February 28, 2023 – Duration 00:28:13

S3 Ep. 12 Making the business case for new customer experience technology

The need for customer experience (CX) innovation is near constant today. Keeping pace with customers’ changeable preferences requires agility. For some organizations, that means it’s time for a technology transformation, like a migration to cloud or an AI implementation. A clear business case will help to reduce any associated risks and build strong buy-in from the C-suite. Gio da Silva, Senior Director, Value Consulting, explains how to show the business value of a migration or implementation in hard numbers, as well as soft benefits. He discusses the essential elements needed to build a business case that eliminate hesitation and instills confidence — paving the way for a successful CX transformation.


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Giuliano da Silva

Giuliano da Silva

Senior Director, Value Consulting at Genesys

Giuliano has been with Genesys for 12 years, supporting customers on how to best leverage Genesys technology to support their business needs. He currently leads the Value Consulting team, helping Genesys customers understand the economics and value of our technology. He holds over 30 years of experience in the software industry, with 25 of these working the customer service industry in both technical and business roles. 

TTi20 S3E12 Conversation Highlights

Here are conversation highlights from this episode, edited and condensed. Go to the timestamps in the recording for the full comments.

Welcome, Gio. Please tell us about yourself and your role here at Genesys.

Gio Da Silva (00:57): 

The Value Consulting team is dedicated to helping customers understand the financial viability of their investments in Genesys. We get involved with a lot of different teams, including partners, to participate in the process of building a business case for customers. Hopefully, I can bring some of those best practices to everyone here today.

What are customers looking for when they engage with your team?

Gio Da Silva (01:50): 

A lot of companies tend to follow somewhat the same process. They want to understand the financial viability of their next step, whatever it is that they’re trying to execute. But they’re also trying to understand the process to get them there and if the transformation they’re about to undertake is going to deliver to the business need they have. We find that process to be very similar from company to company. Sometimes they build business cases themselves. Sometimes the they need help.

We contribute in many ways. We facilitate the information that adds value to them at specific points, like providing an understanding of the transformation’s ability to deliver to the business need, and the viability of it. We facilitate those conversations as much as possible.

Organizations need to consider their strategic goals and business requirements, market trends, competition. What else should they consider as they put together a business case for CX technology?

Gio Da Silva (03:46): 

A lot of companies are dealing with new strategic goals or challenges to execute on their goals. Sometimes the driver is a competitive one. They see some of their competitors executing on CX opportunities, and they fear missing the opportunity to improve too, or fear missing the value they could be getting out of the market.

So, the idea is to understand, first, what’s moving that organization to consider a transformation. I find that as you describe their competitive landscape and the related challenges, typically the most important drivers are there.

How can we make it easy for executives to understand these CX business use cases?

Gio Da Silva (05:14): 

We at Genesys have a practice dedicated to trying to help customers understand which is the right solution to help them achieve a goal or to overcome in a specific challenge. We bring a lot of experience to the table over the time that we work with a customer. We bring specific use cases that we see being leveraged in a customer’s industry. Of course, if you look at retail or financial services or healthcare, the utilization of customer experience software varies quite a bit. So, we try to bring as much as we can in terms of the best practices that we see trending the most for each one of those industries.

The idea is to bring as much intelligence as we can to customers so they can make sense of their best next step. It’s not just, “Hey, here’s the technology.” We want customers to have a good understanding of the actual transformation, how difficult it’s going to be for them and what kind of support they’re going to get.

It comes down to comfort: “Am I making the right decision? Will it be easy or difficult? What kind of risks are associated? How are we going to mitigate them?” And what are the financial consequences of those decisions. There are sometimes, for instance, architectural decisions that will have a financial impact that’s completely different from what they expected. So, helping customers understand specifically how some decisions have impact financially is an important aspect of building a business case for CX technology.

Talk more about what you need to consider when making that paradigm shift from on-premises to the cloud.

Gio Da Silva (09:38): 

It’s absolutely a paradigm shift — especially when you’re talking about migrations, because you’re going from this on-premises technology to the cloud, where you have access to all those different capabilities. The conversation is about the speed and ease of that transformation and executing that migration. Then the question is, “Now that we have this cloud-based CX platform, what do we do with it? How can we make the best use of it?” That’s where vision comes into play.

Having the right vision, the right phases of utilization of the platform, and driving internal change management to get processes, people and culture aligned — to start tapping the technology the best way possible — are important perspectives to gain ahead of making decisions. So is understanding how to shift the IT team from managing infrastructure to managing the business with the business.

That’s essential and strategic from the IT point of view. And there’s value in there for the business and for IT. The technology transformation is beneficial to both sides of the business.

What are some of the drivers behind the financial impact of moving CX technology to the cloud?

Gio Da Silva (12:52): 

Most companies are going to build a business case. They’re going to try to determine the hard and soft benefits. One way we assess this is a total cost of ownership analysis. And in the cost transformation, you could talk about the technology components and the cost components that can be consolidated as you’re transforming.

As you’re doing the financial modeling, you have to model a hypothetical five years of staying with the technology components and cost structure you have currently, and then compare that to a five-year transformed cost structure. This helps you understand what stays, what goes away, what gets consolidated, and what additional cost enters when considering a future solution.

All those will give you what we consider to be the hard savings. The soft benefits, on the other hand, are to some extent conditional to good utilization of the software.

These could be things like having a voicebot to deflect calls, or maybe a voicebot that drive an increase in revenue-related calls. If these new practices equate to good utilization of the software, they tend to have an economic impact for the operation.

So, even though the business case may be focused on technology transformation or customer experience transformation, you're getting the soft benefit of a more engaged staff that turns into the hard benefit of cost savings because of improved retention?

Gio Da Silva (18:44): 

It is absolutely the case. And I can tell you it’s one of those things that’s sometimes hard to put a finger on. But every IT leader knows what that means. They know, for instance, that a cloud transformation can enable capacity in their operation. For example, often customers will come to us and say that even though they’re removing the on-premises CX software from their infrastructure, they’re not going to get rid of the server.

So, that cost is going to be there. But the server becomes available processing capacity, and now you don’t need to buy more servers. You can make better use of the technology you already have.

The same thing applies to IT personnel. There’s no question that on-premises technology is putting a burden on the IT organization in terms of maintenance. So, they go from having that kind of worry to having no worries at all because, with the cloud, all that burden is removed from the team, and that team can be redirected to do something more productive for them and for the business.

You mentioned that it’s all about fear and comfort: How do we relieve fears and how do we make it comfortable for that transition? Is there a typical process to get to that point?

Gio Da Silva (21:50): 

There is a simple process for building a business case. Organizations typically start with a generic perspective over what a technology could be doing for them. And then they’ll refine that by comparing vendor A versus B. Next, they have to understand how each vendor’s technology will help solve their business need.

Then they start doing informed trade-offs: What is one vendor saying versus what the other is saying? During that process, the organization becomes more and more specific about the solution they really need. Finally, they arrive at a point where they understand not only the solution, but also the support they’ll get and the phases of the transformation they’ll make during and after implementing that solution.

As organizations go from having a generic perspective of what a solution needs to be, to a more specific view, they’ll consolidate the business technical and financial conversations. That tends to show any business vulnerability, as well as the technical feasibility and financial viability. This is where it becomes easy for business leaders to achieve consensus over whether a solution is a good one or not.