Building Professional Services: The Sirens' Song / Edition 1

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How to build a winning professional services organization.

Companies worldwide are discovering outstanding growth opportunities in professional services-but building professional services organizations at 'product-centric' firms can be extremely challenging. Now, three leading experts present a comprehensive guide to creating professional services organizations, managing them to maturity, and delivering both quality services and superior margins. Building Professional Services introduces a complete, practical framework for delivering the full spectrum of professional services—from support and education services to managed, consulting, and productized services.

  • Managing the professional services business at every stage of its lifecycle
  • Focusing on the key factors that drive success: revenue, references, and repeatability
  • Responding to the unique challenges faced by professional services in product-based companies
  • Aligning services with the rest of the organization
  • Establishing effective metrics and business review processes
  • The four phases of building a successful professional services organization
  • Frameworks for organization, project delivery, solutions development, and operational infrastructure
  • Customer engagement models and workflows

Drawing on their experience working with leading technology service providers, the authors cover every aspect of professional services: strategy, tactics, and operations. From financial models to customer relationships, Building Professional Services will help you transform the promise of services into a profitable reality.

'I can't imagine anyone starting a professional services organization without first referencing this work.'

—Dave Nestic,
President, NezTech Corporation

'This book is a significant contribution and a practical guide to a fast-evolving frontier. With clearly expressed views and recommendations, it will stimulate both thought and action.'

—David H. Maister, co-author of First Among Equals

'Extraordinary insight into the issues faced when building a professional services business unit at a product company.'

—Kenneth Coleman, Sr.
Vice President of Silicon Graphics and retired CEO of K&S Solutions

Harris Kern's Enterprise Computing Institute SeriesSolutions for IT Professionals.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Offers advice to companies that sell software products and are considering expanding their business to consulting services. The authors discuss the importance of defining the mission, objectives, guiding principles, and target business model of the professional services units, and identify the roles of the sales, service delivery, product engineering, and marketing departments. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
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Product Details

Meet the Author

THOMAS E. LAH has more than 15 years of experience in IT and consulting. As Director of Solutions Engineering at Silicon Graphics, he led a team responsible for developing and launching a professional services consulting organization on a global basis and growing it from zero to $150 million in four years.

STEVE O'CONNOR has held both business and IT services leadership roles for over 20 years. He served as Vice President for Professional Services at SGI and before that, as SGI's Chief Information Officer.

MITCHEL PETERSON has held a variety of financial and operational roles for more than 18 years. Most recently, he was the Senior Manager of Strategic Planning andCommunications for SGI's Professional Services Organization and was responsible for developing and implementing strategic and tactical programs.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Product Companies Jump In 1
Ch. 1 Mapping the Voyage 13
Ch. 2 Setting the Parameters 21
Ch. 3 Levers for Profitability 39
Ch. 4 Organizational Overview 51
Ch. 5 Selling 61
Ch. 6 Delivering 89
Ch. 7 Productizing 113
Ch. 8 Promoting 145
Ch. 9 Operational Infrastructure 167
Ch. 10 Putting It All Together 193
Ch. 11 Customer Engagement Workflow 215
Ch. 12 Four Phases of Building PS 231
Ch. 13 Unique Issues 267
Ch. 14 Summary of Key Concepts 287
App. A Evaluating Your Service Vendors 301
App. B Key Financial Models 307
App. C PS Business Review 311
App. D Sample Project Review 321
App. E Solution Portfolio Management 331
App. F Customer Request and Qualification Form 339
Glossary of Terms 343
Selected Bibliography 350
Index 351
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2002

    Must read for anyone faced with selling Professional Services

    Outstanding book that is right on the mark with the many challenges facing companies who are moving from a product focus into a professional services focus. I'm responsible for a sales force of 50 direct reps challenged with a professional services quota for the first time,the book couldn't have come at a better time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2002

    Finally, an outstanding book on professional services

    Although the act of growing a professional services organization has seemed to be a straightforward task, abundant evidence suggests that the failure rate is surprisingly high. For the first time, here is a book that challenges the reader to recognize the potential hazards in professional services and then lays out clear routes to overcome them. The insights provided by Thomas Lah make this a must read for anyone who has ever contemplated moving into this space.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2002

    Must read if you are in or thinking about Professional Services

    This is a well written book aimed directly at anyone who is currently in a professional services organization or in a company which is contemplating a PS offering. The book is a step by step guide outlining the do's and don'ts associated with life in the mis-understood PS environment. Not only is the overall PS landscape discussed in detail but specific business models and formulas for success are provided. These are valuable tools which can be used time and time again. While filled with what can be complex and weighty material, the organization of the information as well as the writing style makes Building Professional Services interesting reading. Avoid the song of the Siren, read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2002

    Stimulating and Thought Provoking

    If you run a consulting company, this is the book for you. Concise, well-written with great insight into sales, marketing, personnel, etc. Dozens of frameworks applicable to the real world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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