This is the third of four articles profiling potential pitfalls with delivering professional services from the cloud. The first of the articles can be found here. The second of the articles can be found here.
In the third of four articles, emphasis will be placed on communicating with the client. With a professional service organization (PSO) no longer onsite, clients demand more attention. The communication process entailing what the client wants vs. what you recommend can become troublesome.
The key is to come to an understanding about the “tactics”, or use of the cloud. The functions need to meet the client’s objectives. Cloud ERP’s easy-to-use navigation creates a stress free learning environment, aiding the process of explaining and understanding. Extracting data and explaining what it means to the client is a very important task for effective communication and business relationships, and is made easy when using the cloud.
The bottom line is: clients still want choice and flexibility. The PSO, removed from the client site, will have the tendency to adopt more of an “it’s our way or the highway” mentality – at times alienating clients who want it their way. Here are a few ways to enhance your business relationship with the client.
Just as your Project Management capabilities need to stay strong – if not become more effective – your Business Analysts, Architects, and Developers need to:
1) Gain a strong understanding of the client’s objectives,
2) Enhance their ability to communicate back to clients how and where change can be effective, and
3) Ultimately your staff needs to know when to push the client and when to pull back and accept that the client wants the system to work a certain way.
This last point will not be easy – as you’ll need to balance what the system can and cannot do in a Cloud environment. But, by gaining a deep understanding of what the client actually wants, the PSO should be able to develop solutions that meet the objective – even if it is not the exact “way” the client believes it should be delivered.
Systems implementations are a series of compromises and trade-offs. By being better able to communicate the pros and cons of the trade-offs, the PSO will be better able to manage client satisfaction through the process.
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Source material for this article is from the whitepaper: “4 Keys to Success in Delivering Professional Services from the Cloud” by Mark E. Sloan