Beyond implementation — how services organizations need to evolve in today’s world
When I started my career in software consulting over 25 years ago, my role was to support businesses with the implementation and installation of on-premise software solutions. We would visit the customer’s office, understand their business and technical requirements, and integrate and configure the product. After taking them live, we would enable the customer and hand over the solution to their customer's team. I would then head out the door and probably not hear from the customer until they wanted to upgrade to the next iteration of the software.
But with the advent of software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS), the role of professional services consulting organizations has changed. I have implemented more customers in the past year than the previous five combined — all from my laptop in the comfort of my sitting room. Not only has the way we do business changed, but our customers have transformed as well. It is no longer just about setting up the software and platform. A new approach is needed. We have to look beyond the implementation phase to provide continued support and ensure long-term success for customers moving to a new software solution .
The three keys to consultancy in SaaS and PaaS
There are three steps every service organization has to take to not only implement new software but also support customers in the long-term adoption, success, and integration of new solutions.
1. Adopting a wider scope
Historically, when providing on-premise support, consulting was primarily concerned with installation. PaaS has made powerful software solutions available to customers who don’t have expert knowledge of the platform. And in doing so, it has changed the role and responsibilities of services organizations and project teams.
Professional services now need to go beyond the implementation phase to develop and deliver on a roadmap that provides ongoing growth and support for customers and their business objectives. This means thinking about:
- Long-term planning and strategy
This may seem like a daunting list, but as software is no longer specifically tailored for individual customers, a good project team needs to tackle the process from end to end.
2. Working backward from adoption
The end goal of any software implementation should be adoption. There is no sense in implementing new software with your customer only to leave them to it and risk them reverting to old practices and systems — or failing to realize the potential of the technology they have available.
This means placing adoption front and center and implementing an effective change management plan, including training, full team buy-in, and setting long-term targets and goals. This, of course, is in addition to implementing the solution.
Without a focus on adoption from the start, your new solution likely won’t achieve its desired outcome.
3. Changing the engagement model
In the past, a services organization would work with the customer — and the customer alone — to implement new software. Again, PaaS has changed this. Project teams need to take a holistic, integrated approach to engaging with new software.
Adoption and value realization require the involvement of the service provider, customer support, and product organization. These three strands need to work in tandem, never in isolation.
Your job as a project team is to organize, coordinate, and integrate. You need to have a firm grasp on:
- The service — how it operates and how to implement it
- The customer — what they need and how to ensure long-term success and adoption
- The end user — what the change means for them and how to best serve them with this new implementation
If you tackle all three of these integral strands in unison, you can not only ensure the adoption of the new software but also allow your customers to fully realize the value of their new solution.
Adobe Professional Services is uniquely positioned in the consulting space to not only offer industry-leading implementation support but also leverage the expertise of those who know the technology best.
When supporting our customers with software implementation, we work directly with the product team, software engineers, and the cloud team to ensure each implementation is tailored to the individual customer’s needs. We also provide feedback to the product design and engineering teams for the next round of software development — meaning our software is constantly being refined using the real-time feedback of our customers.
This holistic approach, which spans from product design to implementation and installation through long-term support, is what sets the Adobe solution apart from the rest of the market.
A new approach to consultancy
Here at Adobe, we have been refining our approach to consultancy. All our implementations are built around three core principles — people, process, and technology. We take a full-spectrum view of product implementation by looking at the technology itself, how it works, and how and why it affects the users.
With Adobe, you work with a skilled consulting partner that can support customers through our business planning and lifecycle with world-class software experts who support customers across technologies. You also gain access to the best software solution on the market, making vendor and technology consolidation far easier.
We have used this approach to help countless organizations achieve their goals and take their offerings to the next level. One such example was the work that we did with packaging manufacturer SEE (formerly Sealed Air).
SEE was looking to pivot from just being a company that makes packaging to a partner that can work alongside customers to solve industry challenges in real time and help transform the market from the inside. And the company turned to Adobe Professional Services for support.
We helped SEE reimagine its customer website journey, integrate smart tools for analysis and customer targeting, and build a custom buyer portal on its ecommerce platform. All of this was powered by Adobe’s suite of market-leading software — consolidating the SEE stack in the process.
After we helped SEE implement, iterate, and improve its online platform, the company saw 80% of orders being placed online, with 83% of customers engaging with the new buyer portal. SEE was also able to automate 15% of its manual order processes, streamlining the customer journey and drastically improving customer experience and engagement.
You can read the full case study here.
Get in touch today to supercharge your next implementation
If you’re ready to find out more, get in touch with Adobe Professional Services experts. We can improve your customer experience through future-proof improvements to the systems, strategies, and technologies your business uses every day.
Dinesh Chaurasia is the head of the Adobe Commerce Services practice globally. Prior to Adobe, Chaurasia held leadership roles at Model N, Sterling Commerce, IBM, and NetSuite. He was responsible for setting up IBM’s Center of Competency for Order Management Solution for retail and telecom verticals. He has successfully sold, managed, and delivered large ($100M+) transformation projects for Fortune 500 companies globally.