Support Resources Don’t Fall From The Sky

Support Resources Don’t Fall From The Sky

Al Hahn
Executive Director
The Association of Support Professionals

It’s obvious that support needs resources. What is not so obvious is how to get them. It is the support leader’s primary job to get resources for their organization. Some are good at this, but many are not. In today’s world of support, this is a critical skill. We can generalize and say that support requires both staffing resources and technology resources. They are also interdependent. For example, you can invest in artificial intelligence (AI) technology such as machine learning, (ML) or Large Language Models (LLM) and that is usually a great idea, but you also need a team or teams that know how to utilize these technologies. A technology without an implementation team is destined to be a disappointment.

Sorry to tell you this, but a good support leader must be able to sell. They must convince upper management on the technology investment. With newer tech, this can be substantial, particularly when you add the additional staff expense to implement. Yes, some tech can save enough to cover its costs or more, but that will take some time to recover. The leader also must be comfortable with financial analysis and able to talk about return-on-investment (ROI). They point out the trade-off of one-time cost over long-term savings. Few support leaders get into support because they want to sell. This can be a very challenging requirement at the highest levels. As ironic as this may sound, many support leaders would benefit from sales training.

Some might say that great leaders fight for support resources and there is certainly truth to that. It is better, however, to think of it more strategically. You always compete for budget. Your strategic resource requirements need to be more compelling to the company than those being requested by development or marketing. Get the CFO on your side and the rest will be easier. Make it plain how this will reduce cost, improve revenues, or enhance subscription renewals. Sometimes we think too negatively about how failing to do this will make everything worse. That may be true, but that does not sell. Stay with the upside as much as possible. Now go get some new resources.

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