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Wayne Eckerson

Welcome to Wayne's World, my blog that illuminates the latest thinking about how to deliver insights from business data and celebrates out-of-the-box thinkers and doers in the business intelligence (BI), performance management and data warehousing (DW) fields. Tune in here if you want to keep abreast of the latest trends, techniques, and technologies in this dynamic industry.

About the author >

Wayne has been a thought leader in the business intelligence field since the early 1990s. He has conducted numerous research studies and is a noted speaker, blogger, and consultant. He is the author of two widely read books: Performance Dashboards: Measuring, Monitoring, and Managing Your Business (2005, 2010) and The Secrets of Analytical Leaders: Insights from Information Insiders (2012).

Wayne is founder and principal consultant at Eckerson Group,a research and consulting company focused on business intelligence, analytics and big data.

The quality of software support doesn't get a lot of attention in the press. The software support team is like the offensive line in professional football: no one notices them it does well, but when it screws up and allows a defender to sack the quarterback, the cameras hone in the chubby offenders.

Informatica Ups the Ante. One company that invests a lot in delivering high quality customer support is Informatica. In a recent chat with Srivatsan Vaiyakarnam, Informatica's vice president of North America Support, I heard some interesting statistics. For one, 72% of Informatica's customers use Web/social media as their preferred channel for support versus 20% for telephone. One reason is that Informatica has a treasure trove of online resources: 40+ moderated support forums, 55,000 articles and guides, and numerous videos that have racked up 93,000 views. Moreover, Informatica's support staff has a 95% retention rate, and they earn 95% positive reviews from customers.

That level of support quality is critical for software vendors since an ever increasing percentage of their revenue comes from maintenance streams. Informatica, for instance, which had sales of $811 million in 2012, generates approximately half of that (i.e. $100 million a quarter) from maintenance. So, delivering exquisite software support is becoming a more critical part of doing business. Just ask Oracle which is suing Rimini Software, a $15 million provider of support services to Oracle customers, for allegedly engaging in "massive theft" of Oracle software and support materials. Whether the allegations are true or not, what's certain is that Oracle stands to lose a good bit of its revenue stream if third parties pilfer its maintenance revenue.

At Informatica, the support team carries a lot of clout. It has significant voice in product development and its head is a C-level executive. So far, Informatica's attentions to support have paid off. Its maintenance renewal rate is 96% and the company has been voted number one in customer loyalty among data integration vendors for the past eight years, according independent research firm TNS. And Informatica plans to up the ante by offering more proactive support services in the future, including remote health checks, real-time monitoring services, and phone home services, among other things. As software becomes increasingly complex, it's imperative that vendors offer superb support and service.

For more information: Go to http://www.informatica.com/us/services-and-training/support-services/

Posted January 20, 2014 2:14 PM
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