In 2018, the average enterprise predicted that they would invest $3.5 million in cloud applications, platforms, and services. In our technology-dependent workplaces, the total spent on cloud technology is only expected to grow.
However, the democratization of SaaS purchase and management has resulted in shadow IT that cannot be tracked nor contained by IT, Procurement, or Finance teams. In fact, in our State of SaaS report, we found that the average enterprise buys 2x to 3x more applications that estimated or manually tracked.
Without full visibility in cloud-based applications, tracking the value of the enterprise-wide cloud investment has become difficult. Therefore, Mike D. Kail, CTO of Everest, recommends that tech leaders launch digital feedback loops to delineate the value each enterprise application provides to tech users throughout the business.
Digital Feedback Loops Accelerate Innovation
IT and Procurement no longer work in the back room with technologies more or less invisible to the business. Instead, technology is integrated into the business, impacting each business unit and business goal.
Therefore, Mike has identified three key areas in which a digital feedback loop can provide the greatest impact to the business. To accelerate growth and innovation, IT leaders must capture digital feedback surrounding vendor management, human capital, and customer experience.
1. Healthy Vendor Relationships Reduce Time to Value
Cloud necessitates that vendors adopt partner roles: SaaS buyers are not simply customers but investors and business partners. Both vendors and customers benefit through successful integration, accurate licensing, and consistent utilization.
Therefore, the first step in developing a positive digital feedback loop between the business and the vendor is to determine define what success means — assess metrics surrounding utilization (daily active users and time spent). Then, ensure that healthy utilization, as defined by the business and vendor, is helping the business meet goals.
Often, utilization metrics are vendor-owned. However, a SaaS Management Platform can provide the business real-time utilization metrics, introducing transparency on both sides (while enabling enterprise license management).
The digital feedback loop between vendors and business leaders extends beyond utilization metrics. In the age of SaaS, vendors must also report on their security procedures, product roadmap, maintenance process, and practices that provide consistent value to the buyer.
From utilization data to business practices, dependable feedback between vendors and buyers reduces time to value and influences innovation of the product and the business.
2. Tech Success Depends on Human Capital
Too often, a tech investment fails at implementation due to human error. Therefore, Mike recommends a digital feedback loop to capture human capital. In relation to tech, human capital refers to the technical knowledge, resources, and culture surrounding technology advancement at an organization.
Technical Knowledge: For a technology solution to be successful, the users must be trained and adept at utilizing the technology. Digital feedback loops to measure technical knowledge are often in the form of application utilization data and corporate learning strategies.
Resources: The cloud movement has placed the onus of application maintenance on the vendor. Still, IT teams must respond to help requests, maintain infrastructure systems, and much more. Therefore, time of the IT team is a resource that must be captured consistently.
Culture: Ongoing education surrounding security, innovation, and collaboration is necessary for an organization to implement new technologies. Therefore, technology leaders must capture sentiment surrounding technology use and advancement in the company.
From cyber-security to utilization of applications, people are at the heart of technology health at any organization. Technology leaders must measure and monitor the organization’s human capital to make effective tech investments.
3. Tech Leader Must Measure Customer Experience
As Mike says, everyone wants to win at customer experience. However, those who determine the customer-facing technologies are often too far removed from the customer to ensure they are providing excellent customer experience.
To level-up customer experience, Mike recommends that tech leaders build digital feedback loops to capture customer sentiment. As consumer technology raises the stakes for enterprise software vendors, now more than ever, technology leaders need to utilize customer feedback to inform technology innovation to meet those high expectations.
Tech leaders must deploy intuitive sentiment-capturing processes for customers to report on their experiences. The challenge will always be to capture a wide range of survey data: people most often provide feedback when their experiences were extraordinary, good or bad.
However, with a common platform, language, and seamless process, feedback received and analyzed at scale is invaluable. Then, technology leaders can build in processes to innovate based on the feedback received.
Excellent Consumer Tech Experiences Raise the Stakes for Enterprise Leaders
As the convenience, usability, and adaptability of consumer technology advances, expectations held by all technology users are higher than ever. For example, enterprise software vendors must create high-functioning mobile experiences. Meanwhile, technology leaders must provide intuitive digital experiences to provision enterprise license.
However, today, IT and Procurement are not the only teams to deploy technology solutions within the organization. The democratization of software has turned business leaders throughout the enterprise into SaaS buyers, managers, and users.
Therefore, Mike believes technology is moving from a waterfall to an agile approach: everyone, from customers to employees, are empowered to influence the direction of advancement of tech products or services.
Under an agile framework, Mike’s digital feedback loops become necessary in containing and cultivating valuable technology investments throughout the organization. By capturing user experience at scale, organizations can better select and build the technologies that meet the high expectations employees and customers hold.
Cloud Migration Enables Faster Deployment of Digital Feedback Loops
With technology touching every part of the business, technology leaders rely on feedback derived at large scale to drive value. Therefore, technology leaders must prioritize the creation of digital feedback loops that are intuitive and informative.
However, the production of a digital feedback loop is often case-by-case. With a SaaS System of Record, full visibility into all technology can help an organization scope out the needs to begin development.
Fortunately, the availability of application APIs and primarily cloud-based ecosystems accelerate the production to build or integrate digital feedback loops. Furthermore, as the trend of System of Engagement proliferates, vendors will likely build digital feedback loops into their products and services.
Modernize with Digital Feedback Loops
Modern teams and products are built on continual feedback: feedback is even cited as a team’s most valuable asset. As technology becomes ever more integrated into business practices and objectives, technology leaders must make digital feedback loops commonplace in their organization.