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The Connected Enterprise

PODCAST

Customer Success and Business Continuity: Maintaining Business as Usual With Enterprise Software Solutions

Posted by Vision33 on Jun 10, 2020 12:00:00 PM

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Full Transcript

Carl Lewis:

Welcome to the Connected Enterprise Podcast! I’m Carl Lewis, your host from Vision33, and my guest is Judith Tigner, vice president of client success at Mitratech Holdings. Judith, welcome to the podcast; thank you for joining us. Please tell us about yourself, Mitratech, and your work there.

Judith Tigner:

Thanks, Carl. It's great to discuss insights into customer success and business continuity during this uncertain time. Mitratech Holdings is in Austin, Texas. We serve legal and governance risk and compliance professionals. Our goal is to understand their business problems and solve them with our enterprise software solutions.

Carl Lewis:

That’s great. Many businesses are establishing a role like yours to talk about their customers’ experiences, ensure projects succeed, etc. – so you have a great vantage point to talk about my favorite Connected Enterprise Podcast topics. Judith, what are some trends in the industry? A lot of technology comes into play with automation, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, etc. But what do you see, in your professional life, customers trying to implement?

Judith Tigner:

Having proper access to documents, tools, and information from wherever you’re working, and the appropriate security so your business isn't affected and you can continue serving your customers. I think that can range from department document repository projects. We see a lot of workflow automation projects. One of our main enterprise products in the legal field is to give the right access to the right people to expedite work, reduce hops through the chain, and keep everyone working at home as if they’re in the office. This sudden migration to everybody being home uncovered gaps with customers.

Carl Lewis:

That's interesting. I can imagine dealing with legal risk management makes security issues particularly important when you're working remotely.

Judith Tigner:

Absolutely. Confidential information, having the right level of security so people can access the right things from home, and keeping everything secure in the cloud are top of mind. If you watch the news, it's only increasing in importance.

Carl Lewis:

Absolutely. What are the biggest challenges organizations face when trying to introduce these technologies, especially when they're doing it quickly over these transitional days we’ve been in?

Judith Tigner:

One of the biggest challenges is distraction. You have your day job, and maybe some transformation projects in your organization, and now there’s a new issue distracting you from everything else. You still have metrics and goals as a business leader, but now you have an additional logistical issue regarding your business serving customers. Those key decision-makers who would drive much of that about business processes and transformation are now focused on something that's a big distraction. That’s the biggest challenge right now: balancing those things.

Carl Lewis:

I thought you would say distraction was like my grandson asking me to fix the swimming pool every 30 minutes.

Judith Tigner:

External communication at Mitratech hasn't changed because we’re a global company. We have a customer portal we use to communicate with customers. We use web conferencing tools. But how we’re communicating internally to support clients has changed. Our people are working from home and trying to find the right work/life balance. We’re using more web conferencing tools and chat to get things done because it's just in time to serve our customers.

Carl Lewis:

Exactly. My wife sits in virtual meetings and simultaneously answers chat messages from her staff. I can't work like that – I'm very linear – but she has a multitasking capability that doesn’t exist in my DNA. Whether we stay in the current situation or things go back to something like normal, what’s the biggest technology over the horizon for businesses?

Judith Tigner:

I’ll go back to my earlier statement about business continuity transformation. We have people working from home, so the genie is out of the bottle – we must have permanent options for people going forward because not everyone will want to go back to “normal.” And it sounds funny for me to say, “Paper is dead” because you're thinking, "It's 2020; we all know that." But we’ve found that, in contract execution, paper isn’t dead in certain parts of the organization. We're using our workflow automation tool to help customers automate the places they're still relying on paper to ensure business continuity.

Carl Lewis:

I agree. For most people I work with, everything's electronic. But I was surprised the other day – I had landscapers grind down a stump so I could access the pool lines I'm working on for my grandson. They wanted a handwritten check. And it's like, "I think I write two of those a year now." Most people, even in landscaping, can let you pay electronically, right?

Judith Tigner:

Right.

Carl Lewis:

I was taken aback that there are still people catching up to that. It's interesting. So, Judith, on the personal side of things. With the pandemic, many people's communication has changed dramatically in the last two or three months. But look at this from the perspective of your whole career. How do you do most of your communication, and is it changing? Whether that's from email to social media to virtual meetings, what’s your experience?

Judith Tigner:

I have a master's degree in organizational communications, so this is a passion of mine. What's happened is that chat, text, and social media have created urgency and immediacy that are now part of communication. What we're trying to determine in organizations is which channel makes the most sense for the message. You get the new technology, you’re overwhelmed using it, and then it becomes a distraction. You lose focus; you're less productive.

Judith Tigner:

The next trend in immediate communication is refining those processes to ensure we can be efficient and not distracted by whatever we feel we must respond to.

Carl Lewis:

I have some habits my younger coworkers don't have. I only check email a few times a day, and sometimes my boss says, "I tried to contact you on Teams, but you weren't there." I say, "I was there; I just ignored you because I was doing something I deemed more important at the moment." But I agree – this is a balance people haven't mastered yet. This technology makes us so available that you look up and your whole day is gone with nothing strategic accomplished. It comes down to a very personal level; you’re right.

Judith Tigner:

Chat is fantastic if you have a yes/no question or need a quick update on something that's happening for the customer. It's transformed how we can communicate with our customers. But a chat isn’t the right place to ask for a lengthy analysis of the trends in your support tickets. You might be distracting them in the middle of an important customer conversation.

Carl Lewis:

Very much so. Before I forget, I have something you’ll find funny. You said your education was in organizational communications – that’s what I went through in my master's program, too.

Judith Tigner:

Oh, really?

Carl Lewis:

Although it leaned toward interpersonal and public communication, we looked at a lot of organizational communication issues. But the more interesting part is that I was actually an ordained minister getting a master's degree. So, it took a little different slant, but you can see where it left me.

Judith Tigner:

Yeah.

Carl Lewis:

Doing interviews, yes, but I’ve carried many things I learned there with me throughout my career in many places. Judith, your company, like mine, works with other companies to help them implement projects. Call us consultants, business advisors, third parties, or all of the above. What are the biggest challenges of working with businesses like ours? Some think it's difficult, even though they can't do it without us. How would you advise them to make it less difficult?

Judith Tigner:

That’s the eternal question as someone who's serving a customer base. There’s project work, ownership, and end-user adoption – none of which has changed in the 20+ years I've been working in software. When it comes to implementing new technologies/solutions and partnering with an outside firm to do so, it's important to think early on and throughout the project about how to gain users’ attention and drive adoption after the project is done. That's a big challenge for customers, especially in a time like this when there are many other things gaining people's attention.

Judith Tigner:

Choose internal champions to drive the execution of whatever you're rolling out. Get adoption from the top down that demonstrates the model you want everyone to follow. Rely on your third party. When you have challenges, contact them and ask for help. We've seen many projects where it’s the first technology project someone is working on.

Judith Tigner:

For example, one customer was focused on an onsite training experience for the users. But that plan had to change; they needed remote training instead. We could help them succeed in that area because web training differs greatly from onsite training. So, please ask a third party for guidance and best practices. Maybe ask them to introduce you to another of their customers for a different view of what you’re trying to accomplish.

Carl Lewis:

That's good stuff. If I remember back from my college days, I always looked for people I called the "change agents" and "opinion leaders." If I remember correctly, those are the organizational communication words.

Judith Tigner:

True.

Carl Lewis:

Nothing changes. Judith, are there parts of Mitratech you’ve automated?

Judith Tigner:

Absolutely. Workflow automation is the biggest area we've utilized our tools. I'll use COVID-19 as an example and the need for us to understand employees. “Self-reporting risk assessment” is the buzzword, but it doesn't roll off the tongue. But think about it: although we’re all home now, we’ll eventually migrate back to the office, and the organization must know if an employee or their family members have been exposed in the last week. We need a way for employees to report that so we can keep the data in one place to help us decide what a staged roll-back into the office should look like – all while supporting the employees and what they need.

Judith Tigner:

Using a workflow tool to automate that so it's not just sitting in someone's inbox has been a game-changer, particularly around the pandemic. We're also helping customers use those same tools in their organizations.

Carl Lewis:

That's a great example. I imagine leadership teams look at that information frequently.

Judith Tigner:

Absolutely. We have a task force, like many organizations. We’re watching this closely.

Carl Lewis:

Is it working well for you?

Judith Tigner:

It is. Knowing what people are experiencing on the ground is critical for keeping up with what's happening in our office locations.

Carl Lewis:

How large is Mitratech, and what's your geographic coverage?

Judith Tigner:

We're an international organization with offices in the US, the UK, Australia, and Hyderabad, India. We also have people working remotely across the globe.

Carl Lewis:

Sounds like us. With the technology projects your company helps other companies with, do you have KPIs and targets you try to reach and measure against?

Judith Tigner:

On our projects with customers?

Carl Lewis:

Yes.

Judith Tigner:

The fundamentals of delivery: on time, on budget, with quality and meeting project metrics. Those are the three pillars of delivery for our customers, so that's what we focus on. I tell customers to think about that when they're considering rolling out technology to their users. Consider those things and the business problem you’re trying to solve. Make sure that, at the end of the project, you measure against the KPIs you established at the beginning. Keep it simple, though – I see customers come up with 15 KPIs. That’s too many. Choose a few and do them well.

Carl Lewis:

Yes. The best KPI is that we had a business problem, and we solved it. That's the definition of quality from my book.

Judith Tigner:

Absolutely. For example, getting technology to have a single source of truth because otherwise, you have disparate systems with disparate pieces of data. At the end of that project, you should be able to decommission the other areas where people go for the data – they should go to the new technology, where it’s easy to find what they need.

Carl Lewis:

That's a good example. Those are some of the best measures. That's the goal, and hopefully we hit it from time to time. Well, Judith, it's been great to spend time with you. I appreciate your insights, and I hope you join us again when this is over. Thanks so much.

Judith Tigner:

I would love to do that. Thanks, Carl.

Carl Lewis:

Thank you. And until we meet again, everyone out there stay connected.

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