Dell’s SupportAssist Customer Adoption Model

Name Dell’s SupportAssist customer adoption model: enhancing the next generation of data intensive support services
Modelers Navid Ghaffarzadegan, Armin Ashouri Rad, Ran Xu, Sarah Mostafavi
Client/Participant Dell, Inc.
Client Type Corporate
The Issue You Tackled SupportAssist is a high-tech, smart, predictive, and preventive maintenance system which is used as a part of Dell's after-sales services. SupportAssist continuously receives data from millions of Dell devices around the globe, stores the data in the cloud, and based on its intelligent engine, predicts the likelihood of failure in Dell devices. Consequently, it can be a very useful tool to prevent computer failure which is especially critical in high-risk industries such as energy and healthcare. Despite all the benefits, SupportAssist's market adoption was not in a desired level.
What You Actually Did We developed series of system dynamics models to analyze market adoption and performance of SupportAssist. The models were built based on the past successful cases of applications of system dynamics to market adoption problems, the literature of marketing, information technology, and operations management, as well as expert knowledge from the field. The client was engaged during the entire process of model building which included multiple site visits and bi-weekly meetings. Six different iterations of system dynamics models were offered during the period of 2 years. We utilized various data sources from the company, and validated the model by replicating the past data from Dell. Moreover, we developed a user friendly interface in Forio that can work as a flight simulator for decision makers in Dell to compare different strategies through "what-if analysis." Our models were also informed by supplementary statistical techniques and textual analysis of their archival data. 
The Results Our simulation models challenged the client's mental model on several of their strategies, such as their focus on promoting evaluation, short-term marketing campaigns, retention of disconnected clients, and sole focus on design features and marketing resources. The model pointed to a major "leakage" in the pipeline of their customers. We offered a combination of strategies with a focus on mass penetration (few customers using SupportAssist in more devices) and periodic value generation beyond fixing failure. The benefits of the new strategies are estimated to be in the order of $50M over a period of 5 years. In addition, the entire discussion around the model helped Dell to have a different dynamic perspective on the problem of market adoption, and promoted more effective dialogue within the organization.

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