WSJ on Pricing

The Wall Street Journal posted several excellent articles (including links to some MIT Sloan articles) on pricing yesterday. I thought it might be helpful to provide the links.

SLAs are Dead

I have just returned from Sage North America’s Insights conference in Denver. The conference is, at the same time, completely exhausting and completely invigorating. I learn so much from Sage partners because they continue to test my thinking.

Without question, the best test of my thinking came during my pre-conference session on Sunday. One of the attendees (I cannot remember who, so if it is you, please claim the credit) shook me to the core. She said, “So if you believe we are professional knowledge firms, why should we be selling service level agreements?” I was dumbstruck.

My only response was, “You should not.” I have to admit, I have been wrong.

In one of the all-time great movies The Ten Commandments, Cedric Hardwicke as the Pharaoh Sethi says, “Let the name of Moses be stricken from every book and tablet. Stricken from every pylon and obelisk of Egypt. Let the name of Moses be unheard and unspoken, erased from the memory of man, for all time.”

The same must be done for service level agreements. So, let the phrase “service level agreement” be stricken from every Ron Baker book and article. Stricken from every blog post and comment on the VeraSage Website. Let the phrase of “service level agreement” be unheard and unspoken, erased from the memory of professionals, for all time.

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In keeping with this pronouncement, above is my slide from my session on creating, service access level agreements at the conference. Access Level Agreement is, for now, a placeholder. Other ideas I mulled over where: customer level agreements (too direct), support level agreements (too limiting), and access contract (too legal).

It is time once again to tap into the collective intellectual capacity of the community. Please post your ideas and arguments for or against the correct phrase.

Insights MegaSession – Creating the Firm of the Future

On Wednesday, May 19th from 1:30pm to 5:30pm at Sage North America’s annual partner conference, Insights, I will be presenting a session entitled Creating the Firm of the Future (GEN52-1,2&3).

This session will be dedicated to the possibility that a professional organization can be run more effectively when it becomes a knowledge firm rather than a service firm. Creating such an organization is hard work and not for everyone. It requires us to think differently than we have in the past about what it is that we do. You are hereby invited to open a dialogue on a different model for creating success in a professional firm.

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Learning Objectives:

  • What is a knowledge firm?
  • Moving from revenue to profit
  • Moving from capacity planning to knowledge management
  • Moving from efficiency to effectiveness
  • Moving from hourly billing to fixed pricing

Insights Session – Enhancing Your Customers Experience

On Tuesday, May 18th at 3:15pm at Sage North America’s annual partner conference, Insights, I will be co-presenting a session with Apryl Hanson of Blytheco entitled Enhancing Your Customers Experience (GEN54).

This session will be dedicated to the possibility that we can create deep, meaningful experiences for customers. Creating such experiences is hard work and not for everyone. It requires us to think differently than we have in the past. We are the ones who must change, not our customers. You are hereby invited by myself and Apryl to open a dialogue on a new model for building customer experiences.

image For those of you who plan on attending the session, please comment below with any thoughts or questions that you would especially like me to address during our time together.

Insights Session – Creating a Partner-based Service Level Agreement

On Thursday, May 20th at 8:00am at Sage North America’s annual partner conference, Insights, I will be presenting a session entitled Creating a Partner=based Service Level Agreement (GEN58).

This session will be dedicated to the possibility that we can create high quality service level agreements with our current customers. Creating such agreements is hard work and not for all partners, as it requires us to think differently than we have in the past about the nature of our relationship with our customers. You are hereby invited to open a dialogue on a new model for servicing your customers.

For those of you who plan on attending the session, please comment below with any thoughts or questions that you would especially like me to address during our time together.

Insights Session – The Parting Glass: So what and who cares?

On Thursday, May 20th at 9:15am at Sage North America’s annual partner conference, Insights, I will be presenting a session entitled The Parting Glass: So what and who cares? (GEN22).

In this last session of the conference, join me in a no-holds-barred look back at what you have learned at Insights 2010 and what your intentions are when you get back to the office. Be prepared to submit at least one item for which you wish to have the rest of the group hold you accountable.

For those of you who plan on attending the session, note that I will be asking you to post your commitment to the group as a comment on this post. Please include:

  • A brief description of your commitment
  • A date when you plan on achieving it

Insights Session – Consulting and the Crisis of Self-esteem

Building Self-Esteem (or, Why Are You Worth Feeding?)On Wednesday, May 19th at 9:15am at Sage North America’s annual partner conference, Insights, I will be presenting a session entitled Consulting and the Crisis of Self-esteem (GEN53).

This session will be dedicated to the possibility that a professional can increase his or her self-esteem through a better understanding of what consulting really is. Improving one’s self-esteem is difficult because it requires us to think at a high level of introspection. You are hereby invited to open a dialogue on a different model for creating success in a professional firm.

I intend for this session to be interactive. I have about 20 minutes of material and would then like to have a conversation with you about the ideas presented and maybe even brainstorm some possible action items we can take once we get back home after the conference.

Perhaps this video from Alan Weiss of Summit Consulting will spur some thinking ahead of time. I bet many of you have seen it.

 

For those of you who plan on attending the session, please comment below with any thoughts or questions that you would especially like me to address during our time together.

Insights Session – Managing an Engagement from an Issues List

On Monday, May 17th at 2:30pm at Sage North America’s annual partner conference, Insights, I will be presenting a session entitled Managing an Engagement from an Issues List (GEN23).

This session will be dedicated to the possibility that a professional organization can be run more effectively when people do not have to account for every six minutes of their day on a timesheet. Instead, the firm can be run more effectively when using an issues list instead. Creating such an organization is hard work and not for everyone. It requires us to think differently than we have in the past about what it is that we do. You are hereby invited to open a dialogue on a new model for measuring the success of a professional firm.

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For those of you who plan on attending the session, please comment below with any thoughts or questions that you would especially like me to address during our time together.

Insights Session – Creating a Great Scope Document

On Monday, May 17th at 1:15pm at Sage North America’s annual partner conference, Insights, I will be presenting a session entitled Creating a Great Scope Document (GEN55)

This session will be dedicated to the possibility that we can create great scope documents for our customers and that by doing so we will significantly increase the probability of success. Creating such scope documents is hard work and not for everyone. It requires us to think differently than we have in the past. You are hereby invited to open a dialogue on creating such scope documents.

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The objectives of this session are to understand the triangle of truth and elements of scope document.

For those of you who plan on attending the session, please comment below with any thoughts or questions that you would especially like me to address during our time together.