In the enterprise software world, the number of stakeholders on either side of the customer-vendor boundary ranges between 10-50+.
Each of these stakeholders use multiple communication channels to progress on their shared objectives that change / evolve as the relationship goes. These communication channels include:
- Shared Slack channels
- Zoom calls
- In-person meetings (decreasing significantly)
The teams are divided by their own organisational boundary but are aligned towards achieving the common objective. E.g. During the buying cycle, the procurement, sales, legal and security team at both ends need to collaborate on making the sure the deal goes through in time and with complete diligence.
During the onboarding cycle, the daily users / operators need to be trained by the CSMs or the Prof Services teams; the implementation teams needs work the solutions engineers and CSM to make sure the product is implemented on time; The Director of function as well as the Director of CS need to report progress and ROI to the buyer and exec sponsor in a timely manner;
During the renewal cycles, business review cycles, debugging critical issues — the teams on both the ends need to collaborate. All this collaboration today happens over email, zoom, -some one-off setup of project management tool - and in some cases shared Slack channels.
Most collaboration tools today are internal to the org and do not cross the organisational boundary with the exception of Shared Slack channels.
Shared Slack Channels are limited in their usage and if not managed well, can lead to a negative sentiment / outcome for both the parties: E.g. These Slack channels are mostly used as a live support channel for the customer where the CSM's are under pressure to respond in a timely manner.
Some times these questions are pretty basic but because there is no “relationship home”, the customer stakeholders don’t know where to go looking for this information. Customer stakeholders try to use these channels sometimes as escalation paths to senior management on the vendor side. When stakeholders from either side move on, the relationship context is lost and the new person has to go through the painstaking exercise of grasping who, what and where of the relationship.
For the vendor, most of the collaboration workflow is repeatable across customers, with some best practices and estimation of time and effort baked in, but yet is heavily in-efficient since the workflow requires a ton of human effort and collaboration across different teams via tools that are not built for these workflows.
Updated 4 months ago