When I first became an industry analyst, I was fascinated with vendor focus on key capability sets and engineering. The market shifted between acquisition cycles, new start ups, and development cycles for a go-to market strategy based on differentiated tools and capability sets. All of this jockeying for position based on feature sets created strong technology stacks that paved the way for a platform approach and eventual modernization and the transition to cloud. At the same time, much of the focus remained on these features, overlooking some of the soft factors that were needed for longer-term success. 

Building up strong data teams, understanding business needs, ensuring governance and data quality are included in broader success factors. From a data journey perspective, it is important to ensure that, not only does a solution provider offer superior capabilities, but that they have the support to match. Organizations cannot overlook the importance of how support structures work and how committed to success a vendor is and will actively work towards a customer's successful implementation.

The link between successful data journeys and strong customer experience outcomes

Organizations focus on developing a data strategy and implementing it. Part of being successful comes from selecting the right toolsets and being able to rely on a solution provider that sees themselves as a partner in a customer's journey. Most vendors have a variety of support options, but not all are committed to longer-term success. Here's why this is important - although many companies have the technical expertise to manage data projects from start to finish, each solution will be best known by the engineers tasked with developing that solution. Consequently, there may be questions that need answers that are not always easy for organizations to decipher on their own. Organizations may encounter roadblocks during implementation or development and may need help with customization or adopting best practices. In an age of self-service people tend to think these are no longer important, but the reality is that few, if any solutions, offer a true self-service environment as they cannot account for every customer need.

Therefore, organizations should always consider support and their support needs when selecting a solution. This includes taking into account the following considerations:

  • Current - what is driving the need for technology today and how a provider supports onboarding, implementation, and initial time to value.
  • Future - will the tools selected grow with your organization and will the support relationship be able to build upon what you will require to remain successful in the future.
  • People - what type of training is needed and what types of users exist that have different training needs.
  • Infrastructure - how much flexibility exists for organizations and how complex is the current ecosystem. 
  • Modernization - what modernization initiatives are being tackled, including transitions to the cloud.

All of these considerations are important when looking at support because an organization needs to understand the scope of support and commitment of a solution provider to enable an organization, not only with current projects, but as a company scales.