In a crisis, how far will features get you?
In a recent article in Harvard Business Review, respondents were asked what factors most influenced their decision to buy B2B IT products. The respondents self-reported that cost reduction was the most important factor—but their answers to other questions revealed startling results under statistical analysis. When the authors calculated how much each factor influenced NPS (net promoter score), they found that “product quality, expertise, and responsiveness emerged as the strongest predictors of customer loyalty.”
I’ll let that sink in a moment. Not technology—not features—but product quality, expertise, and responsiveness.
Product quality, expertise, and responsiveness are #1
I’m not surprised. At the end of the day, all technology is dependent on people. They’re the ones who will respond when the unthinkable happens.
Here’s what emergency responsiveness looks like at Corevist. I’ll share two real-life stories, then give you some takeaways.
Scenario 1: Salvaging our client’s expensive training session
One of our clients, a manufacturer, recently got into hot water due to a scheduling mix-up. (Ever been involved in one of those? 😊 ) Obviously, this kind of thing happens all the time. Trouble is, this particular problem was going to cost the manufacturer a lot of money.
The problem: A scheduling mixup…
The manufacturer’s SAP QA system was scheduled to be down for maintenance. Unfortunately, an expensive training session was scheduled for that same window on the calendar, and it depended on the SAP QA system being up and running. The manufacturer was flying 35 people across the country for the session—putting them up in hotel rooms, preparing instructional material, and so on.
Now, could this problem have been avoided? Yes. But anyone who’s worked at a large organization knows that information like that easily falls through the cracks, especially when it’s crossing from one department to another. At Corevist, we don’t consider it our job to point fingers. Ultimately, it didn’t matter how this situation came to be. It was our job to make sure the manufacturer had a working system in place for their training session.
That’s exactly what we did—and we did it in 36 hours. The problem came to our attention late Tuesday afternoon, with the training session scheduled for Thursday. (Did I mention that this whole scene was unfolding 6 time zones away from our Corporate HQ in the US?) Not only was the timeframe tight, but we discovered one hurdle after another as we moved through creating the solution.
- With the QA system down, the manufacturer had to give us access to a dev system. We had to point Corevist Commerce to the dev system—fast.
- With Corevist pointed to the dev system, we found out that the dev system didn’t have the right business data loaded for running the training scenarios.
- Once we got the dev system up and running, the dev system, which hadn’t been updated in a while, didn’t play nice with the Single-Sign-On (SSO) integration, which had worked flawlessly in QA.
- Our client did their part by making sure that the correct master data was available on the newly integrated SAP Dev system and that it was quarantined for the training session’s exclusive use for this period of time.
In the span of 36 hours, we fixed everything. The manufacturer held their training session on a flawless, working system with the right business data loaded.
Wow. I’m proud of our team for stepping up to the plate and getting this done.
I’m not the only one who was proud. The Global Project Manager at our client was ecstatic:
“I just wanted to inform you that your Corevist team performed an exceptional feat yesterday… they worked relentlessly with our Network team and BASIS team.”
Scenario 2: Supporting an SAP distribution center relocation—in real time
One of our clients, Oregon Tool, was opening up a new warehouse in Europe. It was important that once they brought the warehouse online, the website should reflect that that warehouse was available and that inventory could originate there.
It doesn’t sound simple, but it sounds doable, right?
The trick here—they wanted to deactivate one of their microsites, for 3 days, in 3 days, while they made logical and physical changes to their distribution model to reflect the new warehouse.
From the perspective of their SAP installation, the change wouldn’t affect sales order processing. However, deliveries would come from different plants after the move. That required significant updates to Master Data to adjust to the new distribution model, as well as transferring all open orders to the new plants before business could return to normal.
Long story short, we hadn’t envisaged anyone needing to take down one microsite temporarily. But in this case, we had to come up with a solution in 48 hours.
I’ll leave the rest of the story to this post—Agility in Action: Supporting an SAP Distribution Center Relocation in Real Time. Go read it if want all the details. Bottom line, our team responded fast and delivered a solution in time. Yet another great example of responsiveness and why it matters to B2B decision-makers.
If responsiveness is so important, why aren’t more B2B ecommerce solutions architected with that in mind? I don’t know, but I can tell you what it means at Corevist.
Our business model is built for responsiveness
Our business model is predicated on being there. Of course, these are two crazy, heroic situations, and we don’t encourage clients to go there. Usually, being there doesn’t require as much of us as these two examples did. But when it goes that far, we don’t back down. We exercise responsiveness, and we deliver.
Here’s another way to look at it. A lot of companies in this market sell software. If we were strictly selling software, we wouldn’t be there when these crisis points arise out of the immense complexity of B2B. But software is just the starting point for us. We want our clients’ ecommerce businesses to be up and running, and healthy, 24×7. Responsiveness is key to that equation.
Of course, we would prefer that our clients didn’t get into hot water like this. It’s terribly stressful for them, and we have to think fast. But we understand that plans don’t always work out.
The best-laid plans…
At Corevist, we love for you to plan your IT journey. We routinely participate in all sorts of planned IT events with our clients—datacenter migrations, hardware upgrades, and so on. But we also know that you can’t plan everything, that there are emergencies, oversights, and last-minute things that come up.
By the way, it’s a testament to our clients’ business management practices that these fires don’t start too often. While we’d rather not have these kinds of problems come up, we understand that stuff happens. We’re just glad it doesn’t happen too often.
This is where our cloud-based business model drives us to work harder for our clients. Because we’re cloud-based, it’s in our best interests to be there for you. When we rise to the occasion, it validates that cloud-based ecommerce is the best value on the market. That makes us proud, and it pushes us to get better every day.
Not only are we there for you, but we know your company. We know what’s been done in your SAP system and we act as trusted advisors. We know what your infrastructure is. We have it all documented and instrumented and available.
That’s the definition of a partner. Not someone who says, “not my problem, sorry the software isn’t working”—or, “sorry, you don’t’ have a contract with me, we’ll have to analyze it and give you a proposal.”
No. Because Corevist Commerce is cloud-based, we own the entire stack. That means when it comes to your ecommerce health, you have someone who’s just there for you.
Moving forward: Case study
By the way, Oregon Tool is still running a great ecommerce operation with Corevist. Their customers are satisfied, and the company is getting the value they need. For more on how Oregon Tool’s Corevist journey started, download this case study. You’ll learn how Oregon Tool was posting ecommerce orders to SAP in real time less than 90 days after the project launched—with EDI still in the picture, too.