The current challenging times have taught businesses the world over to re-engineer their operating models. For Software AG, we started with adapting our customer engagement process, replacing the traditional face-to-face meetings with video conferencing, social distancing is, of course, paramount. This is also true for our internal team meetings; employee safety is our focus in these challenging times, with almost the entire workforce working from home. We also have informal online coffee sessions, sharing lighter moments as is normal, no work agenda here. It is important that our team members don’t lose their sense of belonging to the larger group.
The other aspect of our business that has significantly changed are the customer demos and Proof of Concept sessions where we demonstrate our product and solutions. These were primarily in-person sessions, on ours or the clients’ premises. However, to our advantage, 25% of these meetings were already online only and we were quick and agile enough to rapidly convert this into a fully online and remote process. There were some customer network security clearances issues to be dealt with, but none of our project timelines were severely impacted, despite these minor delays in process alteration.
On the marketing front, while digital has always been our primary channel, we have transformed all in-person events to digital ones, either led by us or through collaboration, such as the recently sponsored IDC webinar. Moreover, we’ve further amplified our digital strategy and extended our outreach through digital platforms such as LinkedIn, by building robust campaigns for deeper customer conversations and increased brand awareness.
In a nutshell, we are comprehensively addressing all our communities and stakeholders through digital channels across all aspects of our businesses, accurately targeting our audiences through a focused communication approach.
Countering external challenges
In addition to mobilising and converting our sales and marketing models into 100% remote, as mentioned above, we have equipped our teams with all the professional tools required to carry out their responsibilities smoothly and efficiently from the comfort of their homes. Moreover, we have also developed healthcare solutions specifically targeting this region, to support authorities and organisations in dealing with these unusual times.
Lastly, we are also offering one of our key solutions, ARIS, which aids organisations in their business process analysis and management, for free during the crisis. This includes a library of short tutorials, demonstrations and recorded webinars designed to cover the technology’s purpose and benefits, how to use key features and examples of practical use. This is available to all customers, partners and prospects.
We are witnessing accelerated demand in data integration solutions for increased interoperability at the organisational level supporting giving more accurate decisions based on all available data. Moreover, we’ve also realised the urgent need for organisations to hire experts with hands-on experience in planning, implementing and maintaining business continuity. This is another area where we have witnessed a steep surge in demand. These solutions allow businesses to focus on business resilience and the much-needed evolution in processes to keep businesses running. The above are only a few highlights; there are several others that include monitoring, analysis and risk prioritisation tools for customers to take advantage of.
Recommendations for managing challenging environments
From an overarching point of view, I would urge every individual to see life and work beyond Covid-19; and aim towards gearing up for life after the crisis.
On the customer front, adapting to digital or remote ways of doing business is not a choice and is radically altering everyone’s daily experiences. Technological readiness is vital and continuously evolving in the space as customer demand continues to evolve. The accelerated pace of change is what will drive business agility and flexibility in future, to be able to respond to customers rapidly. Planning for the future of a digital ecosystem to meet these new normal standards is imperative for all businesses. A key tip however is, don’t forget to infuse your virtual experiences with a human touch.
From the internal business aspect of employees working from home, the rapid rise of digital teleconferencing tools is supporting the new work culture. Having said that, organisations need to constantly reassess the impact of remote working and reengineer processes and requirements for seamless employee and customer interaction.
By Rami Kichli, Vice President, Software AG, Gulf and Levant.