Tag Archives: Cloud

6 great customer success principles to live by

… and you learnt them all in pre-school. A great article that I read today and well worth a re-post.  Written by Dennis Hennessey – Six Great Customer Success Principles To Live By – and published on the BUSINESS2COMMUNITY.

Customer success

The first blog post I’ve written in 6 months, far too long. Busy with a a new exciting position and opportunity with Appirio in our London head office, helping to drive and build customer engagement and customer success, with some great customers, helping them innovate and transform their businesses with cloud technology.  And working with an amazingly talented and passionate team.

This article really resonated with me and as principles they’re very simple to remember, understand and build into your own customer success and customer engagement teams…

  1. Listening
  2. Empathy
  3. Honesty
  4. Be polite
  5. Keep your promises
  6. Be helpful

Customer success workshop

Not rocket science by any stretch of the imagination but very powerful principles and all key to helping build, improve and take your customer relationships to the next level.

What customer success principles do you use and are any of these missing from your organisation?

The strange life, death and rebirth of the CIO and what it means for the future of technology

A re-blog from a very good article earlier this month on ZDNet (by Steve Ranger – the UK editor-in-chief of ZDNet and TechRepublic) which follows the same theme as my recent posts on the changing role of the CIO and CTO in organisations and what this means.

Which way to go

The way companies buy, build and use technology is changing rapidly, which means the teams that build it and run it will need to change too.”

Technology business alignment

Are you as a technology leader changing quickly enough and giving the necessary direction to your teams and the business?

We’ve faced some huge shifts in technology services and provision of these in business over the last 5-10 years.  First outsourcing and offshoring, then the cloud and technology as a utility, then more recently consumerisation and the whole BYOD phenomenon, and this is forcing us to make big changes in how we lead and manage technology teams and functions in businesses.  These changes will accelerate over the next 2-3 years and new changes will emerge.  Technology will become more and more critical to businesses and needs to be more agile and responsive to change.

The challenge for us as technology leaders, is to manage increasingly conflicting business expectations – to increase efficiency, reduce costs and come up with new innovative ways of using technology to create new business opportunities.


A guide to understanding customer success

Two relatively recent formal functions within businesses are those of customer engagement and customer success.  Clearly not new as in we’ve not been focusing on success or engagement before but in that it wasn’t someone’s job title or sole function.

Customer success

Or was it?  Customer success and customer engagement have clearly been critical to businesses, since commerce first came about and it’s always been – or should be – part of everyone’s job and the function of every department.  But what has changed is that a need has been identified to have individuals and teams who focus just on success and engagement, particularly from a leadership perspective – and ensure all other teams are working in a customer focused joined up and collaborative way, that results in the best experience and service for our customers!  All great to have.

There’s a great blog post from last month that looks at the role of someone heading up the customer success function from Dan Steinman (Chief Customer Officer at gainsight).  Dan highlights the key traits that are needed for a successful customer success leader and does so by asking his team about him in his role – a very interesting and insightful exercise.

Do read Dan’s post for full details but in summary the key traits are:

  1. A passion for customers.
  2. A willingness to get their hands dirty.
  3. A philosophy.
  4. An understanding of what the customer success team do each day.
  5. A knack for influence management.

Influence management

Passion makes perfect sense.  You need to have be focused on the customer and making things right for them and caring about them being successful.  And your team need to share the same passion – and then let it spread beyond just your team!  It can be a cultural shift but a critical one.

Getting involved when there are customer issues and challenges, means getting stuck in and doing what is needed and engaging with the customer and team.  And not just taking a back seat overseeing it all.  It’s about credibility.

As a new field, it is evolving fast and there are lots of new ideas.  You need to be committed to what your phillosophy on customer success is and what that means for your customers and your teams.

The better you know your team and what they are doing, the better informed your decisions are – not rocket science, but all about good leadership.

The last point is the big one I think – influence management.  You need to be working across all the functions and teams in your company so that they understand their roles in customer success – from sales to operations to development to product management to admin to support – so they can understand what and when changes are needed and implement them.

As an evolving new function, there is no commonly agreed standard definition of what customer success (or engagement) management is.  Having a team focused on customer success, has a strong message for both internal teams and stakeholders and customers.

Pay as you go technology

As technology moves more and more to a utility based – pay as you go – model and more focus is on long term relationships and not the legacy models where there was a huge upfront cost (as CAPEX – capital expenditure), customer retention becomes more critical.  This is where customer success and customer engagement both come in – ensuring customers are retained.  And key to this is ensuring customers can easily see the commercial value of the platforms and services you are providing.

These new technology models, have created a need to formalise and structure the customer success function, but it’s not just in technology companies where it applies.

The more value your services provide, the more successful your customers are and the more successful you are.  Customer success can be the focus of your VP of customer success, or your chief customer officer, or your customer success director, but their role is to make sure everyone understands what customer success is all about and everyone’s own role in it, and to make your customers successful.

Customer success

The clouds are here to stay

Following my post last week on cloud computing and reference to Kevin Fielder’s blog post about BYOD and the consumerisation of IT (2 other hot topics), there’s another great post that Kevin’s done specifically on cloud computing and what it is.  It’s well worth a read…

It’s a simple but comprehensive introduction and covers key points including:

  1. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
  2. Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  3. Software as a Service (SaaS)
And also:

  1. Private cloud
  2. Public cloud
  3. Hybrid cloud

Keep an eye out for future posts here and on Kevin’s blog for more on cloud computing.  It is changing the way we use computers – both at home and at work and now you know a bit more about what it is and where it’s going…

It’s in the clouds

A very topical topic for this post – cloud computing.  It’s everywhere and growing exponentially.  I love the photo below – taken down our road of the telegraph pole (is that still the right term for it?) that pretty much every telephone (and therefore broadband connection) down this part of the road comes from…

Cloud technology is now and it’s about using computing as a utility service – i.e. you use and pay for what you need, when you need it and even where you need it.  Versus the more traditional approach of doing everything locally where you are and investing in your own (quite often expensive) hardware and software.  It’s not a new approach as such, and has similarities with the mainframe services from way back.

A great example of cloud computing, is in the consumer world with smartphones.  I expect to be able to access my e-mails, music, photos, videos, documents and more, wherever and whenever I want and in the way I want.  I don’t want to have to sit down at a designated computer (yes even my lovely iMac) and only be able to access things then.  What if I’m away and need something urgently?  Cloud computing means I can use services that store my data for me and that I can access through the “cloud” – i.e. with an internet connection.  Not just my data but tools and utilities and applications that I want to use as well.  My smartphone is my access portal to the cloud.

Here’s a link to a great blog post from Kevin Fielder – a fellow IT professional (specialising in security) – that talks about this more and also 2 other current trends we’re seeing in technology, that all link together:

  • BYOD – bring your own device
  • Consumerisation of IT

Both phrases I’m sure most people have heard of as well.  But what are they?

In short BYOD is the cultural change over recent years where businesses are allowing their employees to bring in and use their own technology equipment at work and accessing their work technology resources (e.g. e-mail) through that device.  Yes there are security and support implications but these need to be and are being resolved.  Gone are the days when my work technology equipment is by default the latest and greatest, it’s me the consumer driving this (with the latest smartphone or tablet) and I want all my data – work and personal – accessible in one place, and yes I can be more productive like that.

The consumerisation of IT fits neatly in here as well.  As Kevin rightly says, it’s about the blurring of the differences between technology at businesses and for consumers.  I want to be able to do everything from one device, whenever and wherever I want.  And hey if it’s my device, I’ve paid for it and I’m more than likely paying for any monthly charges!  Think about that.

The image above shows cloud computing more from a business standpoint, showing what type of services I (as a business) can access through the cloud.  Creating technology as a true utility service – much like businesses use electricity (without their own generators to create their own) – means that businesses can focus on what they do best and still deliver services using the best technology without massive investments that have to be depreciated after a few years and yes then upgraded.

Another great definition of cloud computing is below…

And going back to my first photo to finish.  Although I’m now using the cloud for my technology, I’m still reliant on this older technology (through the telegraph pole) to get my access.  If that’s not there I’m stuffed quite frankly – not internet connection.  Where’s the redundancy here?  What have my (my road’s) telco provider done to ensure continuity of service if a storm blows this down?  Are consumers thinking about this?  Not really.  What about businesses?  As part of any move to the cloud, businesses need to look at considerations like this urgently.

10 technology trends set to change the world

A great post – care of Manufacturing Executive – that I found from Twitter of a presentation from Dave Evans at Cisco back in July last year.  10 technology innovations and trends that are happening now that will impact all our lives over the next 10 years…

Here’s the overview list…

  1. The Internet of Things – more ‘things’ being connected to the Internet than people
  2. Big data – allowing us to predict more things and change the way we plan
  3. The cloud – making all knowledge of the world available to everyone
  4. The next generation Internet – network speeds are increasing exponentially
  5. Hyper connectivity – realtime broadcasts with unprecedented transparency
  6. The power of energy – intelligent use of energy
  7. Augmented reality – and the ultimate man-machine integration
  8. 3D printing – everyone becomes a manufacturer
  9. Artificial intelligence – completely intelligent and self-aware computers
  10. Human evolution – slowing the ageing process

And links to the original presentation and video from Dave.

As an aside Dave’s job title has to be one of the coolest ones out there – Chief Futurist & Chief Technologist.  It clearly demonstrates the importance and criticality of innovation in technology.  Do you have one of these chiefs?