In getting ready for Pulse 2013 and I've been talking with folks from different IBM teams who will be at the conference on March 3 through March 6.
The IBM software Accelerated Value Program team hosts exclusive events for its clients at Pulse, including the Red Carpet Lounge - and I am intrigued to learn more about who attends, and just what goes on in this vibrant area which 'buzzes' in the Expo each year!
So I caught up with Maria ("Mary") Tafuri, Worldwide Program Director of the IBM Software Accelerated Value Program for IBM Tivoli Software, for a recap on what the IBM Software Accelerated Value Program is about and what her team will have going on at Pulse this year.
By way of introduction, Mary has been Tivoli Accelerated Value Program Director since early 2010. She joined IBM in 1996, and has extensive experience in the areas of customer and product support, strategy planning, and business model initiatives. Mary also has worked as an IBM manager in a number of different countries and with many international clients, experience which serves her well in her current worldwide role.
Can you give me a quick refresher on the IBM Software Accelerated Value Program?
Mary: I'd be glad to! The IBM Software Accelerated Value Program is a technical advisory service that complements and enhances IBM's standard Subscription and Support. The program matches clients with an IBM Accelerated Value team of experts who through a trusted long term partnership, deliver ongoing services of value and excellence. On-site assistance, best-practice sharing, skill-building activities, deployment planning assistance, problem prevention, and diagnostic coaching -- all are examples of how we maximize the client's software investment at all stages of the software life cycle. The Accelerated Value Program's does exactly what it says, opening up the channels that help clients accelerate from software purchase to software return-on-investment.
What will the IBM Accelerated Value Program have going on this year at Pulse?
Mary:Well in 2013, we have a number of exciting events planned! First, we'll have our Accelerated Value Program Red Carpet Lounge located in the Solution Expo hall, where Accelerated Value clients can relax and check e-mail between sessions, and network with other AVP customers. To kick off our client's Pulse experience, we have invited our clients to the lounge for VIP opening night cocktails on Sunday, March 3rd from 6:30 to 9:00 PM. For customers who do not currently have Accelerated Value, our doors are open for you too! We have Accelerated Value Managers, Executives and team members available throughout the day in the lounge to hold interactive discussions on either our predefined subject matters, or if preferred, topics of the customer's choice. This year, we have made it much easier for customers to drop by the lounge during a convenient gap in their day's schedule, as discussions are 'on demand' and at the customer's convenience.
I encourage all of our Tivoli customers to take this opportunity to find out more about Accelerated Value, and they will soon learn why over 90% of our customers worldwide renew their Accelerated Value Program contract year on year - despite the financially challenged climate we live in today!
That's a quite amazing contract renewal rate in what is, as you say, a tough financial climate. What's your secret?
Mary: Quite simply value! Customers not only want to see value from their software purchase, they want [and need] to see it quickly! Accelerated Value helps its customers to work smarter, leverage the right product features to achieve their business goals, and avoid time consuming technical issues. Accelerated Value provides all this consistently over long periods of time, accumulating value upon value.
You must regard your AVP customers as very special to provide the 'Red Carpet' treatment,
Mary: Yes, 'special' is a very good way to describe the trusted and long term relationship we have with our customers!
How can IBM customers learn more about the Accelerated Value Program?
Mary: Apart from visiting the Red Carpet Lounge, customers can learn more by visiting the IBM Software Accelerated Value Program Web site at www.ibm.com/software/support/acceleratedvalue
I am also happy to receive any enquiries personally and can be contact at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, customers can e-mail us at email@example.com.
Thank you for your time
Mary: You're welcome, and see you at Pulse!