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In the last blog, I have talked about the two relationships that constitute the eco system of tech support service and the two models that govern these relationships: Operational and engagement maturity models. I have also briefly introduced the operational maturity model. In this blog, I will talk about the engagement maturity model.

Engagement maturity model provides the maturity ladder for a product company to engage with a tech support service provider. This ladder starts with insourcing and tactical staff-augmentation taking care of point needs. At the highest end, it matures to the level of business partnership in which the partner enables the product company to introduce new lines of revenue generating services with ease.

1. Insourcing: Partner provides skilled people with little control over workflow, quality of support, cost effectiveness and operational efficiency.

2. Staff-Augmentation: Apart from sourcing skilled people, product company leverages the partner’s investments in delivery infrastructure.

3. Team Extension: Partner carries partial responsibility for managing the operations, scheduling of resources, responsible for indentified areas.

4. Independent Ownership: Partner independently owns a chunk of the delivery responsibility. It could be a particular layer of support or an identified set of products or covering a particular geography or time zone. Complete responsibility for customer satisfaction, operations management, creation and modification of processes and workflow lies with the partner.

5. Support Partnership: Partner helps in support readiness by provisioning infrastructure, RMA logistics, developing channels of support, content for customer education, predicting and preparing for spikes in work load. In the spirit of true partnership, demand reduction becomes partner’s responsibility.

6. Business Partnership: Partner enables developing and rollout of value added services under business partnership model. Product company will be able to enjoy the additional revenues, with the service delivery responsibility being completely owned by the partner.

While each level offers unique advantages, one can gain significant strategic advantage as the engagement matures towards business partnership. As the engagement with the partner matures the ability of the partner to help the product companies transform their relationship with their customers across the operational maturity levels increases.

A potential tech support partner should be evaluated for its ability to understand customers’ expectations and success criteria at different levels of engagement maturity. The partner must be able to design and implement governance mechanism appropriate for the maturity level of the engagement and demonstrate cost effectiveness, improved quality of service, value creation and customer satisfaction.

In my next blog, I will talk about how these maturity models are inter-connected and how the progress on operational maturity model depends on advancement on engagement maturity model.

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About the Author

Srinivasa Rao
Head, Technical Support

Srinivas has 20 years experience in the IT industry and currently heads the Technical Support practice at Mindtree. He started his career as a design and manufacturing consultant for CAD/CAM. With core expertise in Unix system administration, he supported fault-tolerant HP NonStop-UX systems and Mirapoint's enterprise secure messaging appliance servers. He led teams that developed test suites for fault-tolerant features of NonStop-UX. In his current role he is responsible for technical support service delivery excellence, building world class support teams, technology learning initiatives, customer relationship management. Srinivas has a Master's degree in machine dynamics and robotics from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.

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