There are two uber trends that follow mobile wherever it goes. The first is a simple fact that the devices we carry are on their way to becoming a centrepiece in the business to consumer relationship (much to our spouse’s chagrin in many cases). The second is that enterprises – the large, lumbering companies seemingly incapable of change – are coming on board with mobile at an increasingly rapid pace. These two trends will fuel the growth, adoption and fortunes of those companies offering the right services and products.
So what are the right services and products that take on the customer-focused, enterprise-ready world? Well, they are front-facing tools that drive cost-effective business growth – a specialty of mobile if done right. Right in the middle of these converging ideas are the battle-tested customer relationship management (CRM) and business process management tools (BPM). These tools, raised on connecting the dots between customer needs and business offerings has found a new life and a new approach thanks to mobile.
I’m always looking for examples of companies that have taken lessons from the mobile industry and brought those into play in a broader business and 30-year old CRM/BPM company Pegasystems is doing just that. What is detailed in this episode, featuring Steve Kraus, Senior Director of Product Marketing, is the story of one company’s views on an industry in the midst of massive change. Pega sells to large, Fortune 500 companies – the ones that can no longer wait to start leveraging mobile. These companies can also no longer make 18-24 month bets on a technology that may or may not be relevant when fully deployed so they must become nimble, move at an unconventional speed of deployment for them and show immediate impact.
Steve and I also discuss what CPM and BPM is, how they go about deploying in the enterprise, how today’s startups are leading the charge and the much-needed concept of agile deployment.
Here is a quick reference of what we covered in the show. Click on the link and the video will take you to that clip
1. What is Pega 2:50
2. How does Pega sell into the enterprise 7:20
3. Steve’s background 9:20
4. The changing landscape of enterprise and software development collaboration 11:50
5. Does the new way of selling to enterprises put a strain on your organization 15:00
6. What does business process management mean? 16:25
7. What is the impact that mobile has had / is having on BPM 19:30
8. How does location play into Pega’s business 22:45
9. Are the Fortune 500 companies moving fast enough or are the startups leading the way 26:30
10. What is the impact of companies using mobile to put customers first 29:17
11. What levers does mobile give enterprises 36:00
12. Will we see the real-world “click-through” with mobile? 38:30
13. Advice on selling and deploying into the enterprise 43:00
14. The concept of agile deployment 45:00
15. Rob’s enterprise tale 48:15
My key takeaways
Agility trumps revolution
For many, the idea of enterprise software means long sales cycles, pain in the ass deployments, years of training, lots of costs, technology upgrades, consultants and opportunity cost. These days need to be a thing of the past and they are changing to become more collaborative with their suppliers. I’m not saying that the core to a business – the systems – aren’t important, quite the opposite in fact. You still need the accounting, billing, selling, marketing, relationship management systems in place to run a business but what also needs to happen is iteration as customers and technology evolves.
If you are a mobile company trying to crack the enterprise market be damn sure it solves an existing problem. Sell to a weakness of a system in place. Sell to an improvement on a current process. Don’t try to sell a replacement for the entire system. Get in there, prove the value by doing and infiltrate. Companies are looking for proof. They are looking for effectiveness. They are looking to not look like fools. Mobile can often be used as a termination point for bad processes. Be the termination point for your customer with very little deployment pain and you will be loved.
Sell tangible outcomes
When I ran Rove we had an amazing product. It did 700 IT administration functions from a smartphone. We turned our attention to the enterprise market and were wholly and completely stumped. How could they not be interested in a product that did 700 things – a great portion of the things their admins were already doing. Right? We sold based on productivity gains, we sold based on features, functions, software – whatever we could think of. The lesson was we were selling too broadly.
We learned a valuable lesson in marketing – sell what your customer needs, where they can show immediate, tangible benefit. Once we honed our focus to one specific product that our customer was challenged with, we closed the deals. Don’t go in to an enterprise deal without an idea of how to measure and show success.
Execution trumps agility
Sometimes there is a disconnect between the desire to change something and the ability to do it. Deep rooted core processes inside of an enterprise are next to impossible to dig up. Trying to change that – even if there is buy in from the enterprise – shows agility but that alone is not enough.
When you promise an outcome, when you make that commitment, you need to be able to move quickly to get it done. Execution is picking your places and platforms properly and lining up metrics for success. Honing your focus, understanding what can and can’t be done, determining the desired (and tangible) outcome channels focus. That focus on focus leads to proper execution. Do not mistake agility or its desire for execution.
Startup’s beware of the awakening giants (aka build a company, not a feature of someone else’s)
Despite popular belief, big companies are not stupid. They may be lagging, they may have the burden of legacy and process and they may simply not be able to pivot on a dime but when they do, watch out. The startup ecosystem has always been a lead indicator for large enterprises – the canary. You can be sure they are watching, observing what is sticking and what is sliding. Their job is to hold steady, to satisfy shareholders, to do what is right for their existing customers. When they see something that looks like it will work they pounce at the right time with the right strategy. They are dangerous when they are dormant. Even more so when they thrash out of a deep sleep.
When you look at the business you are building, take a moment to list out your competitors today and who will jump into the space down the road. Can you compete with them? Can you shift your business to compliment their future offerings? Are you starting a conversation with them? It is not the ones you see that should be of concern.
What do you think? Also, what do you think of the new format for the episodes? Do you like the chapters for quick reference? The takeaways? What else would you like to see. Leave a comment or two below or email me.
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About Steve Kraus
Steve is a Senior Director of Product Marketing at Pega, focused on CRM solutions. He brings more than fifteen years of experience marketing, selling, designing and implementing software solutions for some of the world’s largest customer focused enterprises, Including Sears, Wal-mart, CIGNA, Bank of America, and Sprint among others.
Prior to joining Pega, Steve held leadership positions in professional services, marketing and sales with Cap Gemini, KANA Software and Chordiant Software.
Steve earned his undergraduate degree from College of The Holy Cross in Economics & Accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant.