In my last blog "Proof of Concept" - A key to Customer Relationship", I had discussed about the PoC that Infosys did for a European Telecom service provider and the various learning's and important take-away's from it.
For a quick recap, these are some of the key factors which should be considered for approaching a Proof of Concept in CRM space.
1) Approach - Defining the scope baseline.
2) Scope - Implementing a strategic and robust solution at a very generic level.
3) Solution - A "Proof of Concept" model to essentially possess following capabilities:
o Robust Architecture
o Added Benefits
4) Ownership - Individual component experts, to be proactive in suggesting the right solution approach for the requirements that impacts their component.
5) Delivery - To manage both "Deliverable" items and "Assessment" items.
6) Resource skill sets - Benefit to have resources, having technical awareness on multiple applications.
7) Estimation and Staffing plan - To account for adequate contingency efforts.
The detailed blog can be found at this location:
Title: "Proof of Concept" - A key to Customer Relationship"
With this blog, I have tried highlighting some of the crucial parameters related to customer demo, documenting the artifacts and Infosys's PoC outcome.
1. Customer Demo - Customer demo serves as a clearance window, the point of go-no go. All the aspects covered in the PoC, including, supporting business roadmap, factors that impacts managing customer relationship, system architecture planning, design, implementation and the solution outcome converges on to this particular point, called customer demo. These are some important points that needs to be taken care for a customer demo:
a) Audience centric: Customer demo can happen more than once, attended by different type of audience, including, group of architects, sales team or business stakeholders. Different audience have different approach and expectations from the demo. Operation teams will approach a PoC demo from a process-impacts points of view, on the existing CRM or any other applications, while business stakeholders would be more interested in cost of actual implementation, future road-map of the products involved and business benefits that the new solution brings along. Hence, the demo content, approach, schedule and demo-length should be planned according to the audience attending it.
b) Setting the context right: Always set the context first. A PoC is usually done to enhance or replicate existing systems, hence business teams already have a specific understanding of the existing business processes, customer data, in-life use cases etc. A demo is about showcasing specific set of functionality that may not utilize the complete set of existing processes or all the customer data. Hence, audience attending the demo should be aware of the approach and type of data that has been used in the solution. This helps in avoiding confusion and reduce the number of queries.
c) Running the show smoothly: Customer demo should be in a smooth flow, to keep the audience engaged for the complete length of the demo. Any logistic issues needs to be taken care beforehand. Also give adequate time for the audience to understand the solution.
d) Have backup plan ready: Always keep the backups ready. Screenshots, web recordings of the use-case solution or alternate test data should be in place, which can be used in case of some network or data issue encountered.
e) Managing the issues: If a functionality does not work, the presenter or the team shouldn't panic. One should be able to explain the cause of issue and try to provide a point of view on the use case that was being showcased. This helps making customer and other audience comfortable. For ex. there can be an integration failure between a cloud CRM and an On-Premise application, due to network issues. Such situation can be handled by showcasing some flow or data representation on individual systems (a mock representation of the actual scenario).
f) Business specific queries: In every demo, one should be ready on business specific questions like future road-map of the products involved, overall solution fitting in customer's future business goals, what kind of best practices the new solution brings or what better one can suggest in the existing system/operational processes etc., apart from what has already been covered in the demo.
2. Feedback - Take feedback from the customer but ensure asking only what customer can answer at that point. It's good to ask if everything what customer was expecting has been covered and if there is anything more which they would like to see or if they have any specific queries that has not been answered. The official and detailed feedback from the customer may come up after sometime via proper communication channel. It's always good to have a one to one casual note of thanks to specific business representatives, apart from collective thanks, at the end of the session. It helps, to a great extent, in building one-to-one professional relationship.
3. Artifacts - Have a good documentation on the deliverable. It helps serving as a guide for others and can be referenced in future. Preserve the deliverable/code artifacts etc. so they can also be reused when the PoC transforms into a real project, at a later stage. Processes and solutions associated with Sales cycle, Customer Data management, Billing, Fulfillment, Inventory management etc. are more or less, similar across CRM space, irrespective of technologies on which they have been modeled. Hence, storing the solution model artifacts also helps in projecting them as a ready-made available solutions, by Infosys, for addressing similar business problems for different customers.
4. PoC Outcome - For the PoC that was delivered, customer was impressed with the approach, planning and execution strategy of Infosys. The specific success criteria's that customer was looking for, were met. The most important use case that involved developing a flexible solution which encompasses integrated mechanism between Cloud and On-premise applications and exchanging of the customer data, between them, was achieved. This helped in building customer confidence and take the engagement to the next stage.
The key parameters, as explained in these blogs, played important role and helped meeting customer expectations by delivering a successful Proof-of-Concept solution.
Hence, with these two series of blogs we have seen different points which are key for approaching and delivering a successful "Proof of Concept". It's not the destination but a crucial stepping stone to take the client engagement to the next level.
I would like to end it with the same quote: "A small step of PoC, a giant leap for the Customer Relationship".