Rob Addy

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Rob Addy
Research Vice President
5 years at Gartner
More years than I care to remember in the IT industry

Welcome to my blog! I post about all things product support services related from the provider perspective. End-users are welcome to read but please be aware that you may sometimes find its content unsettling. I will endeavour to post frequently (as it's a lot cheaper than a therapist) but please forgive me if other more mundane activities occasionally get in the way...Read my official Gartner bio here

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The Support Innovators Dilemma

by Rob Addy  |  December 10, 2012  |  1 Comment

Support innovation is non-trivial i.e. hard. So many potential projects… So little time… How can you secure funding to innovate your services if the business still see you as “just” the annuity laden cash cow? Even if you have funding there are still far more questions than answers. How should you utilize your limited resources? Which areas should you focus on first? Which is the lowest and juiciest low hanging fruit? Where can you get the biggest return on your effort? Which project will start to show benefits soonest? What are your competitors doing? How can you take a leadership position in your market? How can you improve service quality, customer satisfaction and loyalty in a single stroke? While you’re at it, perhaps you can run faster than a locomotive and jump tall buildings in a single bound too?

One could of course schedule a series of inquiries under the auspices of your Gartner contract to discuss it with a suitably qualified domain expert (or failing that me!). But sometimes you need something a little more tangible. A physical deliverable to help you and your team to come to the optimum decision. An automated decision support matrix with embedded expertise and artificial intelligence would be invaluable. If only such a tool were freely available. Hang on a second! It is…

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you (literally… it’s nearly Christmas after all) the patent pending “Gartner Product Support Project Prioritizer”…

Simply print out the full size version of the above graphic and follow the self-assembly instructions here.  The “Product Support Project Prioritizer” before and after its origami encounter can be seen below…

Using the “Gartner Product Support Project Prioritizer”…  Statistically proven to be better than flipping a coin!

The project prioritizer should be used within your teams to canvass opinion as to what is most important to your customers. Do you need to focus on a risk reduction play, an operational efficiency initiative, a productivity maximization model or will showing how support can act as a Return on Investment multiplier be most beneficial? Having determined you overriding theme, the operator of the prioritizer simply gesticulates wildly, moving their fingers forwards and backwards and side to side whilst uttering strange incantations. After the test subject is suitably bemused the operator offers the open prioritizer for them to select one of the four project thematic headings. After this selection the operator can open the relevant subsection of the prioritizer and the operator may select from the 4 potential projects. Easy peasy!

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that many of the potential project titles bear an uncanny resemblance to section headings within “Market Insight: Gartner’s Product Support Maturity Scale, Version 2”, this is not a coincidence. Having selected your project or projects it is HIGHLY recommended that you read up in the aforementioned research note before committing resources and making public announcements regarding expected outcomes and benefits etc.

Whether you plan on using the prioritizer or not, please please please do prepare plans to innovate and invigorate your product support portfolio in 2013. If you don’t, you may get left behind!

TRKFAM :-)

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