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Where’s the Service in today’s “as-a-Service” offerings?

by Rob Addy  |  September 30, 2014  |  Submit a Comment

Oracle OpenWorld  has gone Everything-as-a-Service crazy. New service announcements have come thick and fast. Mark Hurd’s keynote and subsequent press session expanded upon the themes laid out by Mr Ellison on Sunday. Oracle’s commitment to price match against Amazon and Microsoft for commodity IaaS is obviously designed to grab attention. Yes… OpenWorld is most definitely an “as-a-Service” friendly zone this week. Regrettably, whilst the message is definitely loud. It isn’t always necessarily clear. Pitching services in the same way that one pitches products is sub-optimal. Don’t get me wrong… Oracle’s cloudy pronouncements aren’t necessarily any more vague than those of their competition. Many providers talk about “as-a-Service” offerings without any reference to the service element at all. The provision of elastic capability in a consumption based contractual model that is accessed via the internet is table stakes. Sorry to burst your bubble folks but as Shania Twain would say / sing… “That don’t impress me much!” Whilst not every capability is as capable as it could be. Most are reasonably comparable. And even when they’re not, many consumers are incapable of telling the difference anyhow. What’s worse, even if they can differentiate the relative merits of seemingly similar capabilities they often don’t care.

Differentiation in a commoditizing market is critical. “Support and Service” is consistently shown to be the most powerful and compelling differentiator in Gartner surveys relating to marketing effectiveness and buyer rationales for purchase. And yet perversely, it is seldom mentioned by “as-a-Service” providers. They think that the provision of technical capability is enough. It isn’t. The service is the sum of everything that touches or affects the customer (irrespective of whether they are aware of it or not). From the clunkiness, or simplicity and elegance, of the configuration dashboard to the valued added content stream the service provider delivers to augment and enhance the contracted capability, every service element matters. Or at least it should…

Service value articulation doesn’t happen by chance. It requires concerted effort and continuous focus. The graphic below shows the inter-relationship between various service elements and how they drive the customer experience.

Service Experience is more than mere capability delivery

It is part of a research series that is intended to help providers to go beyond mere descriptions of capability and technical service attributes. I urge every “as-a-Service” provider to take a few moments to review it, internalize it and use it…

  • “Building Your IT Service Value Story, Part 2 (of 5): Defining Your Service Benefits Profile” (G00262629) – This note describes an inside-out approach that shows how providers should analyze their service activities and distill them down into tangible service benefits that can contribute to your value story. It introduces the “The radar plot of beneficial goodness” as a tool to help providers understand and communicate how their services help their customers more effectively.

Ascending Benefit Mountain

Capability is the starting point. Not the end game. How your capabilities impact and affect your customers is critical. The effects of your actions and how they help your customers to overcome their business issues is key. Service benefits are an indicator of your potential to deliver value. We’ll look at how you can contextualize those benefits to demonstrate your value contribution another time…


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Category: off-topic-subject  support-value  

Tags: oow2014  

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 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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