Shane Ridley: What Is Software Plus Service?

12473x608IT Industry – YOU HAVE IT WRONG – “Software Plus Service” does not mean what you think it means.

We have been working hard at OTrain to try and find a way of describing what we do, and putting it into simple terms that don’t require you to be a computer nerd to understand.

Sure there’s a whole bunch of language out there already, but unless you spend 20 minutes a day to keep up with the latest terminology, your probably like the rest of us and still calling “the cloud” the Internet.

So today, I coined the phrase, Software Plus Service.

You see at OTrain, we provide a piece of software, our learning management system, which we host on the Internet. The techs might call it cloud services, or Software as a Service (SaaS). But we just call it software.

But we also offer outstanding customer service. Sure everyone claims to offer that, but at OTrain, we really do. It’s a key performance indicator, a core value and a key sequence in our DNA. We have chosen to make this our point of difference. Not good customer service. Not great customer service. But out-bloody-standing customer service.

So it makes sense to call what we do: Software plus Service.

When I got home tonight, I thought I’d do the right thing and google those three words to see if anyone else is using it. And guess what, people are. Loads of people. Even Microsoft!! Which you might think would make me happy, but it didn’t.

Software Plus service is a whole category. There’s even a Wiki page dedicated to it.

But it doesn’t mean what your might think it should. And it certainly doesn’t mean what I meant it to mean, when I selected those three simple words.

You see, in IT speak, Software Plus Service means a piece of software that you host on your local computer, which also connects to more software hosted on the Internet.

Hello! Just because you have software on the Internet, does not make it a service. It’s still software. Why try to redefine what service is. No wonder we’re all frustrated by claims of “service” only to have to “press 1 to proceed” or “log a ticket”, or worse.

Service is service. It’s not software no matter how you deliver it.

Service is about being available at the end of the phone, end of the chat window, end of the email – immediately. Not after three hours on hold plus 32 auto prompts. It’s about being proactive and identifying challenges before they become challenges.

It’s about the person on the end of the conversation taking ownership of your challenge, finding a solution, and then following up to make sure the solution met your expectations and your challenge, all your challenges, have been resolved. Even the ones that popped up as a result of the suggested “fix”.

We built our business as a bunch of frustrated small business owners, who knew what we wanted but couldn’t get IT to understand. We don’t have all the buzz words, just a simple promise: Intuitively Simple Software, backed up with Outstanding Service (we wanted “fanatical,” but that was taken by Rackspace).

So today I declare that we are going to retake ownership of the phrase Software Plus Service. At OTrain, Software Plus Service means a piece of software, whereever its hosted, backed up with real customer service.

Join us in this fight. Take it up to the IT people and remind them: Software Plus Service is about software – plus – service. Simple. No need to complicate it. If you are saying your delivering software plus service, don’t forget to spend a little time on the service aspect.

We do.


Shane is owner and Managing Director of the OGroup Management (Recruitment and Consultancy). Shane oversees and manages a number of businesses in the human resource sector, including OTrain. Visit his website, or subscribe to his blog.


About the Author

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Shane Ridley is the Founder and Managing Director of OTrain. With a background in Workforce Development, Shane has been involved in everything from staffing and developing workforces in Greenfield sites to working with 100 year old companies. 1 man operations to multinationals. A serial entrepreneur, Shane has also successfully started and grown 5 businesses, on 3 occasions taking them from concept to $1M+ in revenue.

Connect with Shane via LinkedIn or Twitter


About OTrain

OTrain puts training online.

With our cloud based Learning Management Solution, and our Studi.O team, OTrain is on a mission to Save the World from Boring Training”

 OTrain is Simply put, a better way to train.

Learn more about OTrain by visiting www.otrain.com.au or calling us on 07 3040 3310