I recently attended the Oracle Modern Business Experience event at Excel in London, this is their showcase event in the UK and attracts around c.5,000 delegates. Perhaps not surprisingly, it also attracts some worthy high-profile speakers; this year these included Deborah Meaden from the BBC’s Dragon’s Den and Professor Brian Cox the BBC Cosmologist, both of whom gave insightful and captivating talks.
For me personally, the most thought provoking insight came from the opening address made by Oracle CEO – Safra Catz. Her presentation really resonated with me, especially around some of the challenges we sometimes face when working to deliver cloud-based products to private brand grocery retailers here in the UK.
What I found that Safra articulated so well, was how most modern enterprises want to embrace modern technology as they recognise its importance to enable them to operate efficiently and effectively. However, in most businesses of today, it’s not always the technology that’s the challenge, but more the sociology within.
The process by which we get the middle managers and internal IT departments at these companies to accept new ‘cloud based’ technology dictates new ways of working and adopting new processes. With this comes the ‘fear factor’ and this, as Safra explained needs to be addressed by engaging a broad range of stakeholders early in the process, this can then allay the fear of change and their reservations about operating in the cloud.
An interesting article by Oracle indicates that during internal discussions 37% of the company’s buying group’s project time for scoping is spent in conflict with internal IT departments. This means it can be as late as 57% into the decision-making process before anyone will even think about engaging with the potential supplier.
In my personal experience this can often result in a lot of the important initial scoping being done internally about a solution that might not even exist or be feasible. This can also allow in-house teams to hold onto their historical ways of working rather than using potential suppliers such as S4RB to provide the consulting around ‘the art of the possible’, utilising practical experience which can help them to focus on the most appropriate and cost-effective solutions. We refer to S4RB as a ‘consultancy led software company’ because it is not just about the software we provide, but about delivering ongoing practical solutions to our customers.
If companies can engage with prospective suppliers in the initial stages they can work together to bring fresh thinking and to help remove the ‘fear factor’ associated with change and work to a plan that will focus on the many benefits of moving to a new cloud-based solution, such as:
- Implementation and enablement in a few months
- Benefits of no capital outlay and the supply is on a rental/subscription model (SaaS)
- Permanent upgrades and maintenance built into the service
We believe firmly in our consultancy led model to not only provide software but to actively support and work alongside our customers to help them overcome problems or introduce innovative ways of working to obtain the maximum benefit.
As organisations respond to emerging trends and changing market conditions, there is little doubt that more and more services will move to cloud technology. For instance, the evolution of employee demand shows that the growing numbers of millennials in the workplace are simply not attracted to companies that run legacy business systems. If we delve deeper into the trends, businesses need to adapt to remain competitive. The cloud can be a key component into how future service delivery will be driven by customer intimacy, product leadership and operational excellence.
Companies that focus on customer intimacy develop extensive knowledge of their target market and customise services and product offerings to meet and predict consumer demands and find significant value in customer data to drive insights. Similarly, product leadership is about the importance of developing innovative products and services that respond to market trends, or address issues of consumer demand.
At S4RB we work closely with our retail customers to help them adapt to these constantly changing issues and challenges and provide innovative solution to match their brand goals; helping to transform private brands.
For an example of S4RB’s consultancy led solutions take a look at the following case study; Bespoke private label system deployed in 7 weeks.