New Trends in Quality Services
I was recently asked to give
a brief presentation on trends in the quality services market
regarding registration, training and consulting. At first,
I thought "no big deal," but on reflection, I
realized that it's a daunting task.
The quality services industry has undergone a huge transformation
in the last few years. The market has become more fragmented
as new management tools, techniques and standards have been
developed. In addition, new technologies such as computer-
and Internet-based training are rapidly changing the face
of consulting, training and registration. Consumers accustomed
to near-instantaneous delivery of movies, music and other
media expect training, consulting and registration services
to be delivered similarly.
Remember how the process used to work? If you wanted to
hire a trainer, you had to first find the ones who could
meet your organization's needs. You did this by talking
to colleagues, reading magazines (a process this editor
hopes you'll continue to follow), attending trade shows
and the like. Once you narrowed the list down, you'd contact
several companies--usually by typing a letter on a primitive
mechanical instrument known as a "typewriter"--or
by calling the companies directly. Then you'd wait several
weeks for the companies to respond to you. Next you'd narrow
your list further and again wait weeks for the selected
companies to mail you proposals for the their services.
Even after you made your decision, you still had to deal
with making travel arrangements, booking hotels, reserving
meeting rooms and more. How primitive!
Now, you just log on to the Internet and search for trainers
specializing in your particular need. (Did I mention that
Quality Digest's consultants directories are available at
A few clicks of your mouse send electronic requests for
proposals to the chosen companies, and within hours or a
few days you've got the information you need. A process
that once took weeks or months now takes hours or days.
Frequently the training you need can be delivered via the
Internet when and where you need it, not when and where
it's convenient for the trainer.
Registrars aren't immune from the "gotta have it
now" mentality either. To cope, some, such as DNV Certification,
have developed Web-based tools to help their clients manage
the registration process. For example, DNV's tool, E-Advantage,
promises to help its clients manage their entire registration
process. It's a well-executed and useful tool.
Online collaboration tools like WebEx are also helping
consultants, trainers, registrars and others in the quality
services business to hold meetings and training sessions
online. Software companies are particularly adept and maximizing
this technology. For example, Pilgrim Software holds regularly
scheduled "Webinars" to demonstrate its software,
allowing current and potential customers to see what's new
without having to wait for a demo version to be mailed to
them or install software on their own computers.
Of course, the danger of this brave new e-world is that
we risk forgetting the human element. Training, consulting,
registration and other quality services will always need
a human touch to truly be successful.
I'd like to know what you think about the future of the
quality services market.
E-mail your thoughts to email@example.com.