As technology continually advances, smart companies work to separate real from vapor, adapting the right solutions quickly enough to stretch the status quo out into a competitive advantage.
This evolution is evident, for example, in the significant steps forward in customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Many CRM platforms were implemented to handle the sales side and call center automation. Then marketing came into the CRM family, a major step forward. Likewise, adding e-commerce into CRM was also once considered a forward-looking move. Eventually many operational elements were included, such as pricing & quoting and, now—thanks to big data, analytics, automation and artificial intelligence—customer retention, next best offer and more.
The lesson here is that if it makes sense—if it helps organizations move up the value curve—forward-thinking companies will pursue it. And now that even more extremely advanced capabilities are being built into broad CRM platforms, it’s time once again to pursue moving up the value curve.
The easy-to-cite example here is Salesforce Lightning®, which is so broad and deep that it’s almost better to first say what it isn’t: It’s not an add-on, or a platform or an application. Rather, it’s a new UI paradigm in the way people use technology to get things done more easily and efficiently at work. It’s the channel, an all-new user interface that enables us to interact more naturally with artificial intelligence, automation, the cloud, the IoT and advanced analytics.
As we’ve previously shared, Lightning offers multiple ways to help organizations move up the value curve like, for example, helping to make sure that customers—internal and external—are happy to do business with you. But it’s broader: Lightning can drive excellence across the organization. With its robust user-centered design,it—to give one example—helps organizations focus on a true 360-degree customer experience, which can have a direct impact on financial success. It more naturally employs big data, advanced analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) to gather the right information about customers, interpret it and swiftly present it in a digestible fashion to stakeholders.
Lightning is a good example of why, even if you truly believe your customer relationship management (CRM) platform is working fine, you may want to re-think any decision to put it on “autopilot” in order to focus on other priorities. Stagnant technology—including but certainly not limited to CRM – could leave you at a competitive disadvantage.
This brings us back to the subject du jour: the advantages of smartly pursuing new solutions with just the right amount of aggressiveness. Whatever your CRM transformation status—just starting with the Salesforce Platform or considering Lighting – our advice is the same keep moving up the cloud CRM maturity curve.
Moving up the cloud maturity curve with Lightning
Lightning presents the opportunity to catapult a broader CRM transformation because it unleashes benefits that include:
User-centric design that is closer to what users expect and want.
Persona-based design to identify users and their specific motivations to provide a more useful and personalized experience.
The realignment of automated processes to provide more action-oriented CRM engagements, helping the workforce accomplish more rather than spending time completing online forms.
An omni-channel experience for increased efficiency and user engagement (mobile vs. desktop functionality can be based on use and persona).
It’s easier to manage change that people want
Though it’s unlikely that any enterprise-grade software will ever be “self-adopting,” Lightning is a significant step in that direction. Its focus on user-centered design makes it more like the applications consumers use so easily and intuitively.
Yes, executive sponsorship and other proven change management strategies are important to assure rapid and effective uptake. But because Lightning is based on user-centered design it is more naturally easy to adopt. The more quickly it’s adopted, the sooner the benefits begin to accrue. It’s a virtuous circle that benefits all stakeholders.
Standing still is not a viable option
Bottom line, organizations that don’t quickly embrace AI and technologies like Lightning risk falling behind on the technology/business maturity curve. On the other hand, enabling modern UX capabilities—a task that was previously difficult—is now easier than ever. It also offers a potentially bigger payoff than ever.