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  • May 17, 2019

A SaaS Knowledge Strategy – Necessity or Luxury?

Kem Butler
Senior Principal Customer Success Manager

If I had a dollar for every time I have heard the phrase, “I didn’t know the software could do that!”, I could afford a vacation at a nice beach resort on a tropical island. While I would love the beach time, it is a shame that often customers aren't aware of many SaaS capabilities and features that could help their business.

The “I didn’t know” situation can contribute to companies wasting precious time, money and resources to address business needs that are not being met by their current enterprise applications. When a software solution is assumed to not meet a specific need, organizations can respond in several ways with varying implications:

Table 1:  Organization Response

Methods to Address Pain Point

Potential Impact(s)/Risk

Manual workarounds

  • User frustration & employee turnover related to job dissatisfaction
  • Higher error rates
  • Lower productivity
  • Loss of confidence in solution

Ad hoc bolt-on software

  • Additional license/subscription cost
  • Security risk of non-IT-vetted solutions.
  • Time/cost to integrate or to maintain data manually in add-on solutions
  • Potential reporting/analytics issues when all data is not in one repository

Customizations

  • Cost to develop, test, implement and maintain
  • Potential block to future updates/upgrades

Too many gaps and work-arounds

  • Replace current system with competitive solution

 

Granted, there will always be something that your current solution doesn’t do, or doesn’t do particularly well. But there is a great chance that the system offers a solution, and your organization is simply not aware of the feature or configuration option.  This situation exists for any number of reasons, such as:

  • Business requirements have evolved over time and initial configuration(s) no longer fit
  • Users that were leveraging a feature have moved on and new users didn’t get the necessary training
  • Most notable for SaaS applications, is that most SaaS vendors introduce new features on a frequent cycle and customers lack a knowledge strategy to stay abreast of new features, missing the opportunity to improve the value they realize from the application(s).

This gap between business need and feature awareness is one that can be remedied, and it does not have to involve an army of consultants, a large technology investment or a huge organization wide culture shift. It can be as straightforward as defining and executing a simple knowledge strategy, which should include these 4 best practices:

  1. Designate individual(s) to be responsible for staying abreast of solution updates and advances
  2. Officially allocate a few hours per quarter to assigned individual(s) for the task of staying informed
  3. Train these folks on vendor’s resources designed to help customers stay up-to-date
  4. Hold your knowledge team accountable for reviewing quarterly net change guides, vetting features with the business users, and defining the go-forward plan for adoption

The number of individuals involved in your knowledge management strategy depends upon the breadth of your software footprint. A small SaaS footprint in one functional area could be managed by one person. In a larger footprint, you might assign someone for each functional pillar (HCM/ERP/CX/SCM, etc.) Incorporating these responsibilities into an individual’s annual performance plan will also help to ensure your strategy will succeed.  

Knowledge is Power! Even if there are new features that you decide not adopt due to fit or other business considerations, at least you know what the application can and cannot do. It’s this knowledge that allows you to avoid the costly results of the scenarios described in Table 1.

A knowledge strategy is indeed a necessity, not a luxury.

What’s Your Take?

Let’s start a discussion! Please share your thoughts and experience regarding the quarterly introduction of new features and enhancements. Others in the community will likely welcome a discussion on methods are you using for staying informed, any best practices implemented, key lessons learned on keeping net change management simple and effective, and satisfaction levels among your business users.

Key Oracle Resources to enabling your Knowledge Strategy

What's New by Release? Net Change Documents:

Tip! Oracle publishes the SaaS Net Change documents approximately 6 weeks prior to the release of each quarterly update.

Net Change Training (Free on Oracle Launch Pad).

We Can Help!

Oracle’s Customer Success Advanced Services are here to guide your success with your Oracle SaaS solution. We are 100% focused on helping customers achieve faster value and realization of business objectives. Find out more and contact us here.

Kem Butler
#OracleEmp

Opinions are my own.

#Oracle #SaaS #KnowledgeStrategy #ValueRealization #ChangeManagement

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