As a vendor, how can you ensure that your customer’s business objectives and targets are going to be met if they adopt your solution?
In hyper scale industries like ours, where projects can extend over a significant period of time, keeping sight of the business outcomes you set out to achieve for your customer when you started isn’t always as easy as you’d think. There might be a Customer Success Manager (CSM) in place whose job is to focus this, but how can you prove that you have, in fact, succeeded in delivering the business value that your customer was looking for?
The first thing that comes to mind when having to prove something is that a data driven approach is best. Seeing data in black and white always makes for strong evidence and the best way to gain evidence of business value being achieved is to measure business KPIs. So how do you go about it?
1. Identify the relevant stakeholders
Based on our experience, we have found that running a value led program throughout the entire project lifecycle is the best mode of operation. The program’s recipe for success relies on open and transparent collaboration between you and your customer with an honest dialogue throughout. Therefore, the first step is to identify everyone who needs to be involved from your side and from both your customer’s IT and Business organization.
2. Identify your customer’s business objectives and impacted KPIs
The second step is to identify the customer’s business objectives and to map them to the solution enablers and impacted KPIs, which is key in creating a mutual foundation for program value governance. This provides the full set of business KPIs that the solution is going to impact. It is advantageous to do this mapping before contract sign-off as it helps to ensure that the solution offered suits the customer’s business objectives.
We find that to get accurate and efficient data, it is best to narrow down the list of KPIs that are going to be measured to around 10-15 key business KPIs. To do this the KPIs need to be prioritized according to those that are most important to the customer, are aligned with their objectives, and are most impacted by the new solution. Some KPIs might be influenced by various factors that aren’t necessarily directly related to the solution, such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction (CSAT). Hence, a negotiation needs to be carried out to come to an agreed list.
3. Agree on measurement approach, KPIs targets and collect baseline
A defined measurement approach creates alignment and transparency. Each KPI should have a clear definition, a detailed view of how it is measured, calculated, and baselined.
If the customer currently measures and monitors specific KPIs, this information can contribute to the dialogue. Once the approach has been defined and agreed upon, the baseline data from the legacy system can be collected and recorded.
For each of the key business KPIs, a target needs to be set that includes the range of minimal to best expected outcomes. Have a discussion with your customer to validate and approve the suggested target framework.
4. Design solution with business objectives in mind
To optimize the business results, business value-driven solution design and backlog prioritization is imperative. The KPIs that are going to be measured should be kept in mind throughout development and should be addressed, monitored, and optimized at every step of the program.
5. Measure and monitor KPIs
KPIs need to be measured to ensure targets are met. To ensure the best quality of measurement, it is advisable to start the measurement after Go Live and after the stability period and migration have finished. If you start measuring right after Go Live, there might still be teething issues with the system and the users won’t be proficient yet, so the measurements might not reflect the true impact.
Agree on the frequency of measurements with the customer. It could be every month or every couple of months, or whatever seems to make sense for the project. You also need to agree on who is responsible for measuring each KPI, whether it is the vendor or the customer. Sometimes the customer prefers the vendor to take responsibility of collecting the measurements. However, there might be some KPIs, such as Average Handling Time, that demand call center data, to which the vendor might not have access, and so a collaboration with the customer would be needed.
A shared performance dashboard should be established for a transparent view of the business KPIs’ status. This allows the data to be reviewed periodically, enabling a conversation around next steps and improvement actions, if required.
6. Communicate success
Communicating the value achieved to everyone involved, from executives to end users, on an ongoing basis during the project and the business as usual (BAU) phase is important to raise awareness and alignment on the value gained. When you have the data in hand, blowing your own horn is not a bad thing!
An additional benefit of having key performance objectives in place and then reporting against them can allow you to present your customer with a picture that is bigger than any current rollout issues. It can elevate the conversation to focus on the improvements and benefits achieved and not only on what might be going wrong.
The Amdocs Customer Centricity Team has developed a value-led program methodology based on these six steps that utilizes tried and tested tools, templates, and proven best practices. We periodically tweak the methodology to adapt to the evolving needs of the industry and projects. We have the experience of running the Amdocs Value-Led program in many a complex long-term project enabling us to shift the typically technology-intense focus of projects in our industry to a business value focused dialogue with our customers.
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