John Ragsdale, vice president of technology research for the Technology Services Industry Association and author of the new book Lessons Unlearned, reports back from the 2012 Technology Services World conference in Santa Clara on the best and most popular topics during the week. This post was first published on Ragsdale’s Eye on Service blog, and is re-published here with permission.

Today is the closing day of Technology Services World in Santa Clara, and I always find it enlightening to look at the top attended sessions of the event to see what topics are most interesting to members. No surprise, services technology, metrics, social media, and knowledge management proved to be popular topics. This is a list of the 10 sessions from Day 1 and Day 2 with the highest attendance:

Social Support: Battle-Hardened Lessons from Top Practitioners: A Panel Discussion with Leading Social Media Strategists in Tech Services. The was the top-attended session at TSW, exploring the inner-workings of social media — best practices and lessons learned — and uncovering which strategies, tools, and processes are being used most successfully by leading services organizations. The session leader was TSIA’s own Shawn Santos, with a very impressive panel of experts: Lois Marie Townsend from Hewlett-Packard, Radha Penekelapati from, and Toby Richards from Microsoft.

Driving Recurring Service Revenue: How SAP, EMC, and BMC are Transforming Their Service Business into a Growth Engine. This Services Technology Advantage Case Study session was the second-highest attended session at the event. The audience heard from SAP, EMC and BMC service leaders on how they have taken their service business to the next level. Panelists discussed how increased focus, visibility, and control has helped them transform their service business into a revenue growth engine. The session host was Keith Leimbach from ServiceSource, with panelists Christophe Bodin from BMC Software, Sara Hepner from EMC, and Roger McConville from SAP.

Positioning the Support Organization as the Leader in Innovation. The third-most attended session from Day 1 and Day 2 was also a Services Technology Advantage Case Study session. Presenters Tarik Mahmoud from Cisco and Diego Ventura from noHold explained that intelligence collected during a support interaction provides valuable insight for marketing, product development, engineering, and more. The challenge is that information is siloed and not transformed into measurable ROI. noHold’s customer, the leader in networking devices, has found a way to break the mold and create a paradigm shift by syndicating opportunities across all business units.

The Artful Manager: How to Leverage Business Metrics to Greatest Effect. No. 4 on the top-attended list was this panel discussion, led by TSIA’s Stephen Smith, with panelists Syd Garrett from Cisco Systems, and Frank Coleman from EMC, presented an interactive discussion about how to optimize your metrics and business intelligence program.

Demystifying Service Revenue Growth. This session, presented by Julia Stegman, TSIA’s VP of research for service revenue generation, revealed the results from the Service Revenue Generation benchmark, which is the first and only industry benchmark for recurring services. Participants learned what actual performance is, which is an aggregate of impressive industry leaders from our Service Revenue Generation Founding Members.

Blending Knowledge Management and Social Media for Service and Support. No. 6 on our list was presented by Lynn Llewellyn and Kevin Mitts from VMware, who shared social media and knowledge-management strategies from VMware® Global Support Services. The company has developed an innovative, award-winning program that provides invaluable assistance to its customers and helps deflect support cases–the Social Media Guidebook for Service and Support Responds to Customers Faster and Increases Satisfaction.

Our Journey through Knowledge Management: Business Challenges, Best Practices, and Lessons Learned. No. 7 on the top attended list was also a Services Technology Advantage Case Study,  presented by Joni Ortbring from Audatex, a Solera Company, and Tom Kolano from Consona. The session focused on how Knowledge-Centered Support (KCS) principles, along with a feature-rich KM system, allowed Audatex  to focus on knowledge as a community asset providing accurate information to their clientele and associates in near real-time.

Channel Optimization and Why This Matters to Your Business. This session was originally going to be presented by my research pal, Sally Foster, but due to an injury, our fearless leader, JB Wood, stepped in and drove the session. Customers are becoming more and more interested in engaging with service providers via multiple channels of communication. It used to be that calling a support center or sending an e-mail was what you did. The cost of these channels is almost becoming prohibitive depending on the volume of incidents a provider handles. Customers want solution providers to engage with them in the way that they want to be served. This session looked at evolving channel strategies and how successful companies are approaching customer channel preferences.

Transform Your Services Business To Create A Strategic And Sustainable Footprint With Your Customer. No. 9 on our list is another customer case study, part of the Services Technology Advantage track. Presented by Ruth Fornell from NCR, the session described how NCR Corporation continues its evolution into a services led, software driven, hardware enabled solutions company. Attendees learned how NCR uses Compuware Changepoint Professonal Services Automation (PSA) to differentiate themselves while creating a broader, more strategic and sustainable footprint with their customers. This case study presentation was targeting services executives looking to transform their services business through global knowledge sharing, centers of excellence and organizational transformation.

Award-Winning Best Practices in Complex Applications Support. Rounding out our Top 10 session was a panel discussion with Charlotte Baker of Digital Hands, Michael Montoya from EMC, and Buffy Ransom from Oracle. Providing sophisticated technical support for complex applications in mixed or otherwise complex environments requires a unique set of service delivery capabilities. Attendees came to learn what works from a panel of 2009-2011 STAR Award winners in the Complex Applications Support category, who shared their successful strategies and tactics in an interactive panel discussion

Thanks to everyone for attending our event, and a special thanks to all these presenters for creating such dynamic topics and content!

Related: Customer Service Is Your Best Salesperson: A Q-and-A with TSIAs John Ragsdale.

Click here to download a free whitepaper, “Five Steps to Make Field Service Profitable.”

ABOUT John Ragsdale

Avatar photoJohn Ragsdale is vice president of technology and social research for the Technology Services Industry Association. He writes a regular blog, Eye on Service, for the TSIA.