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What it takes to succeed in an era of continuous transformation

This article is written by Scott Brown, President and CEO of FinancialForce. His mission is to help organizations build a more connected business with the leading customer-centric business suite on the Salesforce platform. Get his insights here on what it takes to succeed in an era of continuous transformation. 


For most businesses, the last couple years have been an epic ride — marked most recently by a definitive return to strong revenue and job growth across the services economy. 

As the services economy has continued to grow, we’ve witnessed something of a post-pandemic “slingshot” effect. Nimble businesses are adapting to the emerging new normal and taking advantage of pent-up market demand. Many service organizations, especially in the technology sector, have gone a step further, evolving toward a mindset of continuous transformation.

This reimagining of one’s business model is key to success, because the wild ride that characterizes the post-COVID economy shows no signs of letting up. Organizations continue to be buffeted by a dramatically different labor market…the return of inflation…new variants of the virus…an evolving hybrid work environment… and nagging, unanticipated supply chain issues. And those macro events are not even to mention additional micro disruptions that are specific to industries and markets. 

With all this occurring around us, we need to ask ourselves: Are continuous disruptions the new normal? And if so, are we prepared to manage this reality? 

Linking disruption and innovation

The good news is, where disruption exists, innovation usually follows. And frankly, it has to, because disruption can present both a strategic opportunity and an existential threat to a business. To survive, and thrive, an organization must counter disruption with innovation — and indeed, transformation. Service-based businesses, due to their capital structures and forward-thinking nature, are the pioneers, particularly in evolving to a Services-as-a-Business model. 

To be successful in this effort, they need a technology backbone that enables iterative innovation in three core areas:

1. A transformation platform

Success begins with a platform approach to digital transformation — a combination of automation and intelligence delivered through an industry specific cloud-based platform that creates specialized outcomes. 

According to recent research, up to 64% of the U.S. cloud applications market could benefit from focusing on industry clouds. It’s time to drive migration to a seamless platform that allows information and processes to flow freely among everyone in the organization. Many CIOs see this as one of their highest 2022 priorities: reducing distance and complexity between tools and adopting complete, purpose-built industry clouds.

2. Prioritizing the customer experience

An industry-targeted platform enables an organization to deliver unique, seamless experiences and outcomes to its customers. And these days, that’s not a nice-to-have; it’s critical to succeeding in the services economy. A recent PwC Future of Customer Experience survey found that 32% of customers will stop engaging with a brand after only one bad experience; conversely, consumers will pay up to 16% more for a product or service if their brand experience was positive. 

The clear relationship between CX and success justifies a renewed focus on how you’re delivering outcomes. The customer’s experience across their entire journey must be a core part of a business’s transformation strategy.

3. Achieving enterprise agility

The need for agility is never-ending. A recent Harvard Business Review article mapped out three factors that comprise agility for organizations: First is avoiding the impact of disruptions. Second, businesses should seek to absorb impact by retraining workers, raising capital, increasing communication with customers, and/or other steps. Third, once the immediate disruption is managed, businesses should accelerate in areas of the business that are unaffected by the disruption. 

A shift in mindset

For many organizations, continuous transformation demands a shift in corporate mindset, as well as a new methodology for solving business problems. For service teams, that requires redefining what it means to deliver services as a business. It’s about delivering excellence across the entire opportunity-to-renewal cycle that is grounded in innovative customer experiences. It requires adopting a customer-centric approach, both culturally and through technology strategy, to ensure continuous innovation and differentiation through both experiences and outcomes.

Now, more than ever, every stage of the customer journey must be seamless, and every organization needs to show up as one team. That’s why, whether an organization is a standalone service provider or a service team within a larger enterprise, responding to repeated disruptions with relentless innovation requires a complete platform for delivering continuous transformation. 

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