We were delighted to host our first ever online user event, Reimagine, recently. There was some great synergy from our contributors coming together from both the former Apttus and Conga, bringing even more insight and expertise than ever before.
In this blog we’ll dig into a few presentations that take a deeper dive into our Business Trends track. In Business Trends, our contributors brought to light how much of the Digital Transformation process happens in ways that we don’t always think of when we hear the term. Technology is just the beginning of a successful transformation journey, and these experts helped address some of the most essential approaches needed to accompany any technology.
While we missed the in-person connection of our previous events, there was a great deal to be learned, seen, and heard at Reimagine. And there is a new advantage to the virtual approach: being able to attend sessions for any breakout track or keynote on demand after the fact. Every event session is available for you to watch on demand on our event platform through October.
We covered four main subject matter tracks at Reimagine: Digital Documents, CLM (contract lifecycle management), CPQ (configure-price-quote), and Business Trends. This is the second blog in a series that revisits key sessions from each track. The sessions we cover below in the blog are available for on demand viewing at any time—as are all of the other informative topics that were covered during Reimagine.
Session #1: “Reimagine your Digital Transformation journey and climb the maturity curve”
When it comes to Digital Transformation (DX) initiatives, Aishling Finnegan is the resident Conga expert. In her session titled, “Reimagine your Digital Transformation journey and climb the maturity curve,” she starts by describing her former company’s path to Digital Transformation when she was a customer of Conga’s. She now brings the expertise and learnings she gained through that process to Conga’s current customer base as our Digital Transformation Officer.
Throughout the Digital Transformation process, organizations face some common struggles, but Finnegan questions whether all organizations have the same priorities when it comes to the transformation of their own programs. Before embarking on the transformation journey, it’s essential that organizations do some introspection—they need to analyze their existing processes and systems, then ask and understand what transformation means for their individual business.
There are many potentially major wins to be had from Digital Transformation, when done right. But as many as half of initiatives fail, for a variety of reasons. Challenges are sometimes due to unforeseen circumstances, such as the current pandemic. But another common challenge is that many companies rush to buy technology solutions with features that don’t fit their desired outcomes, or that simply aren’t fit for the purpose of their project.
Another major challenge is people. Many teams overlap and touch the high value processes at the heart of transformation initiatives. If the people on those teams get involved too late, or aren’t invested enough, it causes problems when it comes to adoption. Key teams need to be involved from the start.
If you avoid the pitfall of buying technology too quickly, how do you go about transforming successfully? How do you build a transformation program that suits your desired business outcomes? It’s all about how to climb the Digital Transformation maturity curve to success.
DX success starts with a strategy and ends with the technology that allows your business to accelerate and succeed. There are three essential steps:
Review your business. Like we mentioned earlier, before any other steps are taken, it’s essential to examine your existing business model, your competitive landscape, your products and pricing, and many other factors that Finnegan covers in her session. Before moving forward, it’s essential to re-shape standard business architectures and focus on the business outcomes you’re hoping to achieve through transformation.
Simplify the process. We’re all entrenched in our business processes, and often can’t see the forest for the trees. Complexity is built up and solidified, siloes exist, and cross-departmental exchanges are tangled and difficult. Often it’s necessary to bring in an outside perspective to help you see where you need to do better, and to work with your teams to design intelligent workflows that can adapt, scale, and provide valuable insights.
Apply the technology. Finally, it’s time to find a technology to help move you forward to achieve your desired outcomes. As an example, Conga’s solutions can help streamline the entire quote-to-cash process (and even elements of business that fall outside of that process).
To help organizations move through transformation progressively, in a manageable and effective way, Finnegan walks through how Conga has broken down this quote-to-cash process into a maturity curve. For each component of the process, the principle stages are broken into steps. Companies can map their level to each of those components, understand where they stand, and what they need to do to get to the next level.
Finnegan explains that the goal is to ensure customers use features that drive their business outcomes in their current stage. Customer success managers play a pivotal role for Conga customers, helping them move up the curve, and advance in their usage, process, and approach as they build their technology solution. In this way, and using the maturity curve as a blueprint, Conga helps its customers to continually digitally transform their businesses, without overreaching or getting stuck in dead ends.
To gain and maintain momentum within the organization, Finnegan recommends focusing on speed to value to gain momentum with key stakeholders. When users engage with the technology and can see firsthand the difference it’s making, adoption is no longer a struggle. And adoption is key to success as you continually digitally transform your business.
Watch Finnegan’s session to learn more about the Digital Transformation maturity curve and its components.
Session #2: “The evolution of customer success”
In his Reimagine session, “The evolution of customer success,” Conga’s Vice President of Customer Success, Justin Riek, walks us through what steps most customer service, or CS, teams need to go through and areas they need to focus on to improve performance.
In the Age of the Customer, CS organizations are evolving and adapting to changing needs. As organizations transform, their business models adapt, their products evolve, and their customer success programs need to keep up. Businesses that put the customer front and center through this process will be more successful overall.
Just as the previous session addressed DX maturity, Riek describes the maturity stages of customer success programs. Organizations start at the reactive early stage, putting out fires and dealing with problems. From there, they must gain insights from access to customer data in order to determine the best actions to take. Once data provides a more comprehensive view of customers and the resulting insights allow customer service teams to focus on customer needs, the focus moves to customer outcomes. The final step would be the ability to achieve organizational transformation around customer success objectives.
Like many facets of business that can be measured in terms of maturity, the way to level up is to tackle finite projects and initiatives that can be executed well and drive meaningful advances. For customer success, this can mean focusing on a particular element of the customer journey that’s causing trouble or needs improvement.
There is no single, correct way to form a successful customer success organization. The right approach depends on your organization, where you are in your journey, and what state of the customer lifecycle you’re going to tackle. If you remember that it is the Age of the Customer and you put the customer at the center of your business, you create a significant and predictable source of revenue growth for your organization.
To see more of the specific areas that customer success teams need to focus on in order to level up in maturity, watch Riek’s full session.
Session #3: “How to maximize your investment through user adoption”
As we saw in the previous session, supporting customer success is essential for business to succeed and thrive. In her session, “How to maximize your investment through user adoption,” Natasa Koledin, Vice President of Global Education at Conga, talks through how important effective training is for any organization to be successful in its initiatives.
As Koledin points out, companies adopt new technologies and solutions in order to solve a business problem. But then, in turn, they’re concerned with getting the maximum return on their investment, so in addition to solving their business problem, they’re also looking to realize the value of a solution and accelerate that value. In fact, new solutions are building blocks in overall business transformation, and so carrying them out well is of great importance.
The success of a given project often comes down to user adoption. In turn, strong user adoption is often determined by how well teams are trained on the new solution. Among some other impressive statistics, Koledin cites a survey where respondents reported that good training saves one hour in five in productivity.
A properly trained, enabled user base saves time, money, efficiency, and realizes the business value of why a program has been implemented in the first place. Koledin presents the key factors required for any organization to ensure successful deployment and ongoing evolution of their investment. Listen to her talk through the details and importance of these factors in effectively training users for successful adoption:
- Timing (of training)
- Structured vs. non-structured activities
- Forming habits
- Evaluate/enhance how you are using the system
Up next: Top sessions on CLM at Reimagine
The Business Trends track at Reimagine was full of actionable insights, including many other sessions not listed here that covered the key elements that businesses should keep in mind as they approach Digitally Transformation initiatives. Check out the full track and all sessions on the online event site.
We’ll continue to provide overviews of some of the best sessions in each of our remaining tracks in the coming blogs in this series. Look for the next blog on the CLM (contract lifecycle management) sessions coming soon. And, in case you missed it, check out the first blog on our Digital Documents track.