One of my first software marketing jobs was during the dot com era in the late 1990’s and my company’s tagline at the time was ‘moving business to the web.’ This was the early days when “web content management” was a category itself, it has long since been consumed by Customer Experience. In my opinion, we misjudged the B2B world’s readiness. The B2B world was busy.
B2B companies started their digital transformation by focusing on operational and cost efficiencies, and this meant dealing with their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) core. Amazing things were accomplished in terms of time saved, quality improvement, and costs savings. let’s look at one company’s journey as they addressed their backend processes first and before tackling customer experience transformation.
I met Dominique Tesaro, CIO of VINCI Energies at the SAP SAPPHIRE conference in May. I asked him about his priorities and how “customer experience” fit.
First of all, a little about VINCI Energies.
VINCI Energies is mainly a contracting company, employing 77,000 people in some 53 countries. They contribute to a changing world by connecting infrastructure, buildings and industrial sites to information and energy systems to improve daily life. VINCI Energies achieved 12,5B€ turnover in 2018.
“There are a lot of things you have to get right to make ‘customer experience’ work in our business,” explained Tesaro. “We do have rising expectations in terms of responsiveness of customer-facing staff but we couldn’t start there, we had to start with ERP.”
Before VINCI could take on improving customer experience, they had other challenges brought about by exponential growth. Since 2010, when Tasaro joined VINCI, their revenue has tripled, much of this due to acquisitions. The downside of the acquisitions was a fragmented back-office landscape. Before VINCI could take on improving customer experience, they had to merge 16 different ERP systems into a single SAP S4/HANA system.
“Consolidation of our ERP had to happen first and while you don’t think of this as part of customer experience, it absolutely is” Tesaro explained. “With all of our processes – finance, purchasing, sales, project management, and HR – on a single system, we now have a single source of truth. From that foundation, we are now extending that intelligent view towards other ‘front office’ systems for sales and service.”
The next most important area for VINCI to transform was in customer service and to have a single view on customer data like project status reports.
“We are involved in long-term maintenance projects and we are looking for lifetime customers,” Tesaro told me. “Because there are so many interdependencies on the projects we are involved in, an ‘I’ll get back to you’ is unacceptable. We not only want our customer service people to have a 360 degree view of our customers, we want them to be proactive and to anticipate what our customers will ask.” Along with this, the VINCI team is delivering a platform to allow their customers to use self-service to log requests and to automatically get a field technician assigned to respond. Each piece builds on the next.
What’s next for Vinci? “We are absolutely looking forward to integrating experience data into our customer support and services systems to improve our responsiveness,” concluded Tessaro. Clive Owen will be pleased.