Digital transformation can profoundly change not just a company’s technology, but its processes, culture, and people, too. As B2B solution providers, we should have deep insight into how our work affects the customer organizations we serve—and that insight starts in our own operations.
What would you think of a marketing agency that didn’t understand its buyers? Or a consultancy that didn’t live and breathe its own advice? How about a chef that didn’t eat their own food?
Not much, I’m guessing. And in this time of unpredictable change and always-escalating customer demand, improving your business processes in service of becoming an Autonomous Digital Enterprise is part and parcel to ensuring your customers’ future success as well.
“Taking your own medicine”—using the products and services you create— is vital to building trust with customers. This is especially true for companies who help their customers navigate digital transformation. Technology solutions have far-reaching impact on the ways employees work, and the way services are delivered. Treating your own internal stakeholders as your most important customer can help your business set itself apart from its competitors.
Four Benefits of Using Your Own Solutions
- Identifying tangible business problems: When a company has identified an area for improvement, you can be confident that a market need likely already exists for that solution.
- Improving implementation and integration: When your internal stakeholders are early adopters, they’ll be able to speak to their experience when making recommendations on how to implement and integrate new technology.
- Testing with skin in the game: Internal stakeholders need new products to work. Whether they work in customer support, or in other areas, fixing bugs and improving the product helps align their work to the goals of the company.
- Recognizing the real benefits: One of the biggest struggles when marketing a new product is getting referrals from customers. Even when customers love the product, they may be reluctant to speak about the vendors they work with for fear of disclosing proprietary information. When companies adopt their own software, they can document the benefits and offer first-hand experience.
Learning from Experience
At BMC, we learned and applied some of these lessons first-hand. For example, a few years ago, we realized that our data volumes were growing extremely quickly as our customers adopted a new class of cloud-based, SaaS solutions.
Like our clients, we pulled from a diverse array of data sources—everything from SaaS solutions like Salesforce to applications and databases like Oracle. Getting these sources into our data warehouse for loading, processing, and integration required many different tools and processes. Managing the numerous tools and custom scripting is where we felt the most pain.
We ran into scalability limits, and the resulting consequences quickly escalated from an IT problem to a business problem.
Data quality issues jeopardized people not being paid on time. Without validation, bad data wasn’t always apparent, sometimes causing jobs to fail or necessitating entire jobs be rerun. Our ability to complete quarterly close on time was threatened.
The solution came from our own automation and orchestration platform, Control-M. By allowing our teams to automate processes across multiple systems of record, Control-M made our data migration to the cloud possible, providing us with the scalability and elasticity in our data warehouse that modern business demands.
By solving our own problems with data visibility and integrity, we can turn around and help our customers—most businesses are facing the same set of challenges we were as data and automation needs grow exponentially, and we’re now able to leverage our own internal learnings and improvements to find new opportunities to help customers.
Marketing departments spend millions of dollars to find new ways to understand their customers. They gather intelligence. They conduct focus groups. They assemble panels of customers as advisory councils. These activities are certainly designed to help sell, but they’re also used to help map out what’s next in the product development strategy.
All of these are valid strategies to solving customer problems more effectively. But how often are you offered an opportunity to walk in the shoes of your customers? When you use your own solutions and services, and when your internal stakeholders understand them thoroughly, you develop the empathy that helps establish credibility with your customers, and you get the insights that empower you to deliver customer-centric value. Together, those two qualities will distinguish you from the competition and ensure a long-lasting customer relationship that continues to offer reciprocal value.