Implementing robust supply chain planning technology is critical to enhancing operational efficiency and gaining a competitive edge through digital transformation. However, the true value of such technology lies in its ability to deliver a significant return on investment (ROI) over the long term. To maximize the long-term success and value derived from Software as a Service (SaaS) investments, businesses must focus on post-deployment opportunities. This is where the role of a dedicated customer success team becomes invaluable.
In this blog, we dive into the critical factors that contribute to long-term success in SaaS supply chain planning technology adoption and how businesses can optimize ROI through ongoing post-deployment initiatives with the support of a dedicated customer success team.
Understanding the Power of Customer Success
Customer success goes beyond traditional customer support in SaaS. It is a proactive approach to ensure customers achieve their desired outcomes and derive maximum value from the software solution. They work closely with clients, acting as trusted advisors and guiding them through the entire journey from the moment they land on the website. By offering tailored onboarding, ongoing support, data-driven insights, and guidance, customer success becomes the catalyst for driving success beyond implementation.
Establishing a Clear Vision and Long-Term Postdeployment Strategy
A successful partnership begins with a seamless onboarding process that relies on a clear vision and strategy, where long-term goals are defined from the start.
According to the 2023 Gartner Report, forward-thinking supply chain organizations typically incorporate the initial implementation phase into a broader long-term roadmap to enhance the maturity of their Supply Chain Planning capabilities. This approach is often part of a structured initiative that spans three to five years, focusing on improving the overall effectiveness and sophistication of the supply chain planning process.
Businesses must define their goals, align stakeholders, and articulate how the technology will drive their desired outcomes post-deployment. To achieve these goals, the customer success team’s responsibility extends well beyond the go-live phase; it marks the beginning of true engagement, helping organizations shape their vision and providing insights into best practices and industry trends to define a roadmap for success. A governance structure should be established to facilitate an ongoing monitoring process for key business metrics agreed upon by the business and the solution provider. This continuous monitoring enables learning and improvement collectively.
Optimizing Integration and Collaboration
Data is the lifeblood of supply chain planning. One important thing often overlooked is data quality and management maintenance. The whole supply chain ecosystem gets impacted when the data flow is disrupted or managed in silos.
Nurturing supply chain planning technology involves optimizing integration and collaboration across the ecosystem. Collaboration with suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to streamline processes is important to keep the data flowing. Businesses can eliminate silos, improve coordination, and achieve end-to-end supply chain efficiency, ultimately driving higher ROI.
Based on Gartner’s research, clear communication and organizational ownership are key for the effective progress of SCP technology. IT manages technology vendors and ensures functional operations and data connections across systems. Since data quality plays a crucial role in the quality of the insights, predictive analytics, and prescriptive recommendations, the planning system provides, the customer success team must have close and defined relationships with the client’s IT departments to collaborate on master data management.
Master data diagnostic workflows can be implemented to validate that the system receives daily/hourly data from integrated data sources and highlight areas where missing or inconsistent data might impact the recommendations provided by the system. This practice ensures that decision recommendations are made based on accurate data, promoting effective decision-making in supply chain planning processes.
Leveraging Data Insights for Continuous Improvement
Post-deployment presents an opportune time to leverage data analytics and root-cause diagnostics to optimize supply chain planning technology. Customer success teams use analytics and reporting tools to track key performance indicators (KPIs) and provide real-time insights into operational trends, customer demand patterns, and inventory levels. This enables proactive decision-making, accurate forecasting, and effective resource allocation. Data analytics can also uncover hidden inefficiencies or bottlenecks within the supply chain, allowing businesses to take corrective actions and drive operational excellence for improved ROI.
User Acceptance Rates can be tracked to assess the acceptance rate of autonomous decision recommendations by users. This evaluation helps determine the effectiveness of the decision recommendations and identifies any barriers to autonomous decision-making. It also aids in improving the decision engine by incorporating specific parameters that users are familiar with, but the system has not yet captured, such as planned promotions or supply chain disruptions. On the way to achieving autonomous planning, it is crucial to track, measure and understand why users override system recommendations. Data collected from each point of user interaction, such as forecasts and replenishment recommendations, can be analyzed using machine learning to get to the root cause of sub-optimal business results, such as excess inventory and out-of-stock.
By analyzing key performance indicators, identifying trends, and benchmarking across the organization and against industry standards, customer success professionals help you make the next level of enhancements and data-driven decisions that positively impact your ROI.
Utilizing an Agile Planning Platform
Supply chain planning technology is not a static solution; it requires continuous evolution and adaptation to accommodate changing business dynamics. Changes can be prompted by various influences, including external factors like market conditions and demand fluctuations; and internal factors such as the company’s strategic direction.
To adapt to the evolving landscape, it is imperative to have planning platforms that can effectively accommodate changes. This necessitates the adoption of more agile, flexible, and scalable planning platforms capable of processing and integrating new data and sources.
Taking the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and using agile methodology to start with a well-defined, limited scope to implement specific workflows enables businesses to achieve quick wins and identify the following enhancements. A dedicated customer success team ensures the right expertise and assistance are available throughout the project’s lifespan. This allows the business to prioritize and deploy the functional enhancements to meet the evolving landscape confidently and achieve long-term success.
Monitoring User Adoption
To ensure that the solution remains effectively utilized within the organization, the performance and usage of the system should be monitored as time progresses.
Workflows can be implemented to provide visual insights into the utilization of the platform and its various functionalities. If a particular workflow is found to be underutilized, immediate action can be taken by the customer success team to address any bugs, implement necessary fixes, and incorporate enhancements to ensure seamless alignment with clients’ daily business needs. Continual efforts would be made to improve the user-friendliness of the workflows, tailoring them to clients’ specific requirements and enhancing their intuitiveness.
Proactively Supporting and Resolving Issues
Prompt and efficient support is vital for long-term success. The customer success team works side by side with the customer. They provide dedicated support channels, including on-site and online support processes, enabled by a series of tools, e.g., online user manuals, help videos, and case tracking systems, ensuring that businesses receive timely assistance whenever they encounter issues or need guidance. Proactive support minimizes disruptions, maximizes user satisfaction, and helps maintain a positive trajectory toward ROI achievement.
Project Governance At Solvoyo
At Solvoyo, we are committed to driving customer success and delivering unparalleled value to our clients. A dedicated Customer Success Team is an extension of your organization, providing ongoing support and collaborating closely with stakeholders. They continuously monitor performance, identify optimization opportunities, and provide expert guidance to help you extract maximum value from the solution.
We establish a project governance structure at the beginning of the project, outlining the roles and responsibilities of both Solvoyo’s team and the customer. This ensures long-term success and speeds up the achievement of ROI. Solvoyo’s team comprises a Project Sponsor, Solution Lead/QA, Project Manager, Senior Customer Success Consultant for configuration, and Customer Success Consultants who are all engineers. Each team member brings specialized planning and analytics expertise to optimize the client’s supply chain using Solvoyo’s solution. The customer is expected to participate, with a Project Manager, SMEs, and IT Resources allocated accordingly from the start.
The Steering Committee, consisting of Project Sponsors from both the customer’s team and Solvoyo, sets the project’s strategic direction, communicates priorities, ensures resource allocation, removes obstacles, and approves any changes, not only during the onboarding and deployment phase but throughout the life of the engagement. The Core Project Team, comprising resources from the customer and Solvoyo, handles day-to-day management, implementation, and post-deployment support.
The best people are not only there at the start of the project but are always there to support you, providing proactive support and issue resolution 24/7!
Contact us today to learn how our dedicated customer success team can help you achieve your supply chain planning technology ROI goals.
Thomson, C., & Graham, J. (17 April 2023). “Optimize Supply Chain Planning Technology ROI by Focusing on Postdeployment Opportunities.” Gartner. https://www.gartner.com/document/4277999?ref=solrAll&refval=371579743