B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro
B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro

Episode · 4 months ago

Key elements of professional services & critical stages in the customer journey w/ John Moule


Professional services are more than tech integration and analytics; they’re about the people and the desired outcomes of those needing solutions. 

With increasing technological avenues and countless options, people require a well-practiced eye to develop effective, relevant workflows that bring value instead of confusion.  

Max Pollington speaks with John Moule , Global Core Professional Services Portfolio Manager at Zebra Technologies, about: 

- Key elements of professional services 

- Managing the complexities of solution integration

- Critical stages of the customer journey  

To join the discussion, follow us on Twitter @IngramTechSol #B2BTechTalk 

Listen to this episode and more like it by subscribing to B2B Tech Talk on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Stitcher . Or, tune in on our website .

Hello and welcome to this Ingram Micro podcast where we will be discussing the benefits of the zebrah professional services. My name is Max and and the digital content lead here at Ingram Micro UK, and today I'm lucky enough to be joined by John Moore, who is the court professional services portfolio manager in the global team at Zebra. Welcome, Jones, grape see. Hi Max. How are you today? I'm very good, very good, and yourself good. I'm very excited to be here. Great Opportunity. Last time we spoke with Matt about these Zebra one care and visibility IQ within Zebra services offering, but today we'd like to sort of better understand the complete customer journey, but both the partners and the end customers. So let's start with the Zebra professional services and how they support the customer journey with our partners. Now here's a very important question to start with for each other. Why are zever professional services key for our partners and customers? It's really great question and we see more and more demand for our professional services because of the complexity of the mode, the solutions were starting to deploy and really customers are looking at how they can adopt new technology in a seamless way and try and de risk it. So we sever professional services and our partner community, we're able to bring that expertise. That said, for has on the global scale, with the knowledge and experience from multiple deployments. We deploy hundreds of these solutions year on year and we gain all that knowledge and expertise within our team. We're very passionate about bringing customers solutions to life. But also then we have our partners, who are our route to market. So with professional services we've created a modular approach. So our services offerings are modular. So, dependent on the customer requirements and the partner's capabilities, we can complement those in fit our professional services around it and around the customer needs. More also, we see customers trying to look at what outcomes they want to achieve. So, rather than just focusing on technology, it's about how is it going to impact my operations? What are the outcomes I want for my business? So in professional services we take it, as you said, about a customer journey. We look at where the customer is today and where they want to get to. So what's the outcomes they want to achieve? What's The deliverables they want to see and how can we help them on that journey and with professional services we can provide the different elements on that journey to support them and our partners, and we've been very successful in this today. But we see more and more, with the complexity particulars we're talking around software solutions as well, that professional services to becoming more important and really getting the understanding up front is key. It's so one of the messages are probably repeat this a number of times touring this podcasts is engage professional services early, get them on board as part of the team with the partners to understand the customers needs because actually sometimes we walk into a customer and they're tell us about a problem. They're not necessarily defining the technology that's going to solve that problem. They given us their operational issues. So we need to look at it through the customers eyes and listen in their language and then provide a solution that fits around them. And that's exactly where professional services come in with some of our offerings around workflow and design, which I can explain further in the moment. But that's why professional services are key. It's really leverage in that global knowledge also the tools and the processes and then sharing that...

...with our partners to enable those solutions to come to life and enable customers to realize the return on the investment. So again, one of the key things here is getting the customer to what we call the value zone where they're going to get the return on the investment they've made quickly, but also in a low risk process. That's where we can help that. That's where professional services are key and really help our partners to go and solve those customer issues and and problems. And, as you say, these solutions are or software based. So with complexity introduces potential risk and Inter dependencies, doesn't it? Yeah, so, so we look at how the solution is going to be adopted. So how is it going to be integrated into customers environment? So one of the services that we offer, amongst many, is our workflow and design. So what we do there? We actually bring in a number of experts. So first of all we look at an assessment, we do a deep dive into the customers current operations, also the network that they use in any back office. If we've got to interface into a warehouse management system, into an ARP system, how's that going to work? So we bring in technical experts to do that assessment, but we also bring in business analysts as well workflows experts, so people have got that vertical knowledge and we understand how the workflow approached currently. So we do a current state and then we look at one of the key priorities and then map out how we're going to integrate that solution so that it fits with the workflow. So they optimize the user experience but also from a technical aspect. What solutions should we deployed? Would it be emotion works Warehouse Solution? What's the network is? Could it be an ultra wide band network that we utilize? Really dependent on what the customer requirements are. What are they trying to achieve? So we bring in our technical consultants and we provide those through our partners to help define what the solution should be and as we bring more and more leading edge technology through, it's about bringing that experience on new technology to our customers and partners and providing those complementary services. So integration is key, as you say, to ensure we D risk any any issues that may occur. So ensuring that you plan up front really enables you to do that. Great and the speed of change of technology is getting fast there. So so how how the adapting and the sort of modernizing of everything is going to be vital, isn't it? But if you look as as you say, over time technology change gets quicker and quicker and quicker. So how can a customer keep speed with that? So you know, customers core confidence is in their own business. So it could be retail, that could be warehouse. We eat Sebra and our partners are the experts in technology and how to implement that to help their business. So customers more and more turn into people like our partners and Ingram and Zebra to say help me with the problems that I've got, help me solve those issues. And professional services bring that experience, that expertise to bear. And, as you say, the speed of technology is quick and gets quicker. So with professional services with Sebra, because we've got the linkage into our engineering teams, are software development teams, we can get early site of technology of you that's coming down the road, so we can get our skill sets ready to deploy those solutions and then enable our partners as well to our learning and training programs to help them get the experience on these solutions. So you're write the speeder. Change is quick and customers want to change, but they also want to make sure they don't disrupt their operations. So again that that's where we come in and make sure we d risk that for them. Brilliant. So how is...

...zebra supporting the customer journey with partners through these professional services? Yeah, so we work closely with art with our partners, so we can engage through our partners or so so the partner can come to us and ask us to provide support, or we if we dealing directly. Sometimes with some of our large accounts, we can bring partners into help you part of that solution and help process that. So we've had experiences. So we had a retail customer called Kuf land where they were looking to deploy a new scan and shop solution, but they wanted that to be deployed into all their retail store. So we work with one of our is sped partners to help adopt a certain software package on on the on the scanner and we used our own expertise to do the design and discovery workshop to understand what the retailer wanted to achieve at each of the store us, but we did work with a partner there to get the right software application onto the scanner to help the customer get the most from the solution. We then deployed that into things. Are About Twenty five stores in the check the Public Romainia, in Germany, and we did on site training, but we use the delivery partner to help do some of that training. So we provide the framework and the processes and tools and then we use some local partners to help help deploy some of that that training. So again it's working in partnership to help the customer adopt new technology and do that refresh and it hasn't always got to be a completely new solution. They could be refreshing their mobile computers, just the devices. So again they want to look at how can they adopt and how can they bring in that that new technology. So working closely with our partners is key because, you know, there are eyes and ears to the customer there, there the frontline people that deal with our customers. We're here to support, support Ingram and and the partners. That's what our role is here. We're, as I said earlier, professional services are complementary to what the partners have so we're always aware of making sure we fill any gaps or provide any complementary supplementary services to help the value to the customers, because what we want to create with our customers and our partners is stickiness within the account. So the more where you can embed services and solving customer issues, that rein creates that that bond with with the customer and the loyalty. You also want to move into what we sort of call a trusted advisor role, so customers starts to come to you by default when they have any issues. Because if you're looking at it from a I'm trying to solve a problem rather than I'm trying to save you another product, that that changes the mindset and also changes the way the customer may deal with you, so they actually see you're in there for their best best interest and trying to help them resolve their problems. So I can remote expert really for either. Yeah, yeah, it's and that's a real hand as a really good point because, as I said, oh, we do our design and consultancy, we also do our side assessment, so we go in and analyze the customers environment. But what we're looking at now recently is how we can enable that knowledge to get to the partners without us physically having to be there. So we've looked at how can we get our knowledge on site without physically sending each individual technical expert there. So we've developed, and we've used this probably the last six, six to eight months, something called remote expert. So the technical consult which you may send to site to do the network assessment, look at where we're going to put the antennas for our f ID would actually use...

...a local partner and they would relay the information back by our heads up display unit, or it could be a tablet, so anything is that camera. They can relay the information back by this software that we've now put in place with our professional services team and relaying back the side information. That then enables the technical Cosson to provide recommendations and provide a report to the to the partner, which they can then provide to the customer. The benefit of that is we could utilize one resource on multiple projects rather than having to travel to various locations. That expertise is in one location but it shared to our partners, to multiple partners at the same time. So it's a software that enables the information to be relaid back and then the the the end recipient, that the technical consth at the other end can then gather that data and utilize that for for work flows, for side assessments. So, and it's a great we're very proud because you're actually won an industry award last year, but but that shows how these things come to life. This is real. So we use the what primer said, remote expert. We use that in the Czech Republic where we're doing a site survey for a proof of concept. So when we talk about the customers journey, a lot of customers want to proof for concept. So rather than flying a very valuable resource into region, because it's always cost implications to doing that. In some are reasons are very cost sensitive. So how can we've been bought cost effective? We used a local resource, a local team to do the side assestament. They sent the information back, but the whole project was recognized as leading Ed do things differently, and we're not talking a few hundred miles away. This was thousands of kilometers distance and doing it this way we believe we reduce the cost by a quarter because you don't use all the travel time or the accommodation time and we use a local resource. So this is a great tool that we want to promote to our partners as well to utilize this so that they can be on site doing it and we can provide templates and processes in information on how we've structured it with our knowledge and experience, and then the partner can use that remote expert application to bring it back and then provide that to their customer. So you'll be hearing more about that. We're going to be promoting that a lot more. We've used it while our own team initially to validate and test and we're very, very happy with that, as the award shows. So that's been a great outcome. Excellent, excellent. So I believe that there are sort of different phases in the customer journey, and so can you elaborate on these a little and maybe explain in more detail about each of them? Yeah, sure, absolutely. So when we engage with the customer we're initially on that that customer journey a discovery phase. So we would say we'd have a discovery initial face to really just talk to the customer about what's their strategic business requirements, whether they want to go what's the operational kpis they want to achieve? What's the outcomes? So we would gather gather that information during the discovery phase. Most customers with new technology in our want to proof for concept. So then you move into a pilot approved of concept phase. But in that in that package, you still need to look at design and discovery. So what's it going to look like? So you still need to do that assessment. You still need to do the workshops as the design and discoveries. So consultancy services sit within that pilot proof of concept. You'd also have project management, which I'm sure most of our partners would provide, but we can also complement that. But Program Management and project management are very, very key to ensure in again, that requirements are captured and as a clear path to execution and delivery so the milestones are defined. You'd also have learning, their training, so...

...we would show how we would do the adoption. Really Key to success is adoption of the technology. So we have multiple services that we can offer through learning with our train the trainer, or we can have a training so physical trainer in the in the workshop, or we can do video on device. So actual training on devices will know it now, which is actually true, an application on device which gives you context extual guidance depending on the environment you're in. But you would do all of that within the proof of concept to show the customer your capability and show the technology works. And then you go into the deployment phase, so looking at the deployment and understanding the integration as where, as I said earlier, how's it going to integrate into their current back office and into their applications? So there's a lot of work needed to ensure that's all understood. So you'd get that or during the pilot and proof of concept. Then you move into a delivery pace and in that again we would provide consultancy during that we would also provide the learning, so the adoption and training of that as well and, as I said, our partnersn't sure, would provide the program management, but we could also provide, you know, expertise on site if required to complement the partners where we have resources available for their said they're the side assessment, but also the deployment and using that remote expert we could utilize that for our partners because once you've got deploy it, then you need to go into customer acceptance. So as part of the customer acceptance, if you want a proof of service, we could use that again, the remote expert model, to do proof of service and validate that remotely, so we could sign off on that on their behalf. So there's a number of ways we could package up our services. So you do the discovery, you do the pilot, you do the deployment and then you go into a integration deployment and then you go into in essence run or operational life, and interesting a lot of people think, but that's that's where professional services stop, because now it goes into managed in support, with which map was talking about previously. You're know, in a support phase, but we see it as a continuous improvement cycle. You don't stop with the customer. Customer doesn't get to a point and saying yeah, I'm just going to stop developing my operations and I'm not going to grow my business. So we we offer now what we call a strategic advisory package where we continuously go back and validate did we deliver on what we said we we do, did the customer get the outcomes they wanted to see? And then we say what do you want to do next, because you need to keep that evolution with the customer. So then we look at what's the next phase? What's the next stage you want to go through? So it's a continuous improvement that we employ here to help the customer evolve the business. And again with our partners, if you're having that continual engagement, you might find out other opportunities where they say, well, I want to do this, I want to involve my way where warehouse management system, but actually got this other problem over here that's burning me at the moment. So you on earth another opportunity. So that's in that continues engagement helps you grow that relationship with the customer and professional services keeps that relationship going. And also you always got to show value to the customer, show that you're always given an extra and then the other thing is our learning services, because customers do have churn rate. So how do you keep new employees trained? And also they have peaks. You know certain verticals have peaks at Christmas or holiday seasons. So how do you bring it the training in so it's easily adopted for new user? So again, professional services can bring that through to so really there's a whole suite of offerings there and, as I said at the beginning, that's modular really to help complement our partners and...

...support them and in that operational life phase as well. Are there things like health checks that can be offered as well for different outcomes being required and things like that? Yeah, good question. Good question. There are. So we can actually come in and actually do the only health checks on the equipment but actually health checks on the operation. So we as part of give again of the design and workflow offer that we have, we can come and do health check assessments. So is the network performance to its optimum performance? Is it delivering the service that you expected? You know, for if it's a warehouse and are expecting a certain read rates or a certain point? Are they achieving that? Are the areas that we could improve on. But also from a workflow, are the users getting the best out of the solution? So again, we can come in and look at the workflow and see yet that that implementation work. But actually is areas over here where we can help and prove that. So so we lose look at how the users are adopting the technology, how it's been utilized and I said we we bring in vertical expertise, so we've got consultants who are specialists in warehouse management or retail, and we also bring in the technical expertise, so the technology experts as well. So when we bring that together with our partners, that's a really powerful message and tour that that we can sell through to customers. And they haven't. You know, I go given examples. They'm always got to be a huge customer. This hasn't go always got to be a large scale deployment. It could be a medium sized customer. So always think professional services available to say mid to large type customers. That that's where we really see see a value value. They're brilliant and I understand that the customer journey doesn't actually end once the solutions are implemented. So how is Zebra helping customers to support their future needs and their requirements as well? Yeah, exactly. So it's, as I said, it's a continuous cycle. So you look at what if we at the beginning of the customer journey, we would have defined the outcomes they wanted to achieve. So we do a check there, but then say, okay, what's your next technology? But where do you want to go next? Customers normally look at a four five year cycle where where they want to plan. So sebra come in and under that Strategic Advisory Program that I've spoke about. That's really a quite a high level where we talked and he needs to bring in the right stakeholders. So we would be talking to the chief technical officer, the Finance Officer of the Operations Office, if you get all the stakeholders into these workshops and make sure that everybody's aligned. So as a continuous improvement we would do that. As as we deploy and get into operational life. You would agree that there should be a checkpoint to see how can we evolve? So there we could look at. You know, are the new offerings from Zebra that we could do? Maybe some new software deployments in there to help them achieve better, better rebrates. Are these new pay piece of hardware that we could deploy? You know, Zebra moving very fast with some of our new solutions around fection, robotics and all this great exciting technology. How can we help customers again on that journey? So how can we help them adopt that new technology as they evolved their operations? And that's where the consultancy side comes in and really really does help provide that that service, and that's where our whole mindset is. You know, I think you know, if the partners go on to our onto partner gateway, they'll see professional services in there and there's an umbrella for signature services and standard services. But what we're talking about more and more now, and I'm an advocate of this very much, it's about capabilities. What can professional services do for our partners and customers? So, although I own a portfolio, I do folks us...

...on some specifics around the consultancy, the adoption program management, learning, all of this is our key capabilities that enable new solutions to be brought to life with our partners. So that's what I like to talk about because also we want to make sure we're relating to customers in their own language as well, so making sure that we're talking about things that are relevant to their business rather than just going into talking about a huge portfolio with all these different offerings. It's about what's the outcome? What can I do for Your Business? How can I Improve Your Warehouse Management Capability? How can I improve your logistics chain? How going to make you more efficient? That's where professional services come in. That's where we bring that value add that really make a difference and it's a differentiator so that if you're in a competitive situation where it's a price discussion, how can you change it, because all it will you do is drop to the lowest lowest denomina. If you can turn it around and say I can help you save money, I can help you be more efficient, then actually you're moving discussion about a value proposition rather than the cost proposal, and that that's where we want to be. And I know it's not always easy, as it's easy to say, not always easy to do, but the more we talk around outcomes, are capabilities, problem solving, that that's when we start to have a different discussion and we get into the right people. I think with new technologies sometimes we're talking to different now, different individuals within organizations. So you might be talking more to some of the IT areas, run some some other areas and software areas. So it's understanding who the stakeholders are now within some of these environments that that we need to engage with and making sure we engage. We're starting to call them personas. Within Sabril we talk about a persona so who? What's the persona that you're trying to engage in connect with? So understand what their challenges are, what drives and motivates them, and then fit fit around their their requirements. And because professional services is very flexible, that's what we can do. We can adapt our often for those different types of personas to shore we meet their individual requirements. Brilliant. I could talk about this all day. This is great. Thank you so much, and unfortunately that's all about the time we have for today, but thank you so much for joining me today, John. I really appreciate your time, but this will conclude our discussion today on these ever, are professional services. But if you have any further questions, our listeners, please feel free to contact your dedicated account matgers for more information here in the microw and make sure to describe subscribe to our channel and stay up to date on all of our upcoming podcasts. Thank you so much for listening, everyone out there, and we'll see you in the next one. Thanks again, John. Thank you,.

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