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Governing Your Tech Solutions: The 4 Steps to Success

Frank Longo
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Traditionally, customers have assumed 100% of the risk for achieving business value from their investments in technology solutions and services. However, today the industry has evolved to embrace new consumption and “as-a-service” (XaaS) business models (Forbes, 2017). This new structure has led to technology service solutions increasingly becoming a two-way street–one in which the customer and the provider share the risk. Consequently, maintaining a healthy, ongoing financial relationship between buyer and seller depends on the customer achieving specific business outcomes from an investment.

At Riverbed, we understand that it is critical to develop and deliver services that solve our customers’ specific business challenges. We strive to offer services solutions that are designed to reduce operational complexity, accelerate the adoption of technology, and deliver quantifiable business outcomes.

Step one: customer business value mapping

To accomplish this objective, we proactively engage customers to thoroughly understand their business, technical and operational requirements. We then use this information to perform a business value mapping analysis, as outlined in the graphic below. The primary goal of this evaluation is to assess the business challenges that we will be aiming to improve with a services solution.

Business Value

Service Solution Business Value Mapping

After completing this analysis, we define and design the services solution to achieve specific customer outcomes that will produce measurable business value. This process involves two components that we perform during the discovery phase of a customer engagement: business value mapping and assessment of customer business challenges.

  1. Business Value Mapping: Develop and apply a business value mapping framework to service design to anticipate how to help customers improve business performance.
  2. Assess Customer Business Challenges: Document and prioritize key business challenges that represent unmet customer needs, including key performance metrics (KPIs) and customer beneficiaries/stakeholders.

Through these steps, we paint a holistic picture of our customers’ business performance and address their unique challenges using services solutions.

Step two: designing the service

Our process includes understanding the following service design components:

  • Product architecture and bill of materials (BOM)
  • Service architecture and service level objectives
  • IT service management (ITSM) processes, systems and tools
  • Process design and integration considerations for operationalizing the service
  • Measurement methods and KPIs
  • Customer beneficiaries and stakeholders
  • Riverbed resources required to contribute to the service over its lifecycle

We use these service design components to quantify the performance and the business value of the services solution after it’s operationalized.

Step three: operationalization

IT Lifecycle

IT Lifecycle

The service operation phase is when business value is truly realized. At Riverbed, we take great care in developing and delivering service solutions that generate measurable results. We use the KPIs identified during customer discovery to accomplish this goal. Customer discovery is an ongoing process that begins during initial customer engagement and continues after the contract award during the build, run and optimization phases of the IT lifecycle.

Given the dynamic nature of customer business requirements, we’ve established two new processes to govern contracts, enhance adoption and improve customer satisfaction: customer onboarding and customer success management.

  1. Customer Onboarding: Riverbed’s professional service team handles the customer onboarding process to train and educate customers, enabling them to consume the service solutions and rapidly achieve their desired business outcomes. This process includes working with the customers to integrate the services into their internal systems and processes to maximize performance and adoption.
  2. Customer Success Management: Riverbed’s customer success management process allows us to improve adoption over the customer lifecycle, from order landing through contract renewal. This process improves customer adoption by monitoring and measuring usage and consumption of key Riverbed technologies, and then providing advice and guidance to customers that result in improved business value.

At Riverbed, we combine these lifecycle processes with our best-in-class program and project management capabilities to govern service solutions contracts. This enables us to deliver ongoing business value and a superior customer experience.

Step four: measuring business value with KPIs

An important measure in achieving business value is illustrating that services solutions are truly driving critical customer processes. The reason is that when a services solution is integral to one or more business, technical, or operational processes, it is much more likely to be adopted and produce business outcomes over the customer lifecycle—between order landing and contract renewal.

By linking the services solution to a process and to results measured with KPIs, we can demonstrate improvement from the original performance metrics. At Riverbed, we typically benchmark KPIs to establish a baseline before deploying and operationalizing the services solution in the customer’s environment. However, this is an iterative and collaborative process that spans the entire customer lifecycle.

One method we use to track KPIs during the service operation is a scorecard, as shown below. We determine and agree upon benchmarked KPIs with our customers. We then measure and report these KPIs using the scorecard. This scorecard measures business value and presents it to the customer to enable a rapid return on investment (ROI) analysis.

KPI Business Value

Example KPI Scorecard

The Digital Performance Center: where it all comes together

In order to achieve all of the above for our customers, Riverbed has developed a holistic offering called the Digital Performance Center. This services suite is specifically tailored for digital experience management and covers everything from end-user experience to network monitoring. This exciting solution within our portfolio helps us deliver and operationalize services solutions that produce outcomes and quantifiable business value to customers.

To begin today, try our Performance Management Maturity Assessment service to learn more about how your organization can further optimize its business performance.

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