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2022 GUIDE FOR SAAS COMPANIES FACING DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

The TSIA World: Interact event was held in Orlando from May 16-18 2022. Precursive as proud sponsors of this event, were excited by the offer of a global hybrid learning experience with access to insightful keynotes and breakout sessions on the latest technology and services trends. One week on we reflect on the key themes of the show.


The main theme of the show surrounded the challenges businesses face around digital transformation and the pitfalls a company may fall into if not managed properly. We have put together some helpful material of our own to explore why many SaaS companies are finding it hard to adapt to the new digital world. In short, the digital world is the great migration of virtually all things becoming immersed into the online and technological environment. It is the unavoidable tidal wave of all things ‘data’ and ‘smart’, and is paving the way for all companies to accelerate growth.


We look at the biggest mistakes to avoid when trying to meet your goals and keep your customers and employees happy, all while going through a period of digital transformation.


WHY SAAS COMPANIES AREN'T HAVING ANY JOY WITH THEIR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION


If implemented well, digital technology is the key to SaaS businesses maximizing revenue and transforming the customer experience and business processes. If not managed effectively, companies risk being left in last place while their competitors get the spoils.


For SaaS companies, it sounds like a bad joke that they would not adapt well to digital transformation. According to research by Capgemini’s Senior Vice President, Didier Bonnet, only around one-third of businesses are adapting to a more digital culture when it comes to data-driven decision-making and experimentation.


So why are two-thirds of businesses struggling to adapt to this new digital world? Take a look at these five key reasons below:


WRONG SKILL SET


There is a scarcity of the skills required for a smooth digital transition. A true digital transformation means moving your business processes over to the cloud to create a smoother customer experience, and allowing your employees to work just as efficiently, wherever they are. A tremendous amount of effort and change management is required to move large lots of data and workloads to the cloud, but cloud-based skills are still a rare commodity and many SaaS companies find it hard to attract this sort of talent. Many companies also find it just as difficult to reskill current employees. With a better base for understanding the company workloads, a reskilled employee may find this task easier than a complete outsider. The skill gap still exists however, and the time and costs spent reskilling them is not always a guaranteed win. We discuss skill availability in Fixing the Capacity Crunch.


POOR COMMUNICATION & COLLABORATION


One thing that's sure to guarantee failure in every aspect of life, not just SaaS, is miscommunication. If there’s any misunderstanding between teams surrounding the need and the project undertaken, or the goals aren’t clear, then the result will be a categoric failure. Teams and leaders must coordinate throughout the entire process by establishing at the very beginning the desired outcome for their own role as well as understanding the wider business outcomes. Business teams and tech teams will often lock horns due to both sides failing to fully grasp the needs of the other.


It's certainly a lot to consider! Organizations that are unable to carry out a digital transformation do so due to neglect of at least one of these parts. If the business facilitates a culture which is resistant to transformation, or employees resist change, any sort of new processes looking to be introduced will be unlikely.



NO DIGITAL CULTURE


Since the Covid-19 pandemic, SaaS business models have drastically changed, forcing companies to crank up their digital initiatives to 11. As a result, employees aren’t as engaged in digital initiatives by choice, and engagement across the board is not yet the norm. Some can find it difficult to connect what they’re doing in digital transformation to a meaningful, polished product for the front end of their organization.


In order to survive in this digital-heavy world we now live in, SaaS companies need to utilize the sheer amount of data they now possess, to deliver more accurate, data-driven decisions. Ensuring the correct data is sent to the right place can often be where the struggle lies due to the seemingly endless locations data can be stored, such as the cloud, machines and devices to name a few.


Onboarding can also take a hit if you have a poor digital setup. Without a purpose-built system for onboarding and implementation projects, you’re laying the foundation for digital transformation efforts failing before they’ve even begun. With a ‘one size fits all’ tool for projects and collaborative working, transparency and accountability are severely lacking.


UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS


Perhaps one of the biggest reasons digital transformation can fail is a consistent overestimation of the benefits of doing so, and an underestimation of the costs required to transition smoothly. No matter how aligned the leadership team is, if decisions are based on inaccurate information, then you’re not going to get anywhere.


In the early days of digital transformation, many companies were a little too optimistic, wowed by fancy tech but did not have the means to adapt to it. Today, the people making these key decisions understand more how hard a task this really is and give it the time and effort it deserves. They now realize that the transformation itself is just as important as the digital technology. The organizations with strong visions for digital transformation, a solid communication infrastructure, and multiple digital initiatives that generate revenue, are the ones which experience far better financial results than their counterparts.


EMPLOYEE SKEPTICISM


One of the biggest make or break factors for any transformation is commitment. Its vital for an organization to be able to learn something new. One requirement is for leadership not only to align but acknowledge that it won’t be a walk in the park. Fear of failure is a big hindrance to success for SaaS companies, often holding back businesses and creating resistance to change and initial failures.


These initial failures are by no means a negative, quite the contrary! Any sort of digital transformation will likely have its fair share of temporary setbacks and failures, but it's by experiencing these that companies can learn from these mistakes and hone their process to create the finished article. Teams often fear this due to the negative implications failure carries, but adopting a continuous improvement mindset is the only real way to grow and succeed.



team working together on digital devices


SESSION HIGHLIGHTS


Hopefully you now have a better understanding of the common errors many SaaS companies make surrounding a digital transformation. This is a topic that has long been a problem area in the industry, and the TSIA hosted a great deal of interesting keynotes to delve further into this idea. Take a look below at some of our session highlights from the Orlando Event.


1. CUSTOMER SUCCESS AT ALL SIZES


The notable part of the TSIA show this year was the obvious alignment between success and services becoming more and more prominent. One such session that spoke to this was the excellent discussion had around the importance of CS at any company size.


Mari Cross, SVP of Global Success and Services at Confluent, delved into the role of the customer success department, whether you're in a marketing leading firm or a young start-up, and how each brings their own unique challenges. Given Confluent itself is a fast-growing cloud company, Mari’s experience of transitioning the company from one environment to the other was particularly interesting and something we cover in our Pitfalls to Avoid in Scaling SaaS blog. What’s interesting though is the core CS capabilities that are required at a company of any size are markedly similar.


2. AUGMENTING THE HUMAN ELEMENT OF SUPPORT WITH AI: HOW SUPPORTLOGIC & SALESFORCE ARE WORKING TOGETHER TO TRANSFORM CUSTOMER SUPPORT


Something Precursive often discusses is how automation technology doesn’t need to replace human processes, but more augment them; automate to be human. So the session at the show with SupportLogic’s CEO Krishna Raj Raja and Judith Platz, Chief Success Officer at Salesforce discussing AI and machine learning transforming human-assisted support models for an enhanced and efficient customer and employee experience was excellent. Salesforce is often at the center of such conversation and it’s something we also discuss in Fixing the Capacity Crunch (free whitepaper).


3. HOW CAN YOU USE DIGITAL EXPERIENCES TO DRIVE END-TO-END OUTCOMES FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS?


Gainsight knows customer success so their session on personalizing the customer experience to guide them to their outcomes was particularly engaging. In this session, Meenal Shukla spoke about how can the power of product experience, community engagement and your own Customer Success team combined can not just deliver results but also drive desired metrics and improve the overall customer experience; driving customer outcomes was the centerpiece of our playbook - Traditional Services Delivery is Dead.

 

Learn more about the exciting world of Digital Transformation at the Salesforce World Tour London 2022. We will be there as proud gold sponsors of the must-attend event, The Makepositive After-Party, so join Precursive in this amazing celebrating to close out the Salesforce World Tour 2022!


Join Precursive for the World Tour Party of the year, @ Proud Cabaret!


With outstanding live entertainment, and open to guests from all across the industry, you’re not going to want to miss this one. Register now.







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