In Retrospect: “B4B” and TSW 2013 Las Vegas

November 9, 2013

When I first started seeing early drafts of the B4B book content, I immediately knew that we were on to something big … in fact, the biggest thing we’ve ever been on.  And as the Fall conference agenda began to take shape, centered squarely around the themes developed in the book, I knew that TSW Las Vegas 2013 was going to be the biggest, most important conference we’ve ever done.

Boy, was I right on both counts.  The book, which was released on the first day of our conference, has made a bigger splash in a shorter amount of time than the rest of our books combined.  And I don’t think it’s an accident that the book’s release coincided with the largest conference — with by far the most attendees — that we’ve ever had.  In short, the book, the conference, key trends in the tech industry, a highly engaged and very large group of technology services executives … all of these things converged to create a hugely exhilarating and beneficial experience for all of us.

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Need to Optimize AND Transform Your PS Business? Better Resource Management Is a Great Place to Start

October 11, 2013

For the last two years or so, TSIA has been screaming from the rooftops regarding big changes gathering steam in the technology and technology services industries.  We unveiled our book, Consumption Economics, last October at TSW Las Vegas 2012 in which many new industry concepts were put on the table for the first time.  In that book, we described how big data and the cloud are disrupting technology and technology services buying patterns and business models and suggested that companies needed to begin to be masters of consumption, rather than masters of complexity.  

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Chances of Upheaval … Approximately 100%: Impressions from TSW Santa Clara

May 22, 2013

I was asked recently what my general impressions were from our recently completed Technology Services World, Santa Clara conference.  Quite simply, I was blown away.

I was blown away by how rapidly our member companies are adapting and transforming to avoid being flattened by cloud wave in the tech industry.  At TSW in Santa Clara, I heard about new kinds of offers, new ways of monetizing PS talent, newly formed “customer success” organizations staffed with new roles like “customer success managers,”  and much more.  The contrast to a year ago couldn’t be more stark.  There is no doubt that folks are gearing up to enable major adaptive change.

In fact, what I worry about is that in the mad dash to adapt and transform, PS organizations risk forgetting to remain sharp and invest in the fundamentals that continue to enable the same type of product-led, deployment focused, project-based services that remain at the core of their businesses.  The analogy is deciding to make a massive change to your golf swing, which naturally makes you want to focus all of your practicing on the full swing and long game.  Eventually, you’ll master the new swing but you’ll find that your short-game has now gone stale and for the one step you’ve taken forward, you took two steps back.

That is why PS businesses need to defend and protect their traditional turf, even as they adapt and transform for the cloud.  The good news is that mastering the services capabilities that will make us better at cloud professional services, consumption services and the like, will make us better at good old project-based PS. This is the gist of the guidance I provide in my “State of PS 2013” white paper, which ALL TSIA professional services members should review.

Anyway, what these services capabilities are and how they can help PS organizations to improve their businesses across many different engagement and service types … these are questions TSIA and its PS members will be wrestling to the ground over the next several months.

Stay tuned!!!

Cloudy With a Chance of Upheaval: Announcing the TSIA 2013 Cloud PS Offerings Member Survey

January 22, 2013

In the Fall of 2011, TSIA surveyed PS organizations to find out how cloud computing was beginning to impact their businesses. The results were stunning. A previously complacent industry was clearly beginning to see the coming wave and was beginning to brace itself. PS organizations that were not already being impacted, were learning and gearing up. Those for whom the effects were already being felt were launching initiatives to meet the opportunity head on.

So where are we now, 18 months later? That’s what TSIA’s new member survey on the Cloud Professional Services is going to address.

  • What unique new offerings are being developed?
  • How are they being priced?
  • How are they being staffed?
  • How are they performing financially?
  • What is there delivery mix?
  • How do all of these things compare to traditional professional services?

To find out the answers to these and many more cutting edge questions, all you have to do is complete our survey.

Only TSIA PS member companies that complete this free member survey will have access to the full study results/report. TSIA may make high level, summary results available to the non-participating PS members after a quarantine period (and I’m sure I’ll be blogging on the topic). Your company’s responses will be kept 100% confidential; only aggregate results will be provided from this study. The survey will only be available to complete for a short period of time, so please complete it at your earliest convenience.

How to Navigate the Project Metrics Menagerie (UPDATED)

September 6, 2012

(I’m here in Vegas getting ready for the first day or TSW and I thought it made sense to update the post highlighting my “Power Hour” session later today.  The presentation puts unprecedented industry benchmarks on four key areas of project performance on the table and updates — with a larger data set — previous correlation analysis on the benefits of having a PMO involved in project support.  Come and see me!!!)

For all of the justifiable buzz in the industry about what is new in tech services and about services transformation, technology professional services businesses remain heavily focused on driving better performance at the project level.  Project performance remains the most common denominator and the key determinant of overall PS financial performance.

Understanding this enduring concern for PS executives, TSIA puts a huge amount of effort into benchmarking PS project performance along dozens of measures.  The result of the recently completed TSIA 2012 Project Performance Study is an unprecedented repository of industry data about what drives better project outcomes:  financial performance, schedule performance, customer satisfaction performance and much more.

Until now, this data set and all of its path-breaking findings have been available only to the study participants (and faithful readers of my blog). If you want to be let in on some more of the secrets, come to my session at TSW Las Vegas:  Navigating the Project Metrics Menagerie:  Learnings from the TSIA 2012 Project Performance Study!  For those that can’t make it, or for those that just can’t wait, I’ll provide some tidbits from the study here.

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In Which You Can Find Out What (You’ll Hopefully NOT) Be Missing at TSW

July 30, 2012

It’ll be August in a few days and much of the summer is still left for us to enjoy.  But at TSIA we’re totally in conference prep mode already.  In fact, the agenda is more or less set already.  It can be viewed HERE.

For my part, I’ll be presenting some of the very cool data that we just finished collecting from the TSIA 2012 PS Project Performance Study.  The session description can be found HERE

As interesting and as useful as I hope and expect my own session will be, there are literally dozens of other sessions that will give mine a run for its money and then some.  Just a few I’d like to highlight from the rich PS track:

And this is just to name a few.  So I fervently encourage you all to go to the TSW website and check out the agenda.  Hopefully you’ll be convinced, if you haven’t already been, that it’s not something you should miss!


Benefit #3,271 of Project Management

July 10, 2012

Having benchmarked hundreds of PS organizations and now having conducted quite a few in-depth diagnostic audits, it has become clear that there is a persistent and wide-spread problem in the industry:  defending the value of project management.  Making matters worse, the problem is self-perpetuating.  If PSOs find they have trouble monetizing their PM capability, they don’t invest in improving it.  When they don’t invest in its improvement, the PM capability languishes.  A languishing PM capability is more difficult to sell than one that is robust and up to date.  And the cycle continues.

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Got Professional Services Performance Metrics for the UK?

June 15, 2012

The one thing that keeps PS executives coming to me and to TSIA is their need for detailed industry data.  At TSIA, we make our living separating fact from fiction, simply because there’s so much fiction out there … and PS executives know it.  What’s true for the industry in general is truer still for narrower slices of PS practice and performance.  That is, you might be able to find some tidbits here and there (however inaccurate) about, say, average PS project margins, but what if you’re really trying understand PS at a regional or even a country level?  How and where are you going to find legitimate industry data for that?

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Just the Facts: PS Performance and Practices that Improve It

June 11, 2012

There’s fiction on what practices lead to better PS results and there’s fact. In an upcoming TSIA Member Webcast, it will be just the facts!

I know that you want to learn from your peers and understand what they are doing and not doing. That’s why you joined TSIA.  If your peers are achieving strong results around some business process, you want to see if you can take that back to your organization and achieve similar results. If you’re evaluating a variety of initiatives, you want to know whether experience from your peers can help you prioritize the investments.

Against goals such as these, I think this webcast will be a huge accelerator. It will look not at individual examples, but at benchmarks and correlation analyses that derive from hundreds of examples.

Join me on Thursday, June 14th at 12pm Eastern as I discuss the state of professional services as of 2012, with a special emphasis on the practices that lead to better performance on critical industry performance measures. I will cover the gamut of PS processes, including operations, sales/marketing, service development, delivery, and partner management.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to gain insight from TSIA.

Mentor Graphics: Getting the Sales Force to Sell Services

May 9, 2012

Wow, it’s the last day of TSW Santa Clara 2012 already and here I am writing my last conference blog.  One thing that is almost invariably validated at this conferences is the age old adage … “the more things change the more they stay the same.”  The beauty of these conferences for me is that I get to talk to dozens – hundreds even – of member companies and clients.  I always ask them two questions: 

  1. How’s business? and
  2. What’s keeping you up at night?

The good news is that virtually to a person, people are saying that their businesses are doing very well.  The fact that what’s keeping people up at night remain the same things that have always kept them up at night … well … we can debate about whether that’s a good thing or not.  On the one hand, you’d like to think that the industry is progressing, changing and so running into new problems.  But we’re not.  But the positive to that is that there’s a lot of collective experience with how to contront these recurring problems.

That brings me to the session that I want to highlight for today.  Mentor Graphics is hosting a breakout session that essentially deals with how to get product reps interested in selling services.  This is a huge problem for most PS businesses because most PS businesses do not have dedicated services sales, or pre sales for that matter. 

Now we know from benchmarking on this topic that there are some very basic things that most PS organizations do to handle this issue.  Some of those things include:

  • Compensating product reps to sell PS
  • Allowing product reps to retire quota through PS sales
  • Paying them (or retiring quota) for PS on a dollar for dollar basis for services relative to product

Yes, these are pretty basic principles, but I can tell you that not everyone has them in place.  What else can we do to get product sales interested?  I’ll let you know after the Mentor Graphics session!