For Software AG, forging customer connections begins with thinking differently.
How Software AG re-envisioned the customer experience journey with Adobe Experience Cloud and Adobe Customer Solutions.
webpages configured onto a unified worldwide platform
Become a leading SaaS business focused on data-driven, digital-first lead generation
Increase insight into customer persona behaviors and campaign personalization
Organize team roles and capabilities to be better equipped for digital marketing
Drive conversion of web experiences into greater customer acquisitions
Start of 5-year digital transformation journey built on data-driven strategic marketing
Bi-weekly customized reporting highlights campaign effectiveness and opportunities for real-time optimization
250 webpages configured from multiple disjointed websites onto a unified worldwide platform
Website redesigned in 7 months, establishing a foundation for scalable digital marketing
Transformational turning point
When Paz Macdonald got the call suggesting she interview for Chief Marketing Officer at Software AG, she wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. Faced with curiosity, she went online. “The first thing I did when approached for the position was to go to the company’s website,” Paz says, “I thought, I am unclear what this company does.” She found herself clicking through a collage of disjointed webpages and realized that buried deep in the site was evidence this company had industry recognized, market leading solutions. While the webpages didn’t quite tell a cohesive story, Paz saw an opportunity.
Software AG has been driving connections through technology since 1969. The company is the second largest software vendor in Germany with a large international footprint. The company helps ensure airline schedules get travelers to the terminal on time, deliveries make it to storefronts safely, and cities manage traffic flows effectively. Paz wanted to deliver that ‘connectedness’ from a customer’s first click.
“The website is the first thing people are going to see. I want them to do a double take for the right reasons,” says Paz, “The vision is to showcase the very best of who we are culturally product-wise, and have it reflected people-wise.”
Cool, calm, and connected
Now acting as CMO, Paz has cultivated that vision. And for good reason. “If we didn’t make the change, this would have halted our growth ambitions,” says Paz, “so the consequences were that we needed to make that change and fast.” Software AG set sights on becoming a leading SaaS business focused on data-driven, digital-first lead generation.
Using Adobe Experience Manager, Software AG has been able to think differently about the customer experience. “This goes beyond just getting pages up,” says Paz, “We want someone to have a great experience that anticipates how they are going to interact after they land on this page.”
Acquisitions had left Software AG with multiple websites for different parts of the business. After just 7 months, 250 webpages are now all housed on one platform that unifies the Software AG customer experience journey. Better yet, the platform is also now scalable for digital marketing worldwide.
“There are many websites from acquisitions over the years. To highlight the scale of the issue, one product line had three websites! This is a nightmare for SEO optimization. But it was a hang up from not wanting to be on the main .com site. Each acquisition lived in an extension they had built and maintained. I’ve started to round up and close down these extensions and get them all under one roof,” says Paz.
“I look to Adobe as how I want my marketing organization to be. I believe that by partnering with Adobe and exposing my team who has worked very closely with them, they can see what’s possible.”
Chief Marketing Officer, Software AG
Data does it
To plan and execute on the right digital transformation, Software AG looked to a source of inspiration. “I look to what Adobe is doing with their own marketing,” says Paz, “They’re driving best practices. They’re drinking their own champagne. They’ve been on the digital transformation journey, and that made me feel we will be successful not only in our transformation, but in our marketing as well, because of what we’re learning from Adobe.” They turned to Adobe Customer Solutions for expert guidance.
Understanding how data could inform their decisions came first. “Adobe showed us a significant gap in customer acquisition compared to our peers,” says Paz, “There was a big opportunity there to improve the engagement conversion journey.”
Software AG needed to act on the insights. “That was only telling us what Adobe had seen,” says Paz, “They then made great recommendations on opportunities to improve our digital customer experience.” Among the 53 recommendations given by Adobe, using a data-driven approach to optimize disjointed customer journeys was crucial. Now, Software AG has greater focus on the customer across all digital journey phases and corresponding experiences. Delivering the right personalized experiences at the right moments ultimately creates new leads and greater success for Software AG.
“Nobody up until that point had done that kind of analysis, and we needed to hear it,” says Paz, “And Adobe has been able to do that in a way where it’s motivated us to do better.”
Something for everyone
Next Software AG focused on streamlining the experience. “We’re thinking of a journey that’s kind of like a book. Adobe has helped us build a book from the chapters,” says Paz, “and depending on whether you’re a CIO, or a developer, you take a different chapter in the book.”
The book also includes a preface. For Software AG, this means thinking through touchpoints even before a customer enters the website. “It’s the introduction before you even open the first page of that book,” says Paz, “That might be a LinkedIn post. And from there, we take people from chapter one all the way through the end so it’s seamless.”
The website now takes customers through a tailored journey that matches their persona with the right end-to-end content.
Empowering future excellence
Redesigning the website is just the beginning. It’s part of a five-year transformation Software AG calls Helix. “As part of that, marketing is going through a major overhaul,” says Paz, “And partnering with Adobe, it has inspired my team to think in different ways.”
That includes making use of a comprehensive suite of Adobe Experience Cloud solutions, including Analytics, Marketo Engage, and Target. Software AG now has a customer-centric approach around marketing campaigns. Each aligns to a unique customer journey. Ongoing learning allows Software AG to capture and communicate the value of personalized campaigns and unique personas using biweekly customized reports. They can determine insights like which campaigns have led customers on their specific journeys. And if a campaign isn’t performing, Software AG has the opportunity to optimize it in real-time.
“This empowerment is wonderful because marketing is front and center,” says Paz, “We’re now thinking about how we can deliver that superior experience.”
Organizational growth mindset
Software AG didn’t just transform their technology. They’re dedicated to the people side of transformation too. “Adobe helped us realized that the roles we’ll need for executing best-in-class digital marketing are going to change,” says Paz, “We need to start thinking about these roles, like data scientists, for the future while creating this new system now.”
Adobe recommended an optimal digital marketing organizational setup. This included key roles to develop and enhance existing team capabilities. They mapped professional development paths and learnings for individual and group needs. By nurturing the right skillsets across all levels, Software AG will continue to see the most value out of their solutions.
New roles require new organizational structure. Adobe led an in-depth analysis to understand the challenges and goals at Software AG. Now, a hub and spoke model keeps key delivery teams connected. Data gets consolidated and reported from one team to another driving website personalization. And just as Paz had envisioned, data-driven strategy motivates Software AG’s marketing execution.
“I look to Adobe as how I want my marketing organization to be,” says Paz, “I believe that by partnering with Adobe and exposing my team who has worked very closely with them, they can see what’s possible.”
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