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Companies that excel in digital transformation understand the importance of moving quickly in today’s fast-paced, highly connected business environment. But simply moving faster in everything you do isn’t the best way forward. Organizations must create a digital transformation strategy that focuses on accelerating four key areas: the implementation, adoption, alignment, and change stages. Katherine Kostereva, CEO and Managing Partner of bpm’online, joined David Myron, Chief Evangelist at bpm’online, to explain how organizations can accelerate these four key CRM stages.
David Myron: What’s happening today that’s requiring organizations to accelerate the pace at which they operate?
Katherine Kostereva: Technology has become a great equalizer, enabling companies to enter and disrupt industries quickly. So, organizations must be able to recognize and stay ahead of any disruptions, which means they must be smarter and faster to succeed.
David Myron: Can you give an example of how technology is becoming “a great equalizer”?
Katherine Kostereva: Sure. Kickstarter created a global crowdfunding platform nine years ago. Back then, it took more than 100 days for a startup company to collect $1 million. Today, a startup can collect $1 million dollars on Kickstarter in just three days! This really lowers the barrier to entry for companies in any industry.
David Myron: Younger companies likely understand how quickly business can be disrupted, but it must be challenging for very large and already successful companies to change the way they do business.
Katherine Kostereva: Yes, it is more challenging, because it requires a systemic change in the organization. It’s like changing the company’s DNA, which is a complicated task. But even large and successful companies can change. Netflix, which was founded in 1997, started out renting DVDs to customers but, in 2006, it completely changed its business strategy when it transitioned to an online streaming model. Additionally, in 2011, Netflix made another substantial change when it started producing original television series. These are incredible shifts in its business strategy that have helped Netflix propel its revenue to more than $11 billion today.
David Myron: You mentioned that organizations today must be smarter and faster to succeed. What advice do you have for companies of any age and success level regarding how they can accelerate their IT business initiatives?
Katherine Kostereva: To compete today, organizations must create a digital transformation strategy—one that enables them to quickly adapt to changing client needs, company needs, competitive threats, and industry trends.
David Myron: What’s involved in that digital transformation strategy?
Katherine Kostereva: CRM is an integral part of any company’s digital transformation strategy. Because sales, marketing, and customer service professionals are interacting with customers and prospects over more digital channels, enabling organizations to collect much more behavioral data than ever before, CRM is even more critical to their success. The most successful companies recognize that CRM, today, requires the acceleration of four key pillars of digital transformation—the implementation, adoption, alignment, and change stages. We believe in this so strongly at bpm’online that our mission is to help organizations accelerate the successful completion of these four pillars of the digital transformation lifecycle.
David Myron: What advice can you offer companies that are looking to accelerate the implementation stage?
Katherine Kostereva: It’s all about accelerating growth in digital business. So, when selecting a CRM system, organizations must look for a CRM solution that offers the full suite of CRM capabilities right out of the box for sales, marketing, and customer service professionals.
Organizations should also look for a CRM software system that gives them the flexibility to deploy a cloud-based solution or an on-premises CRM system. Yes, hosting is popular for very good reasons, but some organizations still want or need to keep the data in-house. For these companies, an on-premises CRM solution is best.
Additionally, look for a CRM vendor that can extend the functionality of its CRM system with a marketplace that offers ready-to-go applications, templates, and connectors that can be installed without any additional hardware required. This will enable you to recognize business benefits right away.
David Myron: How can companies accelerate the adoption stage?
Katherine Kostereva: There are two key areas to focus on here: First is that the user interface must be user friendly and easy to use. Second is that the system must engage them with artificial intelligence, suggesting next best actions. A CRM system that can accomplish these two things will accelerate user adoption.
David Myron: Can you explain what you mean by the alignment stage and how can it be accelerated?
Katherine Kostereva: Many organizations have multiple systems that collect customer data. So, it’s necessary to make sure those systems are integrated so that sales, marketing, and customer service data can be shared across departments. Once this is done, and employees have access to all of the necessary customer data within and across departments, they can quickly make smarter decisions that benefit the company and customers.
David Myron: What about the change stage? Can you explain this and how it be accelerated, as well?
Katherine Kostereva: To be responsive to changing customer and business needs, companies are often adding, removing, and improving automated business processes. However, professional developers are in short supply, so the most effective way to address this is to have a CRM system that is built on top of a unified, low-code platform. This enables professional developers and non-professional developers, or citizen developers, to create and modify business processes. By providing a platform for citizen developers to work, organizations can significantly accelerate the change stage. And I’m happy to say that bpm’online’s CRM system and low-code BPM platform offers all of these capabilities.