Lane Nelson, Chief Evangelist
With a quick Google search on “customer success”, you’ll find a wide variety of articles written primarily by executives that espouse this value as the key to business success. And it’s not without reason. Delighting customers can increase your bottom line, and build a positive culture for both your employees and broader community. But making customers successful is more than a series of testimonial blog posts– it’s based on a deeply rooted commitment to achieving customer goals, and building your solution around requirements that help meet those goals.
HarrisData, which delivers HR/ Payroll solutions to mid-sized businesses, is one company that’s spent the past four decades honing in on what customer success really means. Their Customer Bill of Rights puts in writing what is too often only given lip service, formalizing a fundamental shift in the power of a vendor-business relationship to the customer.
“Too often, critical requirements that may not be met by standard software functionality are delivered via custom development projects that are marred by delays, cost overruns, and expensive re-work. Vendors don’t seem to care, as long as they bill for their work,” said Lane Nelson, Chief Evangelist. “Our Collaborative Development program aims to change that. We collaborate with customers to design innovative solutions to their unique problems, and provide them a fixed-price proposal with a guaranteed delivery date. No surprises. No excuses. Just innovative enhancements delivered on time, on budget, and supported long after the project is finished.”
“Take for example a company that’s looking to create a new PTO policy for employees, but finds their innovation is ahead of their software solution. Their policies are great for employees, but now virtually impossible to administer within their software,” said Nelson. “Our team collaborated with the customer to develop an enhancement to address their innovative policies under our unique Collaborative Development program.
No surprises. No excuses. Just innovative enhancements delivered on time, on budget, and supported long after the project is finished
The enhancement enables the customer to establish appropriate rules to automatically determine a PTO payout amount according to their policies, and include the amount in the next payroll, with no user intervention. Innovation delivered on time and on budget - guaranteed.”
Implementing a new HR/ Payroll software solution is another project that all-too-often ends up taking longer and costing more than expected. Projects often lack urgency, transparency, and accountability, and can lead to more finger-pointing than action when management discovers that deadlines may be missed. The HarrisData development team utilizes an agile implementation methodology to change the status quo. Agile implementation methodologies focus on keeping members of the implementation team engaged, informed, and on track. Sprints, standups, retrospectives, and other Agile concepts are used to focus the implementation team on meeting short term goals, making certain that individuals are accountable for their roles, and that everyone knows what work has been completed and what work remains. The result is projects that are more effective in getting value from the software sooner.
“We’re going to see major changes in HR/Payroll software in the coming years. We’re already seeing increasing automation of common tasks leading towards ‘hands-off’ payroll, greater information and process integration between systems. Next, we’ll see machine learning significantly improve functions ranging from fraud detection to workflow approval,” observes Nelson.
With new functionality constantly under development, HarrisData expects to use their traditional formula for success: “we’re able to work with our customers over the long term to unlock new possibilities for their business through smarter, adaptive tools,” Nelson comments. “That’s what I call customer success.”