Boosting customer success in the digital age | SEIDOR
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September 05, 2023

Boosting customer success in the digital age

In a world of constant change and challenge, companies of all sizes are striving to stay ahead of the competition. Customer service is no longer a luxury, but an obligation, and the concept of "customer success" is at the forefront of innovations in business philosophy in this new era.

It's no longer debatable that a greater effort is needed to look after customers, employees and the environment. Technology plays a key role and organisations that have understood this have started (or accelerated) the digital transformation process to move towards the intelligent enterprise. An MIT report ("Ready for the future? Choose your path to digital business transformation") indicates that companies that have successfully undergone a business transformation using digital capabilities perform better, with a margin 16 per cent higher than the average for their sector.

However, it's no longer just about selling products or services, but also about guaranteeing long-term customer satisfaction and success. This is how the concept of customer success, a business philosophy centred on helping customers achieve their goals and maximise the value of the products or services they purchase, has become an essential strategy for companies in the digital age.

In contrast to the traditional sales-centred approach, this new stream focuses on customer adoption, satisfaction and achieving results throughout the customer lifecycle. Its main objective is to build strong and lasting relationships with customers, turning them into brand advocates and recurring revenue generators.

But when you implement technology to get there, you don't always get the same results, or you simply don't succeed. What makes the difference? Is it just a matter of following best practice? Does it depend on the technological solution? Or the effectiveness of the processes? Does it depend on planning? Or the budget and resources allocated?

Searching for the end of the ball

When large integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) projects involving the supply chain are considered, they often become cumbersome, complex and require all areas to be involved and committed.

However, at the end of the day, there are thousands of examples of customers who have been extraordinarily successful, realised huge business benefits, increased profitability or transformed their businesses by optimising resources, tools and processes. But not only that, the result translates into a better customer and employee experience.

At the same time, unfortunately, there are also examples of customer projects from all leading enterprise application vendors that went wrong, caused annoyance, wasted time and resources.

The same software, the same best practices, and sometimes the same implementers. So what changes? Are there avoidable failures?

A proof of this is the following

Among the international developers of business management software, it is clear that SAP is the undisputed leader. Its more than 425,000 customers in over 180 countries are a yardstick of the different experiences generated by implementations.

In February 2020, SAP embarked on the biggest internal reorganisation in its history to refocus on its customers. It brought together all its customer-orientated teams in a new global unit, called SAP Customer Success, with the clear aim of developing a shared definition with customers and helping them achieve their strategic business results.

An innovative research project by a UK-based consultancy firm surveyed more than 100 experienced SAP customers to determine exactly how successful their global SAP programmes and projects had been to date.

The result of this research was that customer success can be defined by a succession of phases that consider 3 fundamental aspects: On Plan, On Budget and On Value.

Delivering on plan, keeping budget and value for money

The meaning of On Plan and On Budget may be obvious, but also incredibly difficult to achieve if these points are not approached carefully and with the right support.

On the one hand, for planning the CIO must know in detail the complexity of the system in the same way as he knows every process or sub-process in his own company. His objective is to execute the implementation on a highly reliable infrastructure and based on a well-analysed continuity plan, defining roles, tasks, stages, scope and key milestones or dates for full or partial go-live. Without a thorough plan, the project may not be fully successful.

In SEIDOR Portugal's case, a platinum SAP partner, it has Centres of Excellence (CoE) to retain key knowledge about SAP products, maintain governance, collaborate with all parts of the company and even manage external service providers. It makes it possible to train employees specifically in skills that are not readily available on the market, according to the organisation's needs and standards The advantages of the CoE accompanying these projects are numerous.

For budget management and control, the CFO plays a key role in sizing the investment and ensuring that the total cost of ownership (TCO) does not exceed the company's financial and budgetary possibilities. To do this, they must have a lifecycle plan organised in stages to avoid unexpected costs, particularly in upgrades, developments or additional implementations that may result from the evolution of the company or external macroeconomic or political factors. At the same time, it is highly desirable to reduce initial CAPEX costs, but it is unexpected OPEX costs (operating expenses) that must be avoided. This is why CFOs are exploring the hybrid cloud delivery model with service providers.

Once again, for SAP customers, the autonomy provided by CoEs always helps them to control operating costs (OPEX) and project creation costs (CAPEX).

The value creation phase begins with a global assessment and analysis of the scope of the project: this is the main focus of the CEO, who must have an integrative vision of the two previous phases and validate with his Board of Directors the best alternatives and steps to follow, the best practices, strategically define the business and governance processes of all the back-office systems and have KPIs to measure the efficiency of the processes. In short, guarantee the value that the implementation will generate for your organisation, its resources, your company's image and its profitability.

The customer's success is our success

In today's digital age, customer success has become a key strategy for companies that want to stand out and maintain strong relationships with their customers.

By focusing on long-term customer success and satisfaction, organisations can foster loyalty and growth and position their products or services as high-value solutions. In short, it's a business philosophy that leads to mutual success for both companies and their customers in an ever-changing technological environment.

Many companies are currently on a digital transformation journey to optimise their business models and generate new revenue with SAP technology. To do so, they rely on the invaluable support of their ecosystem of partners to accompany this transformation. In Europe, one of SAP's most prestigious business partners is SEIDOR, a member of the United VARs, which also has extensive experience in being a strategic ally for this type of project and guaranteeing the success of the SAP customer. In this way, the investment will be justified, the return will be visible and the consolidation and loyalty of the customer will, paradoxically, be a real success.

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