A Guide to Success with Technology Solutions

A Guide to Success with Technology Solutions

Ian Elius, Associate Client Relationship Director, Cloud and Customer Success, IQVIA Quality Compliance

Customer success, particularly in the Life Sciences, depends on developing a collaborative partnership between technology solutions providers and their customers. Many times, this partnership experiences challenges, especially when the responsibilities of both parties are not clearly communicated and understood. This blog examines the areas the customer can focus on to increase the probability of success for the overall partnership and specific engagements.

As a customer, focusing on and making progress in the following areas of responsibility will enhance the success of your partnership with your technology solutions provider:

  • Buying Cycle – Initial engagement between Customer and Technology Partner business and procurement teams
  • Implementation Cycle – Engagement between Customer and Technology Partner business and operations management teams to deploy products and services
  • Ongoing Operations and Maintenance – Engagement between Customer and Technology Partner operations management teams on products and services deployed to end-user population to continually improve efficiency and productivity through normal business process changes

Following are key Customer Roles that may become engaged at different stages:

  • The Executive Sponsor provides leadership and strategic direction to the business for the success of the project. The more active and engaged this role is in the project, the more successful the partnership will be.
  • The Business Process Owner manages the process from beginning to end and is responsible for ensuring the correct business requirements are aligned with the project. They need to understand what is required in each step of the process for the health of the project.
  • The System Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product and ensuring the product’s features and functions are fully optimized and utilized. This requires a good understanding of the product’s capabilities in order to maximize its value.
  • The System Administrator is capable of managing, understanding and configuring the product and its components and is responsible for guiding all end users throughout the lifecycle of the product. They need to have an in-depth knowledge of the product and its features.
  • Functional Area Managers understands the needs of end-users in their specific areas and have the decision-making authority to resolve conflicts and prioritize requirements for their areas. They need to have knowledge of the product and its features as it applies to their functional teams.
  • The End User needs to understand the steps that are more specific to their process, so their training is more targeted to specific features and functions that are necessary for them to be successful in their role.

Buying Cycle

The buying cycle is the point where the customer journey begins. When your organization is considering a purchase, it is an investment that may be significant in many cases. For the investment to be considered, you will need to demonstrate its value to the organization over a defined time period. If your organization has established procurement procedures for the type of partnership that you are seeking, then you follow that process to conclusion.

If this is a new area, then you may collaborate with your potential technology partner to ensure you have a unified vision of the investment outcome. Your technology partner should know how the project’s successful completion will help your organization achieve its overall mission and strategy, and should be able to provide any information that highlights the objectives that will be achieved.

In addition to alignment on investment outcomes and project objectives, your potential technology partner and you should be aware of the procurement process within your organization and how that maps to the partner’s sales and onboarding processes. This alignment facilitates planning for the appropriate resources and information to be available for milestones to be completed in a timely manner.

The buying cycle should include a cross-functional team with stakeholders affected by the project. It is valuable to have stakeholders involved that understand the business, and understand the opportunities, limitations, and risks associated with the technology. These resources will provide valuable insight into your requirements and scope.

Key Customer Roles during this Stage:

  • The Executive Sponsor
  • The Business Process Owner
  • The System Owner

Implementation Cycle

During the Implementation Cycle, the appropriate teams work together to deploy the products and services so that the organization may begin realizing the value of their investment. To best position themselves for success, there are 6 key responsibilities the customer should address.

Responsibility #1: Educate your technology partner about your business.
Technology partners depend on you to educate them about your business concepts and terminology. Beyond industry knowledge and domain expertise, the intent is to help them understand your problems and objectives. Do not expect your technology partners to have the business-specific knowledge that you and your peers take for granted.

Responsibility #2: Invest the time to provide and clarify requirements.
You have a responsibility to invest time in workshops, interviews, and other requirements gathering activities. Sometimes the technology partner may believe that they understand a point you made, only to realize later that further clarification is needed. Be patient with this iterative approach to developing and refining the requirements, as it is the nature of complex human communication and essential to success.

Responsibility #3: Establish priorities and categorize requirements.
The technology partner will ask you to make many choices and decisions. These decisions include making trade-offs and resolving conflicts between requirements, to determine the features that are “must have,” “deferred,” or “nice to have.” It is important to have the appropriate resources who are authorized to make such business decisions available to ensure success.

Responsibility #4: Trust your technology partner’s assessment of cost and feasibility.
Your technology partner is in the best position to estimate the technical feasibility and costs for specific features and functionality. Part of your due diligence efforts may include understanding the basis of the estimates, however, your engagement with your technology partner was based on their expertise in an area so trusting their guidance would be in alignment with your own selection criteria and decision. Additionally, you may be flexible in your approach and work with your technology partner to write your requirements in a manner that makes meeting your objectives more achievable. It would be beneficial to adopt the standard technology process before requesting making major changes. Many times, these processes are built on best practices and can add value to your business despite the difficulties involved in embracing change and moving away from current processes.

Responsibility #5: Review requirements documents and prototypes.
Participation in formal and informal reviews is extremely valuable to determine whether the requirements are complete, correct, and necessary. To better understand your needs and explore the best ways to satisfy them, your technology partner will often build prototypes to obtain feedback.

Responsibility #6: Communicate changes in a timely manner and follow the defined change process.
Change is expected, but the later in the implementation cycle a change is introduced, the greater its impact. Changes can cause significant rework, impacting schedules and cost, if new functionality is deemed necessary after implementation is well underway. All participants must follow the defined change control process to minimize the impact of each change. This ensures that requested changes are not lost, the impact of each requested change is assessed, and all proposed changes are evaluated in a consistent way. As a result, you can make good business decisions to incorporate certain changes into the implementation.

Key Customer Roles during this Stage:

  • The Executive Sponsor
  • The Business Process Owner
  • The System Owner
  • The System Administrator
  • Functional Area Managers

Ongoing Operations and Maintenance

During the Ongoing Operations and Maintenance phase, you have incorporated the technology partner’s products and services into daily operations. You perform routine administration and maintenance activities related to business processes and end-user requests.

Many requests that are received immediately following an implementation cycle will be due to business process or technology change. As a customer, your training around products plays a very important role in your success towards this partnership. Ensuring your resources tasked with managing the processes and related systems have the proper level of knowledge to maximize your investment is essential to your success.

Additionally, you will coordinate with the technology partner for any issues or advanced requests. These ongoing activities will continue until a business or technology change initiates another sales and implementation cycle.

Key Customer Roles during this Stage:

  • The Executive Sponsor
  • The Business Process Owner
  • The System Owner
  • The System Administrator
  • The End User

Make the Most of your Relationship – Find your Greatest Success

Your role in Customer Success is as critical as that of the technology solutions provider that you choose to be your partner.

Having the key customer roles engaged during the phases indicated will increase the probability of realizing the expected outcomes:

  • Buying Cycle – Initial Engagement between Customer and Technology Partner business and procurement teams
  • Implementation Cycle – Engagement between Customer and Technology Partner business and operations management teams to deploy products and services
  • Ongoing Operations and Maintenance – Engagement between Customer and Technology Partner operations management teams on products and services deployed to end-user population to continually improve efficiency and productivity through normal business process changes

A collaborative technology solution and relationship are the engines that drive success.

IQVIA Quality Compliance

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Pilgrim Quality Solutions

Pilgrim pioneered quality management software more than 25 years ago for regulated enterprises that needed a better way to deliver, track and oversee quality-related activities.

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