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Conclusions

Product companies offering professional services is a symbol of our business times. Customers demand complete solutions, not disparate technology components. Product companies faced with shrinking revenues and margins are anxious to pursue new opportunities that bolster the company portfolio and performance. To the business media, consulting services for product companies offer the appeal of a sugar substitute: all the taste with none of the calories. But professional service units at product companies haven't lived up to the hype and potential. True success stories in this arena are rare. When reviewing the financial press releases of product companies, you are more likely to find professional services units operating at a loss than at a 10–15% profit. But this current reality doesn't have to reflect the future. Product companies can greatly improve the performance of their professional service units by stepping back and reviewing key areas such as the intended mission of the unit, the target business model for the unit, and the required infrastructure that professional services need in order to succeed.

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