How Customer Success Management Drives Digital Transformation 

Chris Singh

Part 1 of the three-part series “The True Value of Customer Success Management

Technology adoption can be just as chaotic as it is exhilarating. Problems need solutions. Time is short. And hanging in the distance is a promise that businesses will overcome significant challenges with their digital investments.

The pace of continuous innovation, sweeping change, and widespread disruption has become too fast to commit to a single strategy for an extended period of time. What businesses need to do is to expedite groundbreaking outcomes – much faster than their competitors – by avoiding the common pitfalls of digital innovation.

Permanent disruption brings a new perspective on customer success

Businesses reliant on on-premise technology are experiencing significant disruption. Increasingly, moving to a pure cloud or hybrid environment has become the foundational prerequisite for taking full advantage of emerging technologies – from artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to the Internet of Things and blockchain.

Some companies grab the brass ring of digital transformation. But many others do not. Why? Businesses all too often settle for the comfort of an on-premise culture, and any disruption to that environment breaks a norm that has been in place for many years.

Customer success helps create the right culture for digital transformation

After working with thousands of customers worldwide, our experiences suggest that customers need assistance in making the mindset and cultural shift needed to grab the brass ring of digital transformation. Such a change allows customers to objectively look at what advantages can be gained through digital transformation and how it can improve the lives of every employee and customer.

Focus on what digital transformation offers end customers needs to be counterbalanced with a vision of the benefits employees can experience. Customer success brings to light the real-life benefits of digital transformation and how it has supported other businesses in a personal and relatable way, answering the question “what’s in it for me?”

Customer success management focuses on three critical areas of the cultural shift:

  • Change management: Identify what needs to change, drive change with the right governance model that caters for fit to standard thinking, foster learning and enablement, and bridge the gap between IT and the business.
  • Setting the right employee engagement model: Show businesses how to effectively engage their employees, before, during, and after digital transformation.
  • Align executive support: Show executives how their own strategic interest is realized in the mindset shift and the role they need to play in it.

Customer success management can bring these capabilities to life. More than just another catchphrase, customer success management programs that continuously identify and advocate for change can help chart a path to long-term success by putting the fundamental pillars in place right from the start.

It’s time to go beyond the one-track mindset of today’s digital offerings

Every company is embarking on a unique digital journey. Timelines may vary. A variety of use cases guide the creation of differentiating business models. And even the phases of the transformation are organized differently.

Unfortunately, not all cloud providers are equipped to handle such a multifaceted view of technology adoption. In fact, I even find that many vendors have a one-track mind that is not flexible enough to address complex landscapes of on-premise, hybrid, and cloud. Even worse, some vendors do not even offer a customer success management program. This means that the focus is purely on technology, and the human aspect of digital transformation is completely forgotten.

By choosing a partner that understands that the human experience is just as important as the digital technology, businesses can optimize the outcomes of their digital vision. And this is where customer success management can become an invaluable resource.

During the next couple of weeks, we will examine how businesses can optimize the outcomes of their digital initiatives with customer success management. I encourage you to follow this series by bookmarking “The True Value of Customer Success Management” and checking it every Monday for a new installment.

Chris Singh

About Chris Singh

Chris Singh is the Global Head of Customer Success at SAP.  His mission is to help customers achieve their business objectives by adopting and consuming their cloud solutions through a guided, expert-driven engagement with SAP Preferred Success. With over 15 years of experience at SAP, Chris has been driving organizational change and innovation for over a decade. Coming from an acquired company, Chris has held leadership roles in support, software development, retail, custom development, and consulting. In 2015, Chris moved from Toronto to Philadelphia as the Global Head of Innovation in DBS and in 2017 he assumed his current position as the Global Head of Customer Success in DBS.  Since starting this role, he has helped over 500 customers in 53 countries meet their strategic and organizational goals in the cloud with SAP Preferred Success.   Find Chris on Twitter @ChrisSinghPS