Interview With Ryan Ekins of Tealeaf

As a follow-up to our blog post on professional services in the #measure community we conducted a few brief interviews with prominent players across the consulting / services landscape.

This interview is with Ryan Ekins, a long-time #measure pro and a consultant for Tealeaf:

Corry: How does the size of the team differ now from last year and from a few years ago?

Ryan: The Professional Services Team certainly has grown over the years out of necessity. The consulting team numbers have more than doubled from the high single digits over the last 2 years. Tealeaf considers itself a software company and is not interested in building out a huge consulting team. Leveraging partners to help with implementation and best practices is definitely one of our goals. There are however, a lot of moving parts to Tealeaf and that requires highly skilled consultants directly attached to the Company.

Corry: What is the skill set that you are targeting now vs. a couple of years ago?

Ryan: Tealeaf originally was built as a tool for IT departments. Over the years the demand has steadily increased from the IT side to the business side. A few years ago there was more demand for networking/server skills and that is moving more to general analytics/usability.

The real drive is headed towards Customer Experience Management professionals. Still, a general understanding of how the web works as well as general understanding of networking is important. The consultants tend to verticalize their skills, for example, we have experts in replay, eventing/dimension data, reporting, networking, RIA, mobile, analytics, usability, administration, etc.

Corry: To what degree does the consulting business drive sales of product?

Ryan: The team is definitely used to ensure renewals through successful implementations and best practices. We are not given any goals/incentives to sell additional products or upgrades.

Corry: I am interested in the relationship between Tealeaf and their consulting partners. In some ways you are competitors and in some ways they help support your product and help your business. How does the consulting division at Tealeaf view the Keystones, Semphonics and Stratigents of the world?

Ryan: Partnerships are integral to the overall strategy at Tealeaf. Focusing on software rather than services is the general strategy. Tealeaf will always have a highly skilled consultant group for implementation, analyses and best practices to ensure successful use of the product. However, supporting and educating the partners is strategic to our growth.

There is some difficulty in transferring that knowledge because Tealeaf not only has session replay, but also has data management, analytics, CSR tools, session archiving, data extraction and various technical partner integrations. Because this is an on-premise install, the entire backend is managed by the client and consultants. In short there are MANY moving parts. Many of us came from a web analytics background and were surprised by how much there is to learn. opportunity for partners because the data collected with Tealeaf is just starting to be tapped with recent reporting/data extraction tools. A partner that invests in their Tealeaf consultants will definitely have huge opportunities going forward.

Corry: What is the perfect client for Tealeaf to keep for themselves as a consulting customer (as opposed to seeing them go to a vendor)?

Ryan: Strategic clients that are going to push the direction of the product. Of course at that point, often the product managers are more involved, and tend to work heavily with the consultants. Any client that pushes the limits of the tools.

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