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Those in charge of technology implementation face an unending list of priorities, all with seemingly equal importance. They need to enable rapid delivery of vital and influential pieces of tech, supporting specific departments to the entire enterprise. They are the trusted advisors that must help the business decide on what comes first.
To maximise speed to value, I believe the main factor is shifting the project focus from a single, big-bang launch of the entire technological offering to one that instead supports quick releases of high-value pieces of functionality.
It involves a common understanding of where you are going to find maximum value. Rather than trying to boil the ocean, a business will experience far greater levels of success if it instead rapidly builds and deploys pieces that will deliver the greatest value for stakeholders.
We call this the “value roadmap” or “path to value”. It’s a map that shows what you should do first to achieve highest value streams, creating powerful momentum early. To make it work, a business requires alignment around prioritisation.
When there’s lack of alignment, things usually break down. That might be misunderstandings or different priorities between two different business units, or between the people on the ground and the executives, for instance.
And so, our first priority at Salesforce Professional Services is always to achieve alignment across teams. That means developing and understanding a common definition of what ‘good’ looks like. Actually, this is part of what we call the Salesforce Way, and it is something we’ve discussed broadly.
The momentum achieved through fast releases of technological functions has been identified as a performance driver by a recent Forrester research report, The Total Economic Impact Of Salesforce Professional Services.
See Forrester’s report — The Total Economic Impact of Salesforce Professional Services
Organisations that had successfully accelerated production of minimum viable products rather than switching on everything at once, recognised business value sooner, the report says. The faster timeline introduced $2.5 million in business value over a three-year period.
Those that engaged Salesforce Professional Services also increased project success by 50%, saved an average of $1.2 million in training, rework, refactoring, integration and migration, and experienced payback within 13 months and ROI of 229% over three years.
AMP Australia picks up the pace on digitisation
Rolling out a new technology platform across large enterprises is never easy, but one successful example is AMP Australia’s massive form digitisation project.
Amid the disruption of COVID-19 and its impact to customers, AMP wanted to rapidly ensure seamless, consistent interactions regardless of customers’ choice in channel. Partnering with Salesforce Professional Services, they adopted a staged approach to deliver value to customers fast.
This saw them release the initial minimum viable product (MVP) in only 14 weeks, including additional online and self-service capabilities. In the two years since then, AMP has continued to leverage the platform to digitise and enhance its customer experience.
“What we achieved with Salesforce Professional Services we did really quickly, with minimal effort,” says Steve Vaid, Director Client Services at AMP Australia. “We’ve delivered cost-benefit and a much better customer experience.”
Discover how AMP rapidly digitised service delivery to uplift customer experience.
The answer to new business ideas? Fast implementation
Speed to value during implementation of new technology not only minimises efforts associated with customisation right now, but also helps customers continue to innovate as new features are released.
It achieves this through engagement, alignment and prioritisation, and by helping users to recognise and imagine options that are suddenly available. It helps them appreciate possibilities.
For example, the team at MECCA shared that by working with Salesforce Professional Services and experiencing different product offerings, the business discovered new ways to align itself to Salesforce’s product roadmap.
By doing this, the MECCA team, brand and business quickly became more confident around taking advantage of new products. That vision around a technology roadmap, and the recognition of the possibilities it enables, has allowed MECCA to accelerate their headless commerce journey.
Identifying the fastest path to value
How is this path to value decided upon when implementing new enterprise-wide technology? We often do this through workshops with our customers after deeply understanding their unique desired outcomes. We map those outcomes in terms of their benefits to the business versus their complexity, or their ease of execution.
That makes the path to value clear. You simply focus on the high value versus low complexity items. Once you finish them, you move towards the high value versus high complexity items. And you deprioritise or remove from the roadmap any low value versus high complexity outcomes.
The ultimate goal is for the customer to use the technology as quickly as possible. This means they reach their business outcomes sooner. That’s what creates the greatest value most quickly. It fast-forwards ROI and opens up entirely new value opportunities that previously may not have even been possible.
Our own customers tell us that reaching their business outcomes sooner accelerates speed to value.
AMP, for example, experienced significant cost savings with each of its MVP releases, particularly by improving agent productivity and lowering cost to serve.
And R.M. Williams, after its acquisition by a private investment group, underpinned its bold new chapter with a rapidly released technological transformation.
“We initially planned to switch on everything at once, but Salesforce helped us structure the program in a way that allowed us to quickly build momentum and confidence with the business and accelerate time to value,” says Nathan Alexander, R.M. Williams’ Chief Technology Officer.
Research is also telling us that speed to value is the secret sauce in the recipe for success.
Faster tech releases beget further success
One important benefit — and lesson — from the MVP release was the idea that success fuels success. The release empowered end users to achieve business outcomes and strive for more, meaning you don’t need to boil the ocean or solve every problem all at once in order to see results.
Alongside those results is the cultivation of an iteration mindset among users. Being empowered to achieve more helps them recognise the value and power of what’s already been achieved. It’s a much smaller leap to then begin imagining how things will change for the better once new functions and capabilities are added.
Once they start experiencing benefits of the function, automation or integration, you’re likely to see growing excitement (or even a bit of impatience) for what comes next.