Category: Customer Experience

Strategic Role of Technical Support in Driving SaaS Adoption

To meet the complexities of the software as a service (SaaS) world, leading providers are revamping their outdated support models to help enterprises achieve success in Industry 4.0. Technical support teams now have expanded roles in customer success, relationship management, and delivering other value-added services for clients. Read on to learn how the next evolution in technical support is turbocharging SaaS adoption.

For more on our continuing coverage of how digitalization is changing technical support functions, also read The Evolution of the Technical Support Engineer Job Role.

Technology has always played an integral part in an enterprise’s operating model and value creation. However, with the emergence of Industry 4.0 – characterized by technology-intensive transformation and convergence of cyber and physical systems – enterprises have significantly shifted how they leverage technology-based solutions. SaaS adoption is one of the key driving forces behind the emergence and success of Industry 4.0.

Leading technology/SaaS vendors realize that traditional ‘break-fix’ technical support models are outdated in the new environment, and failing to evolve their existing technical support models is one of the major causes of dissatisfaction among SaaS customers. Hence, they are investing in revamping their technical support models. Let’s learn more about this interplay between SaaS adoption and technical support.

SaaS adoption and its impact on enterprise buying behavior

SaaS adoption is increasing exponentially across the globe. The global SaaS market is expected to grow at more than 100% CAGR through 2026, reaching a market size of US$300-400 billion. SaaS enables users to access their applications through a browser instead of installing software on their computers. It provides centralized configuration and hosting, as well as automatic updates releasing users from installing and maintaining software, and simply allowing them access via the internet. Adoption is further driven by factors such as zero upfront/CapEx cost, reduced IT-related operating and maintenance costs, ability to easily ramp up/down operations, as well as adherence to best practices, and built-in functionalities providing users with ease of operations.

However, the increasing adoption of SaaS-based operating models has significantly influenced enterprises buying behavior, ultimately propelling SaaS providers to rethink their technical support strategies. Below are some of the key changes in buyer behavior and how they are impacting providers:

  • Shift from product to service mindset – No longer can you sell a technical solution with a perpetual license and consider your job finished. In a SaaS-based solution, revenue depends on the customer’s subscription and consumption of services. The higher the lifetime value of the customer, the higher the revenue. This is a dramatic shift in the treatment of SaaS-based solutions from a product to a service-based model with the quality of technical support determining the working relationship with the customer, affecting retention and lifetime value
  • Low client stickiness – With increased adoption of interoperability standards and heightened competition, the cost of switching from one SaaS provider to another has drastically reduced versus on-premises solutions where switching costs served as a lock-in for a client to continue with a specific service provider. This negligible switching cost has reduced client stickiness, making it essential for providers to help customers quickly realize value and deliver a differentiated experience to drive renewals and sales growth in a SaaS model

Evolving expectations from technical support

With negligible switching costs and a plethora of options available, technical support is becoming paramount to the success of a SaaS solution. A well-designed and well-implemented technical support model can help achieve desired objectives and increase revenue through differentiated technical support or even indirect lead generation by uncovering opportunities to cross-sell or upsell. Accordingly, the scope of technical support services has broadened beyond the break-fix solutions to involve the following dimensions:

1. Evolved role of customer success manager (CSM): The CSM role is strategic to drive the success of a SaaS-based solution. CSMs work with customers to ensure customers are receiving the tools and support needed to achieve their goals. They strive to have an in-depth understanding of the customer’s needs and are responsible for communicating customer behavior/feedback to sales, marketing, and product teams. They help the organizations by:

    • Ramping up utilization: Technical support team acts as the SaaS provider’s brand’s face, ensuring customers quickly realize value and have a differentiated experience, which is vital to driving renewals and sales growth in a SaaS model. It can be difficult to keep clients engaged if they are not seeing the value in your products. They guide clients on the capabilities of the products offered and use cases in which those capabilities can be leveraged
    • Cross-sell and upsell products/services: CSMs understand their customer requirements and can identify the best fit opportunities to upsell or cross-sell to their customers, as well as decide which features, functionality, or additional product would best suit each customer. When customers are ideal for an upgrade, CSMs can meet with them to explain why the additional purchase will be helpful
    • Relationship management: CSMs are relationship managers that expand customer accounts, increase customer retention, solve customer issues, and drive customer satisfaction. They act as a bridge between their customer and support team by gathering and analyzing feedback and pain points. They track product’s renewal date, activity, and satisfaction scores to have necessary follow-ups with customers and reduce churn

2. Other value-added services:

  • Proactive and omnichannel support: With any product change, customers expect proactive communication of the change and guidance to deal with it. Giving customers advance notifications enhances their satisfaction and increases retention. With the growth of digital channels, omnichannel support and self-service for low- complexity queries are increasingly in demand. Customers no longer use a single channel to interact with brands but continuously switch across multiple devices and platforms. Giving customers a consistent, seamless, and integrated experience regardless of channel is necessary to create a unified brand experience
  • Product usage and feedback analysis: Support has always had access to detailed customer data, but the ability to correctly capture, read, and apply the insights learned from this data, both directly and from support automation tools, can transform a support organization into a pacesetter in the marketplace. Customers expect technical support providers to continuously analyze their usage patterns and then use that knowledge to augment products and services to fit their needs

The shift in operating model for technical support

While the enhanced role of technical support is integral to the overall product experience and many factors are driving it, not all enterprises can deliver superlative technical support on their own. This can be due to multiple factors such as a shortage of relevant in-house skills, inability to scale with product growth, failure to implement a true omnichannel experience, lack of accelerators to drive efficiency, etc.

Thus, enterprises are relying on both in-house and outsourced teams to offer technical support. A strategic third-party partner can bring technical domain skills, innovation, and customer success expertise to deliver an outstanding end-user experience and improved value realization for clients to supplement the capabilities of in-house employees. A hybrid model also can deliver cost efficiencies by driving high volumes of low-to-moderate complexity or transactional queries to a low-cost third-party provider and leveraging in-house teams for high complexity queries.

As SaaS offerings become more and more ubiquitous, it will be critical for SaaS vendors to ensure the technical support team evolves progressively. The concept of an enterprise technical support engineer acting as a troubleshooter has largely disappeared at leading enterprises, and they expect technical support services to act as an extension of their product experience and value realization agendas. The technical support team –

in-house or outsourced – should act as the face of the brand when engaging with the end client and reflect the technology solution providers’ values and brand promise.

If you have questions or would like to discuss the strategic role of technical support in driving SaaS adoption and how it is evolving, please reach out to David Rickard, [email protected], Rananjay Kumar, [email protected], or Divya Baweja, [email protected].

Watch our LinkedIn Live event, How Can Your Data Analytics Improve Your Customer Experience? for insights into how data and analytics can help businesses understand their customers at higher levels than ever before.

The Evolution of the Technical Support Engineer Job Role

Once viewed primarily as troubleshooters who solely fix computer issues, today’s technical support engineers are complex problem solvers delivering next-generation solutions who also are emphatic brand champions. This new breed of talent plays increasingly sophisticated roles in enhancing the customer product experience and realizing value for leading enterprises. The soft and technical skills needed for this integral position are morphing. To learn more about how the technical support engineer job role is rapidly evolving in the current era and where to find this expertise, read on.

For more on our continuing coverage of how digitalization is changing technical support functions, also see our blog on the Strategic Role of Technical Support in Driving SaaS Adoption.

What are technical support engineer roles and responsibilities?

Technical support engineers help clients fix technological issues related to specific products or overall technical infrastructure, either virtually or in person. They ensure products and systems function as desired and provide the technical skills needed to keep them working properly. These individuals also provide the required know-how to help customers understand the complete functionality of their products to maximize their value and proactively prevent issues. Activities performed by technical support engineers range from low-complexity queries such as account activation and troubleshooting known bugs to complex platform support activities and analytics support for product enhancement.

As companies heavily rely on technical support services to swiftly run their business, technical support engineers act as the face of the technology solution provider’s brand when engaging with the end-user and reflect their values and brand promise. Technical support engineers bring varied skill sets that are important for their job success.

Traditional skills and expectations from technical support engineers include:

  • Technical and product knowledge: A technical support engineer must be technically sound to troubleshoot, solve client problems, and initiate the work. They also need an in-depth understanding of technology solution providers’ products to quickly troubleshoot and solve problems
  • Problem solving: To turn things around swiftly, critical thinking ability and solving complex problems are musts for technical support engineers. This is especially relevant when supporting more complex and time-sensitive queries for enterprises
  • Interpersonal skills: Starting from actively listening, understanding, and explaining the resolution to the user, a technical support engineer is expected to possess excellent interpersonal skills
  • Client systems and platform knowledge: Clients often leverage multiple platforms and technologies that are interconnected and interdependent, making it critical for the technical support engineer to have an overarching knowledge of the client’s technology landscape

Changes to the technical support engineer job role

With companies around the world digitalizing rapidly and embedding technology in every business aspect, the adoption of as-a-service business models is bringing the importance of technical support to the forefront.

Along with increasing cloud adoption, the shift towards a SaaS-based model, and continuously evolving data governance regulations, the technical support engineer function has also been expanding. Technical support engineer roles and responsibilities have gone from traditional technical support work focused on “break-fix” hardware and software support elements to being customer success champions.

Modern technical support engineers play an important part in driving brand loyalty, increasing product and service consumption, and providing analytics-driven product enhancement insights. They offer proactive support capabilities and a differentiated client experience that maximize the end client’s value realization.

Let’s look at seven new competencies needed for this vital role:

Soft skills:

  • Innovative mindset: The growing number of technologies, products, and tools demand technical support engineers to think out-of-the-box and provide innovative solutions to solve both simple and complex problems for clients
  • Management capabilities: With more complex queries and increased interlinkage between products and platforms from multiple technology vendors, the technical support engineer job has progressed from being purely technical to having managerial aspects of coordinating between different stakeholders to arrive at quick and effective solutions
  • Empathy: Leading companies realize the importance of technical support in reinforcing and mirroring the brand promise and values. Technical support engineers need to be empathetic to user problems and deliver an optimal experience

Technical skills:

  • Data analytics: As support services become more dynamic and data-backed decision-making is more infused in businesses, analyzing data and proactively finding issues is an integral part of the role
  • Handling complex problems: With low complexity queries now increasingly solved by self-service and chatbots, technical support engineers are expected to handle more complicated queries
  • Adapting to next-generation solutions: The adoption of modern technologies and solutions such as cloud-based solutions, automation, and Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based solutions has demanded that individuals in these roles adapt to these new requirements
  • Understanding cyber security: Because cyber security is of paramount importance today, technical support engineers need to keep up with the evolving threats and proactively make users aware of the possible security risks

Evolving profiles of technical support engineers

With the evolving skill profile required from technical support engineers, service providers are increasingly looking to leverage new avenues for differentiated talent. Here are some of the key demographics actively being tapped:

Tech-savvy millennials: The global workforce has been shifting towards an increasingly large segment of tech-savvy millennials who have greater comfort with new-age products and technologies. This demographic stays up-to-date with the changing technology landscape and is better geared to handle complexities associated with the platforms and systems used by clients and technology solution providers

Industry expertise: Job candidates who have industry expertise are better suited for technical support roles, especially in energy, automotive, and manufacturing segments where industry-specific knowledge is difficult and time-consuming to attain. Employing technical support engineers who have first-hand experience with the problems they are solving is advantageous

Enterprise-specific experience: Individuals who have been associated with the brand and understand its technologies, work environment, and internal processes are better equipped to support it. Technical support engineers with previous experience working with the same or similar clients are desirable

With the changing technological landscape and evolving business models, the role of technical support engineer is expanding further to handle increasing customer expectations, product complexities, and changing dynamics. The need for technical skills in security, cloud infrastructure, analytics, and application development will further define the future role of technical support engineers. Emerging client demographics also are carving out new roles with differentiated skills that will be important going forward.

If you have questions or would like to discuss the technical support engineer job role and how it is evolving, please reach out to David Rickard, [email protected], or Chhandak Biswas, [email protected].

Explore our webinar, Building Successful Digital Product Engineering Businesses, to learn about investments in next-generation technologies and talent are now crucial in successfully building digital product engineering businesses.

Majorel and Sitel Group® Merger Would Create a CXM Behemoth – Deal Continues Unabated M&A Activity in the Customer Experience Management Industry

The potential merger between Majorel Group Luxembourg S.A. (Majorel) and Sitel Group® would create a CXM colossus and firmly put the combined entity in the top three providers of these services. Read on to learn about the synergies between the companies and what all the recent M&A activity means for the Customer Experience Management  industry.

If approved, fusing the two organizations would create a new publicly-listed firm headquartered in Luxembourg, trading on Euronext Amsterdam. The new entity would have more than US$6.4 billion in revenues and 240,000-plus employees, creating a “Big Three” in the Customer Experience Management industry along with Concentrix and Teleperformance. 

With both firms registering an impressive 30%+ growth in 2021, it will be interesting to see how the merger synergies help the new entity chart future growth. Potential growth drivers include:

  • Scale – The combined entity will have a scale of 240,000+ FTEs in 55 countries and 300+ sites, delivering services in more than 70 languages worldwide. It will have a global reach with 1,000+ clients across many industries and geographies, with particularly deep expertise in the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI), technology and Fast Growth Tech (FGT), and telecom sectors
  • Markets – While the combined entity will be global, it can leverage both parent firms’ strong presence in the Americas and Europe markets. Sitel Group’s client portfolio in North America, UK, France, Nordics, and Asia-Pacific (APAC), catered through delivery sites in Latin America (LATAM) and Asia, complements Majorel’s clientele in LATAM, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Benelux, and Italy with nearshore delivery from Eastern Europe and Africa. This might also lead both players to sever regional partnerships now that their combined geographic footprint covers most regions
  • Capabilities – Both Majorel and Sitel Group have powerful CX, digital, and consulting capabilities. With the acquisition of SYKES by Sitel Group® in September 2021, the latter strengthened its automation and digital marketing capabilities, which could supplement Majorel’s suite of vertical-specific solutions, especially for the BFSI and e-commerce segments. Sitel Group’s extensive talent management practices through Sitel® MAX (My Associate Experience) and MAXhubs also will positively contribute to the new entity’s cloud-based, remote working model, supported by Majorel’s several multilingual hubs in Europe and Africa
  • Clients – Majorel’s subsidiary for start-ups, majUP, is expected to plug the gaps in Sitel Group’s Small and Medium Business (SMB) portfolio and would enhance the combined entity’s ability to cater to potential unicorns and hyper-scalers, especially in Europe
  • Integration experience – Both firms have a positive track record of acquisitions and integrations, especially with Sitel Group acquiring SYKES recently and Majorel purchasing smaller firms such as Mayen, junokai, and IST Networks in 2021 

M&A frenzy 

This latest deal continues the spate of big mergers and acquisitions in the CXM industry over the past year, in addition to Sitel Group buying SYKES. Webhelp purchased Dynamicall in March 2021, OneLink in July 2021, and Grupo Services in June 2022. TTEC bought Avtex in April 2021, and Concentrix acquired PK in December 2021. Comdata Group announced a merger with Konecta in April 2022.

Let’s take a look at the combined impact on the customer experience management industry at large:

  • Accelerated digitalization – The investment, from both a delivery and technology perspective, required to deliver CX and remain competitive in the industry has now increased, creating a potential barrier to entry for smaller providers
  • Increased supplier consolidation – With buyers looking for supplier consolidation post-pandemic, global providers such as Teleperformance, Concentrix, Sitel Group, Webhelp, and others are in a sweet spot as buyers want to work with fewer providers with more global and comprehensive capabilities. A larger footprint of capabilities helps ensure that bigger providers are top of mind in an ever-competitive industry
  • Smaller players find their niche – The fragmented CXM market comprises several specialist providers that continuously innovate and redefine themselves to stay competitive and grab a share of the US$300+ billion global CXM spend (comprising both outsourced and in-house operations by enterprises). These niche providers include Arise, a CXM provider for virtual delivery; GlowTouch, a women-owned services provider with a focus on impact sourcing; and [24]7.ai, a conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) leader

We are excited to watch what the marriage of these two giants will bring to the customer experience management industry. Some concerns exist around the timing of the integration being so close on the heels of the SYKES acquisition, as well as buyers having less choice for transformation-oriented strategic partnerships. Despite these issues, this proposed merger, without a doubt, would create a global CXM leader with the ability to shape the customer experience management industry for years to come.

Please reach out to us to discuss this proposed merger and changes in the CXM market.

Konecta-Comdata Merger Creates a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Giant – What Does it Mean for the CXM Market?

The planned merger announced last month between Konecta, the leading provider of Spanish-speaking Customer Experience solutions, with Italy-based customer management provider Comdata will create the sixth-largest player by revenue in the customer experience Management (CXM) BPO sector. This consolidation will intensify competition in the attractive CXM market, with the combined entity commanding close to €2 billion in revenues and €300 million in EBITDA. Read on to find out what this big deal will mean.

Creation of a global champion

Comdata

Global CXM provider Comdata offers end-to-end management solutions (acquisition, retention, customer service, technical support, and credit collection) in 30 languages across four continents and 21 countries with its network of 50,000-plus agents. Headquartered in Milan, it served more than 670 clients in 2021, generating revenue of approximately €980 million.

Konecta

Konecta, acquired by Pacheco together with the company’s management team in 2019, is a leading tech-enabled end-to-end CX BPO player in the Spanish-speaking markets. It has successfully integrated different companies such as the Brazilian Uranet and the Spanish Rockethall group, reinforcing the company’s leadership in Artificial Intelligence, digital marketing, and big data solutions. In 2021, it generated revenue and EBITDA of approximately €918 million and €148 million, respectively.

Combined entity

Subject to approval by authorities, the merger is expected in the third quarter of 2022, creating a global CXM leader capable of providing the “best shoring solution” to local, regional, and global clients in 30-plus languages across industries such as finance and insurance, technology, telco, retail and e-commerce, utilities, and healthcare.

The combined entity will be headquartered in Madrid (Spain), jointly chaired by the CEOs of Konecta and Comdata. It will serve more than 500 large corporations across Europe and America, leveraging the expertise of 130,000-plus employees. According to a statement by the companies, “the new group has a solid financial structure and will take advantage of its position in Spain, Latin America, Italy, and France to deploy all its commercial and operational capacity in its strategic markets. In addition, it will have additional capabilities to fuel its growth in the North American market and throughout Europe.”

Key drivers of the merger

The advantages of this deal are:

  • Expansion in Latin American and Spanish markets: The combined entity will become the market leader in Spain and Italy with a strong presence in Latin American domestic markets such as Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Guatemala, Argentina, and Chile. It will have over 500 large corporate clients in Europe and Latin America. The new company will enjoy the advantage of Konecta’s strong dominance in the Spanish market, where Konecta has been aggressively expanding in the past few years, especially by acquiring four different Spanish companies that were part of the Rockethall Group in 2020. In these markets, the joint company will have a significant role in telecom, BFSI, utilities and energy, the consumer goods sector, and several big tech and new economy global brands
  • Enhanced delivery capabilities in Latin America: Labor-cost pressures, the talent shortage in onshore North America, and the desire to relocate some offshore operations closer after the pandemic have increased Latin America’s attractiveness for nearshore delivery capabilities. Some of the latest examples include Transcom’s re-entry in Colombia; new sites opening in Trinidad and Tobago by Teleperformance, iQor, and Valenta BPO; and itel’s acquisition of Emerge BPO with employees in Guyana and Honduras. The combined entity will have strong nearshore delivery capabilities to support US clients, including 20 sites in Colombia and seven in Mexico, offering a multi-country delivery model across the entire LATAM region
  • Differentiated customers: Both Konecta and Comdata are leaders in their respective local markets. The majority of Konecta’s revenue comes from Spain, Portugal, and Latin American regions, with Comdata having a strong presence in Italy, France, and some Latin American countries. Overall, the client overlap between both service providers is very limited, reducing the revenue loss due to cannibalization
  • Operational synergies: Buyers’ preferences when outsourcing CXM have evolved from the traditional levers of cost and scale to now prioritizing digital CX capabilities, end-to-end integration, and value-added services in their portfolio. This merger will allow the sharing and cross-selling of certain specific CX transformation capabilities such as Comdata’s C-suite tools, expertise in Voice of the Customer (VOC), and consulting and operational redesign services with Konecta’s content and performance marketing and conversational commerce offerings. Through its Uranet subsidiary in Brazil, Konecta also owns platforms for customer journey orchestration, knowledge management, and contact center infrastructure

Competition among other global providers

 With US$2 billion in revenue and 130,000 agents, the combined entity gives tough competition to other global CXM providers such as Teleperformance, Sitel, and Concentrix. Below is a look at the capabilities of these global providers in comparison to the combined entity. 

Teleperformance Sitel Concentrix Konecta+Comdata
Revenue US $8.4 billion US $4.3 billion US $6 billion Approx. US $2 billion
FTEs 420,000+ 160,000+ 290,000+ 130,000+
Languages 265+ 50+ 70+ 30+
Countries served 170 40 40+ 24

 

Considerations for buyers

Although organizations have the best intentions to use mergers and acquisitions to supplement their organic efforts, they generally underestimate the risks such as failure to achieve synergies, lack of due diligence, and security and integration challenges. Business leaders have often recognized people, culture, change management, and communication as the top reasons for integration failure. Lack of adequate change management policies can affect the organization’s governance and accountability structure, cause stress and uncertainty for employees, and decrease productivity for businesses, ultimately impacting service quality and timely delivery.

Future outlook for the CXM market

With Sitel’s acquisition of Sykes and Webhelp’s acquisition of OneLink BPO and Dynamicall in 2021, the trend of consolidation among CXM market players is gaining traction. Consolidation enables service providers to work with large clients across multiple delivery countries and end markets, a capability that is rising in importance for CX clients. It also enhances service offering portfolios and technology capabilities by serving as a one-stop-shop for buyers for all CXM needs.

This deal also represents an opportunity for buyers to reexamine their vendor portfolio since certain service providers might now be better positioned to support their clients across multiple locations and processes, representing an opportunity to optimize their portfolio with fewer providers to achieve operational and cost efficiencies.

To discuss the CXM market landscape, please reach out to David Rickard, Vice President, BPS, [email protected], Divya Baweja, Senior Analyst, BPS, [email protected], or contact us.

You can also learn how expanding and developing businesses are attracting technology-focused workers to help execute existing and evolving digital transformation, adopt new processes, and innovate. Join our webinar, How to Effectively Attract and Drive Productivity within the Tech Workforce.

How the Russia-Ukraine Crisis Can Impact Customer Experience Management Services and Alternative Locations to Consider for CXM Outsourcing | Blog

With Eastern Europe serving as a major hub for Customer Experience Management (CXM), the Russia-Ukraine crisis poses a serious threat to service delivery. Now is the time for enterprises with large presences in this region to diversify delivery locations and mitigate risks.

Read on for our expert analysis on the state of CXM outsourcing here, the potential disruptions, and alternative countries to consider for multilingual customer service and tech support to ensure continued CXM services.      

Just as the world was looking to emerge from the global pandemic that caused a seismic shift in work and collaboration models, another highly disruptive crisis looms on the horizon. The recent geopolitical developments in Ukraine and Russia have caused the whole world to take notice, and with new sanctions kicking in every day, many are already preparing for adverse scenarios.

Given that this rift involves nuclear heavyweights in Russia and the NATO countries, the consequences could be far-reaching for the entire world. Consequently, these tense developments have created a lot of uncertainty and consternation for companies having a presence in the affected region.

Eastern Europe, which forms the immediate vicinity of Ukraine, is a major hub for delivering a plethora of customer experience management services for end-users both within and outside this region. Let’s take a look at the potential impacts to CXM outsourcing and alternative locations for CXM services.

Eastern European region CXM snapshot

As a strategic location for CXM services, eastern Europe offers strong multilingual capabilities, relatively inexpensive skilled talent, and cultural similarities and a minor time difference to western Europe. Leading global enterprises and Europe-focused players have a significant footprint in this region, putting them at risk in the current situation. The heatmap below illustrates the country-wise vulnerability index based on the number of delivery centers and corresponding CX agents present in each of them.

Screenshot 2022 03 23 084703

Potential CXM services disruptions and alternate solutions

Due to its skilled and relatively inexpensive IT talent pool, Eastern Europe is highly leveraged for its multilingual support for not only the regional languages such as Russian, Czech, Serbian, etc. but also for many of the major west European languages such as German, French, English, Spanish, and Italian. Poland and Romania also are sizeable talent sources for technical support.

Major cities in Ukraine such as Kyiv and Dnipro have been the most severely impacted by the armed conflict with Russia, and enterprises must accelerate Business Continuity Planning (BCP) measures to relocate affected CXM agents to safer parts of the country or outside of Ukraine to provide immediate relief.

If the conflict escalates beyond the borders of Ukraine in the coming weeks, major cities in Romania, Poland, and Bulgaria – which have the highest concentration of CXM delivery centers – could also be directly impacted.

We also envision a potential threat of cybersecurity breaches in Ukraine, inevitably causing collateral damage to its neighboring countries as well. While no one can foresee how the situation will unfold or its duration, enterprise clients must stay well informed and start devising backup scenarios and activate disaster recovery plans if needed. Although we believe the disruption will be temporary, a long-protracted war can’t be ruled out.

Alternative locations for CXM support services

Considering the uncertainty and volatility, let’s look at some viable alternate locations to help enterprises mitigate their emerging risks:

  • Multilingual customer support – Enterprises should consider new offshore and onshore locations to support major European languages for CXM outsourcing, as illustrated below:
    table
  • Tech support – The best strategy for enterprises is keeping their complex tech-related support in-house through onshore locations. However, for simpler queries, alternative nearshore locations such as South Africa and Egypt offer similar advantages that Eastern European locations can provide at lower price points without any dip in the talent pool. Even offshore locations such as India and the Philippines are suitable alternatives to consider as long-term tech support outsourcing locations

Mitigate risks

The last two years have taught enterprises the glaring importance of risk mitigation as a strategic priority to ensure service continuity, and this year seems to be behaving no differently. Customer experience has established itself as a true differentiator for enterprises of all sizes and shapes in every industry. As such, ensuring that customer support services run unhindered is vital for enterprises to achieve their business outcomes.

Now, more than ever, diversification of service delivery locations will become increasingly relevant to counteract the rising instability that the current geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine as well as similar such events could bring in the future.

While we hope that this devastating humanitarian crisis comes to an end as soon as possible, enterprises that closely re-examine their service delivery footprints and proactively mitigate their risks will be better positioned to absorb any shockwaves that could potentially arise in the coming months.

With the continuing escalating events, it is important to stay informed on the latest developments in this region. Contact us at [email protected] or [email protected] to discuss your situation and solutions.

Discover more about the impacts to the service delivery ecosystem in our LinkedIn Live event, How to Manage the Ukraine-Russia Impact on Service Delivery.

You can also keep up on the impact of service delivery from Ukraine and the CEE region in our  resource center where you’ll find our consolidated coverage.

Two Success Factors For Platforms To Improve Customer And Employee Experience | Blog

As I previously blogged, back in pre-COVID-19 pandemic times, companies experimented with changing to digital operating models and building digital platforms to drive competitive advantages in managing operations, especially in improving the customer experience and employee experience. As economies began coming out of the pandemic shutdown, it became clear that companies that had progressed further in the platform world fared much better during the pandemic; and many used their platforms to gain disproportionate market share. That picture is even more dramatic in 2022.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

Decoding the Organization DNA: How to Prevent Application Modernization Failure | Blog

Application modernization initiatives implemented in the wrong environment are doomed to fail. But these strategies can be transformed to success by starting with the right organizational makeup. Discover why having the right DNA of Dedicated product teams, Next-generation talent, and an A3 culture make all the difference.

With applications increasingly becoming integral to enterprise business strategy, mediocrity has no place when it comes to application modernization. Today’s applications are expected to be ultra-fast (millisecond response rate), scalable to millions of users, available globally, and capable of handling petabytes of data. Legacy and monolithic applications are frequently cited as the key roadblocks in achieving these high standards. Accordingly, the race is on to migrate these applications to containerized workloads in the cloud to improve agility and customer experience (CX).

However, many of these proposed transformations don’t succeed. Research shows 78% of digital transformation initiatives fail to meet all intended objectives. Monoliths are broken down into microservices, on-premise to cloud migration is executed, and DevOps methodologies are implemented, yet the full expected results are never achieved. What could these transformations be missing?

Just as the healthiest seed may also fail if planted on infertile soil, transformations fail if implemented in unsuitable environments. A successful application modernization strategy needs the right structure, the right environment to support that structure, and the right people to be part of that environment.

How to unlock value in applications

We have identified three focus areas for organizations seeking to unlock value from their applications – team structure, culture, and talent strategy. To achieve best-in-class results, application modernization strategy needs to be backed by a solid organization DNA that has the following elements:

blog pic

Dedicated product teams – Persistent teams that remain intact over the product’s life cycle should replace traditional factory models with periodic talent rotation. By developing trust and expertise organically, these teams can then use their expertise to lay the right product roadmaps

Next-generation talent – A meticulous talent strategy focused on managing the entire talent lifecycle (upskilling, retention, acquisition) is vital to overcome the key challenges in scaling agile practices (such as lack of right talent and skills, cited by about 77% of executives)

A3 culture – High-performing generative cultures embrace novelty and avoid stagnation (Assertive); are open to introspection (Aware), and cut across silos by being highly cooperative (Associative)

Without these DNA components in place, application modernization initiatives run the risk of resulting in process change rather than outcomes change. Agile practices may sacrifice quality for speed, avoid documentation, and micromanage progress. The same practices in the right environment will deliver scalable, people-centric development with better business-IT alignment and systematic change management.

Application modernization transformation with the right DNA in place can make a world of difference. Innovation becomes faster. Employees can collaborate with increased synergy and achieve hyper-productivity. With the focus thoroughly shifted to outcomes, the end-customer realizes a significantly enhanced experience. Transformation without DNA backing is like driving a sports car in second gear where all the right technical components are in place, but they are not being utilized optimally.

Learn more about the many different aspects of ensuring transformation success in our recent report, Unlocking Business Value through DNA-backed Transformation. You could also learn more in our webinar, Resilient Digitization – Your Highway to Enterprise Transformation.

To share your thoughts on application modernization initiatives and discuss our research related to organizational DNA, please reach out to [email protected] and [email protected].

How to Deliver Exceptional Customer Experiences | Blog

Customer experience is decidedly a top focus of company operations in 2022. As companies assess whether their digital-age investments achieve success, they increasingly look through the customer-experience lens. The goal in today’s digital platform world is to significantly improve customer, employee, and other stakeholder experiences. Platforms certainly have the capability of delivering exceptional customer experiences. So why are so many companies consistently providing disappointing customer experiences? We at Everest Group looked at the way companies apply the technologies and found the reason for the disappointing experiences.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

Why HealthEdge’s Acquisition of Wellframe Looks Favorable for Member Experience | Blog

With member experience being critically important to healthcare enterprises, HealthEdge’s acquisition of Wellframe bodes positively for the merged enterprise and consumers. Read on to learn why we like this deal and the synergies between these two health services providers.

HealthEdge’s acquisition of Wellframe announced last month propels the provider of next-gen integrated solutions to health insurers into the high-growth digital member experience market. The deal will bring various benefits to HealthEdge, including Wellframe’s consumer-facing and user-friendly mobile application serving more than 33 million members that delivers personalized content and facilitates seamless connectivity to health plan staff.

The strategic intent behind the deal

In a recent (2020) survey by Everest Group, experience was identified as the most important strategic priority for enterprises. Member engagement has become an important area of investment for healthcare payers. Member experience as a theme is so important that health plans have created a new position, the Chief Experience Officer (CXO), to use their organizational muscle for prioritizing experience.

Healthcare payers realize that great member experience will not only help insurers in smoother acquisition and retention of clients but will also improve their financial performance by reducing the churn rate, improving health outcomes, and saving administrative costs. The industry is also witnessing a shift in the definition of “engagement” from being focused solely on sales and marketing to becoming a holistic approach across the three areas of sales and marketing, services management, and care management.

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The acquisition of Wellframe propels HealthEdge into the large and fast-growing digital member engagement market. Coupled with its existing products, this creates a highly differentiated end-to-end solution for customers.

Unpacking the companies’ synergies

Wellframe’s Digital Health Management platform enables health plans to modernize member-facing services, including care management and advocacy. Wellframe’s Digital Care Management (DCM) solution serves as a digital front door for health plans seeking to engage high-risk members. Wellframe leverages real-time member-generated data and artificial intelligence to identify intervention opportunities across its solution suite.

Wellframe’s data sets of 33 million members combined with HealthEdge’s existing data sets will enable HealthEdge to focus on improving the quality of its insights, helping it not only in care management and member engagement but also in other areas where HealthEdge has traditionally offered services.

The Wellframe acquisition strengthens HealthEdge’s portfolio of SaaS solutions across payer workflow operations. The addition of Wellframe to its portfolio of care management solutions coupled with its existing GuidingCare® solution will enable a full spectrum of services spanning member identification, prioritization, targeting, and member engagement. Additionally, seamless and real-time integration between HealthRules Payor® and Wellframe will generate actionable insights that can lead to real-time member interventions and features that enhance a member’s health plan experience.

Things to watch out for

The acquisition of Wellframe is a strategic fit for HealthEdge to enter the high-growth member engagement market and compete with incumbents in this space, such as Salesforce and Pegasystems.

We are positive about this deal, particularly for what it means to the market and current market demand. However, it remains to be seen if HealthEdge also makes an entry in the other areas of member engagement, such as sales and marketing and services management, which would deliver even greater value.

Reach out to me at [email protected] with your thoughts on this acquisition or the member engagement market in general.

The Contact Center Upgraded: Everything You Need to Know About Contact Center as a Service (CCaas) | Blog

While organizations are certainly familiar with on-premise technologies in contact centers, today’s enhancement on the premise-based technology model is delivering an exceptional digital customer experience, innovation, flexibility, and lower cost. Meet the Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) operated on the cloud. To learn more about this fast-growing omnichannel cloud contact center solution being adopted across all industries and geographies, read on. 

Contact centers are becoming an area of strategic focus for organizations as they strive to deliver business impact through superior Customer Experience (CX). Traditionally, contact centers have run on technologies hosted on-premise with physical hardware such as servers, storage systems, security systems, dialers, and Private Branch Exchange (PBX) hosted in premises or in-house data centers. But that is changing.

Most organizations are now opting for cloud-based contact center solutions by migrating their existing premise-based applications to cloud and/or deploying cloud-native applications as they look to digitally transform their CX operations. In the past few years, the growing need to quickly deploy contact center technology and the increasing use of digital solutions such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), automation, and analytics has paved the way for a flexible cloud contact center offering called Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS).

With COVID-19 pushing the boundaries of innovation and demand for digitally-infused customer experience increasing, CCaaS is poised to be at the forefront of the digital transformation of contact centers. In this blog, we will explore CCaaS, its impact on customer experience, and the financial benefits from leveraging these solutions.

Understanding CCaaS and what it brings to the table

CCaaS (also known as hosted contact center) is a contact center solution that allows organizations to utilize third-party contact center software hosted on cloud. It provides all the essential components that comprise a conventional contact center such as PBX, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Automatic Call Distribution (ACD), Computer Telephony Integration (CTI), voice and non-voice channels, along with other digital solutions such as omnichannel platform, workforce management, automation, and quality management. It is usually offered as a subscription-based (per seat, per user, per month, per transaction) model, and the CCaaS vendor is responsible for regular maintenance and upgrades.

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How CCaaS impacts customer experience?

With increasing customer expectations of service and support, improved contact center technology has been a key enabler of seamless service delivery. CCaaS brings together all the essential tools and technologies required by contact centers to deliver a superior customer experience. Here are three possible ways CCaaS can positively impact customer experience:

  • Less customer effort: Customers expect to connect with brands through multiple communication channels round the clock. Omnichannel solutions provided by CCaaS enable customers to easily connect across any channel at any point in time. Additionally, self-service solutions offered by CCaaS ensure customers’ queries can be solved without human intervention with low customer effort
  • Consistent quality of services: Enterprises and service providers are under greater pressure to deliver consistent customer experiences in each interaction. Intelligent routing and agent assist solutions in CCaaS ensure customers are connected to the appropriate agents equipped to handle customers’ issues. It enables organizations to resolve queries as quickly as possible, thus, keeping high customer satisfaction levels
  • Personalized experience: Customers these days expect brands to anticipate their needs and make personalized suggestions. CCaaS solutions enable organizations to collect historical data from multiple touchpoints, generate insights, and offer real-time tailor-made solutions to customers. Access to historical data also enables agents to understand the context of customer queries and solve them more easily

Does CCaaS adoption make financial sense?

A key benefit of CCaaS adoption is long-term cost savings. The business case depends on the size of the contact center, existing investments, the propensity to drive value through next-generational technologies, and the nature of the partnership with the CCaaS vendor to drive a successful transformation effort. Let us explore the potential cost savings that contact centers of different sizes can achieve practically:

  • Small contact centers with fewer than 300 FTEs can potentially realize 10-25% cost savings after CCaaS adoption. These smaller centers start driving cost benefits by leveraging digital solutions such as omnichannel platform, intelligent routing, workforce management solution, automation, AI/Machine Learning (ML)-based solutions, and advanced analytics along with CCaaS
  • Mid-sized contact centers with 300 to 1,500 FTEs can potentially realize 25-40% cost saving after CCaaS adoption. They can achieve economies of scale and drive value through the benefits provided by digital solutions. These contact centers can achieve additional costs savings by sharing IT assets across multiple locations, setting up analytics and automation hubs, and adopting unified operations
  • Large contact centers with more than 1500 FTEs can achieve 15-30% cost savings through levers available for small and mid-sized contact centers. However, significant existing investments in software and hardware, disjointed legacy solutions, and rigid operating models often hinder them from making greater savings

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Our recent research shows that as companies accelerate their cloud adoption journeys and scale their contact center operations, leveraging an agile and holistic CCaaS solution will increase many-fold. With many companies moving towards flexible business models, the future of CCaaS looks promising.

Do you foresee adopting CCaaS as part of your cloud adoption journey? Read our report Demystifying Contact Center-as-a-Service (CCaaS): Customer Experience Management (CXM) Market Report 2021 and share your thoughts by emailing [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

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