Co-Founder and CMO, Kimble Applications
Marc Lacroix, Managing Partner, RTM Consulting
In this session, drawing upon the experience of growing and advising a wide variety of professional services organizations, Mark and Marc provided practical tips on how to diagnose performance trends and make decisions that get your PS organization where you need to be.
Congratulations to these presenters, and all of the TSW presenters, for the huge effort involved in building and delivering these presentations.
I have had so many interesting one-on-one meetings and hallway and EXPO conversations this week, and I am working on distilling that down into some primary themes or trends. I’ll be back next week with a “What I heard” blog to share these insights with you, but if any of these topics interest you, I highly recommend joining in on the conversation by attending our upcoming Technology & Services World conference taking place in San Diego, May 6-8. Thanks for reading!
John Ragsdale is the distinguished vice president of service technology research, for TSIA. His area of expertise is in creating strategies for improving the service operations and overall customer experience by leveraging innovative technology. Ragsdale drives TSIA's highly regarded technology research agenda, delivering insightful, thought-leadership research and analysis on the most pressing business issues facing services leaders to enable them to better plan and execute their service strategies. He is also author of the book, Lessons Unlearned, which chronicles his 25-year career inside the customer service industry.
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