As a first-timer at Tech Services World, I was struck by how the conference pushed beyond traditional Services into many other areas of the tech business model. For those who were not able to make it to Las Vegas this year, here are three main themes that emerged from the presentations and the conversation at the conference:

1. Spotlight Continues to Shine on Customer Success

The conference marked a noticeable and significant shift in the Customer Success discussion. Before, the discussion was somewhat academic and speculative in nature. At TSW, it was about actual results and operational lessons learned from companies that have started putting Customer Success strategies to the test. Companies ranging from high-growth SaaS companies like Marketo to long-established software players like Microsoft shared their operational experiences and results—from the disruption of traditional siloed org structures to innovative funding models and brand new Services offerings.

2. It’s All About the Data

Everyone is looking for the best way to use data and analytics to drive Services revenue growth. More and more companies are using dashboards and automation (e.g., Gainsight, Totango) to standardize, collect, and gather actionable insights. TSIA and Klever announced a joint initiative around new standards for Support metrics with the goal of delivering more insightful and useful data (more info here).  And finally, companies across the board are scouring their metrics to identify at-risk customers and upsell opportunities.

3. Shift from HW to SW Is Accelerating

For many tech providers, making the shift from a hardware to a software-based business is an opportunity fraught with many challenges. These challenges vary based on whether the company is adding SW products to its portfolio (e.g., Brocade) or selling hybrid HW+SW solutions. In either case, both the business model and the operating model are having to adapt. From a business model perspective, companies are shifting revenue mix to a higher proportion of recurring revenue (through software maintenance and/or software subscription revenue) and aiming for higher software industry target margins. On the operating side, communicating, selling, and delivering software can be more difficult than for hardware, as it involves more operating model elements, including Sales, R&D, Support, and Professional Services.


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About the Author
Claire O’Neill

Claire O’Neill is a Principal at Waterstone. Claire acts in a number of advisory roles for clients, including providing financial and due diligence advisory services, developing new service offerings, business planning and managing cross-functional work streams in executing initiatives.