‘It's time to provide services that require minimal investment and that have continuity into the future’
Companies have had to adapt to remote working in record time. What has SilverStorm done to continue with your Digital Transformation projects?
When we saw what was happening, we decided to activate the plan to have everyone in the company working from home in the shortest time possible. Our Madrid office made the transition a week before the state of alarm came into effect, with the Valladolid offices all being transitioned to home-office on the first day of the state of alarm. Our Mexico office completing the transition a week later. SilverStorm is 100% digitalised; this allowed us to move all 120 people to home with the minimum of disruption. Our customers wouldn't have even noticed the change.
What, if any changes have you made the way the company is run, in order to deal with the situation?
We created three teams. Each team is made up of people from across the company. The first focuses on the wellbeing of our team, the second on the wellbeing of our customers and third on the wellbeing of our company. Each team focus on how the ongoing evolution of this crisis is going to impact on their focus; they are equipped to make decisions and to take quick and effective action. Each team has a leader who reports into the main management team. Everything is coordinated and our reaction time is proving to be very fast.
Have you had to change the company strategy?
The simple answer to this question is 'no'. I don't think it's time to look at strategy changes. It's time to double-down on our strategy, ensuring that what we do, we do well. Yes, we have to adapt to the current situation, but a lot of that is operational.
What actions are you taking with your customers?
We are an international organisation, not all of our customers are in Spain, so they weren't too sure, what was happening here. This meant that our first action was communication; we contacted all of our customers, informing them that we are safe and well and that we have transition 100% to home-working, using our corporate systems to ensure service continuity. Now, we are in the process of helping our customers with new services that help them with their transformations. We are busier than ever!
What are these new services?
We put together a team of very experienced consultants who had the job of building a set of services that will help our customers in these difficult times. The objective has been to provide services that can be made available immediately, that require the minimum of investment, and that most importantly, can be used going forward into the future. Business Continuity Services focus on dealing with a workforce now working from home, reducing the stress on key IT resources, and that allow for transactions from virtual communication solutions. We also provide a free consultancy service to identify key enhancements that can made to cope with the new scenario that our customers face.
What role does each of the departments play?
All the different departments have the same objective - OneTeam, OneExperience. We need to ensure we communicate, we inform, and that we adapt. We've asked our team to act as roll-models through this crisis, and that they can be relied upon to deliver.
SilverStormis a market leader. What leadership strategy are you pursuing with your customers and employees?
We are busy providing our customers with the help that they need in these difficult times. Within SilverStorm we are focusing on teamwork and on the human side of the situation. Different worlds are currently coexisting in this remote-working environment; we recognise that our team members are also wives, husbands, parents, sons and daughters - all living together with work! We've had some fun meetings!
There are many voices saying that the way of working will change after the pandemic. What role will the company play in this process?
As explained, the new services that we are proposing to our customers will not only work now, but they will also work in the future. Internally, we are taking advantage of the situation to make our consultants stronger. We think our consultants will come out of this situation as improved professionals and better people. We have conducted training for thirty-three consultants, valued at 60,000 euros. In SilverStorm, we have always placed huge importance on emotional intelligence. We believe our team will learn a lot from this, a skill set and an experience that they will be able to use going forward.
Digital Transformation is linked to constant change. Does SilverStorm play with advantage by being part of dozens of projects?
Definitely. We are 100% digital. We are in a situation that is evolving on a daily basis, we are demonstrating, also on a daily basis, that we are capable of adapting to this change as the crisis evolves. Technology supports the human focus, so working with technology is proving not to be a problem; replicating in a virtual environment, our daily activities from a physical environment is not a barrier.
After overcoming this situation, what technological basis will you put in place to build an uncertain future?
I'd like to think that we will be more 'human', taking time to appreciate the basics of life and not be caught up so much in the concept of 'time' being a currency. I've always looked at technology as being there to help the human process, not replace it. The SilverStorm rallying cry through this time is #NothingStopsUs #NothingSeparatesUs. I believe that the human factor working together with the technological factor will ensure that this pledge works for today and for tomorrow.
What actions are being taken to maintain staff motivation at a distance?
Human Resources has created a Growth Mindset initiative that has many different components. In terms of well-being, HR are checking in on all the team. We have diverse situations. We are also developing the use of our virtual communication solution. We obviously have the traditional meetings, but you can also add to this, virtual coffee breaks, exercise sessions, art and culture sessions, live music - the list is long. We've seen that we have some real talent within our team. We are also planning for the future. We are running emotional intelligence workshops, multiple training courses as well as providing for on-line mentoring groups.
Is the team feeling still there?
I think you just need to sit in on one of our Virtual Coffee Breaks to see that the feeling of teamwork is still present; if anything, it's stronger. Everyone is getting on with their job, adapting to the situation and growing as an individual. All this is possible because we work better together than apart; the fact that we are physically separated hasn't stopped this. However, what I will say, is that the party we are going to have when this situation finishes is going to be big!
"We are in a privileged position to have an accurate vision of what Digital Transformation means"
Rian Butcher - CEO and Founder of SilverStorm
What organic growth has SilverStorm seen in the last year?
The results have been great. Although we expected to grow a lot, the results have exceeded our expectations. Compared to 2018, sales have increased by 63%, which has resulted in significant growth of the team.
Where does the essence of your success lie?
What we do well at SilverStorm is that our flagship talent, the consultants who have been with us for a long time, work side by side with the new additions. In other companies there is a tendency to put experienced consultants in specialized roles where they lose contact with the client and the new members of the team. To this system we add our mentoring and selection programs, which are two cornerstones. Therefore, our growth undoubtedly lies in talent.
How do your innovative solutions help reduce costs and optimize businesses?
Our service portfolio is based on both sustainable innovation and disruptive innovation. We combine user, business and technology experiences to guarantee the effectiveness of the operation, as well as to boost business and the initiatives that stakeholders have, who can take advantage of the same processes: experience and standardization in automation.
Everything we deliver is focused on the best use of technology to maximize profit. Our experience allows us to maximize the investment in technology. Many of our clients were not taking full advantage of the investment, and we were able to change that situation, improving the expected return and, above all, their expectations.
SilverStorm is present in London, Dallas, Madrid, Valladolid and Mexico City. Its latest project is to strengthen its business in the United Kingdom. Why strengthen your presence in this country?
Our growth and direction are driven by our customers and technology partners. Both are motivating factors for expansion in England. It is a natural step to improving the service we can offer to our existing and future customers.
Are there differences between the different markets in which you are present?
It is important to understand the maturity of the market, the economic situation, as well as the cost of resources. These are the components that will determine what services we provide.
Do entrepreneurs want to go further in their businesses and bet on Digital Transformation?
Uncertainty is leading customers towards a state of caution. All conversations have three common ingredients: rationalization, cost reduction and increased productivity. Sustainable innovation is a trending topic.
How does SilverStorm know how to adapt to that need?
We are in a privileged position to have an accurate view of what Digital Transformation means. SilverStorm drives transformation through its strategy - Vision, Direction and Experience - packaged in a Digital Transformation programme and delivered through the portfolio of our services.
How can we be sure that the Digital Transformation is a definitive change?
A new experience in itself is not enough to achieve change. We have to add a component of direction. The client has to change from their current state to a future state without friction and in a definitive manner. To achieve this, organizational change is fundamental, a key component to making the Digital Transformation permanent. Without it, the risk of not reaching the transformation objectives is greater.
Is it essential to be different?
Our goal has always been to develop a portfolio of services that meet all the different demands made by our customers. For this reason, Service Enablement was created, a department that ensures we launch the correct services at the right time. This is what makes the difference.
Motivation helps you get started, but it’s a habit that keeps you on course to continue adding feats to the company…
We have learnt a lot both on a personal and business level. Every person who has worked with SilverStorm has played an important role. For this reason, I will always be grateful to those who once formed part of the team and the evolution - our own transformation. In addition, we are in a privileged position as Transformation partners, because our clients look to us to direct their programmes. That is a source of pride.
Do you think that getting stuck and not moving forward leads to the downfall of a business?
Continuous improvement is an obligation and not an option. Our clients expect us to provide the necessary Vision to achieve their strategy, and to do that we have one of the best in the field: David Hildbrand, Chief Visionary at SilverStorm, ensures that each client has the necessary visibility of what they should be doing today, and also what they should do tomorrow, a “fundamental” aspect of moving forward as a company.
And now what?
Now it’s time to continue transforming today’s dreams into tomorrow’s reality.
“In order to extract the maximum value from each platform, the first thing is to be able to define the vision, understand the problems and figure out what are the critical activities”
David has worked in more than 25 countries, helping organizations define their Digital Transformation Strategies and Service Orientation. Pragmatic, experienced and focused on supplying tangible results to the transformation required within the organization. His purpose is to provide Vision, Direction and Experience to our clients to align their digital and business strategies which increase profits while reducing costs and enhancing customer satisfaction. David also manages the transfer of knowledge to offer the best possible business solutions to his clients.
How do companies understand the world of Digital Transformation today?
In the world we live in, companies are beginning to understand that Digital Transformation is something they need to improve their competitiveness, customer satisfaction, productivity, increase their profits, etc. Clients often tell us that it is difficult to understand the transformation of the business in a global sense. They focus on the change of initiatives in which they invest separately but are not able to see a global plan and as a result do not reach the benefits they want to achieve. Therefore, the most important thing is to have a clear vision of what we want. Consultants such as Forrester or Gartner state that 70% of the initiatives fail because they are not framed in a global plan with the objectives they want to obtain.
What does SilverStorm bring to the Digital Transformation?
First of all, companies have to know that there are new structures that allow us to offer an innovative business model. If we apply new technologies without taking into account the status of the existing model, the results will not be as expected or we will incur unnecessary expenses.
In SilverStorm, we provide vision, direction to guide our clients and experience. We have understood this after carrying out more than 200 projects in 30 countries, using disruptive technologies to accomplish Digital Transformation in companies.
What tools does SilverStorm use?
In SilverStorm, we use three different technologies with which we build these disruptive solutions that allow you to transform an organization digitally. One of them is ServiceNow, which brings us the most innovative platform in the world, according to Forbes. This platform transforms the way of working, connecting people, customers and suppliers and automating processes. It is our core, where we turn all our experience to the service of our customers.
With Nexthink, the user's point of view is monitored to understand how to use the technology and thus be able to cross this information with the hard data of each company. The result is a global vision that provides the company with proactive solutions to address problems before they occur.
And finally, Zenoss, who measures IT operations and how they service and support the transformation. Instead of giving us the user's point of view, it offers us what service the computer system provides, how many issues it has had, etc.
What is the strategic value of the ServiceNow platform?
ServiceNow is a unique product with a strategic platform that changes the way many people work. In SilverStorm, we know it well because we have been working with ServiceNowsince 2007. Our clients trust us because they know that we will guide them by transforming their ideas into innovative solutions. We extract more value from the platform with our vision, direction and experience.
SilverStorm has also developed its own digital transformation strategy. What is it?
In order to extract the maximum value from each platform, the first thing is to be able to define the vision, understand the problems and figure out what are the critical activities to address to support that transformation. We have defined that vision as the SilverStorm Digital Transformation Strategy(SSDX), in which we identify the main lines to be covered in any Digital Transformation project.
What are those ‘main lines’?
Vision, Direction and Experience. On the first, the vision, we have defined how the value chain of a digital company should be through SilverStorm Digital Value Chain. In this way, a company aligns the business strategy with their technology.
Once the vision is clear, it is important to define a direction. What is the current status? What are the business objectives? Are they aligned with the IT objectives? In what order to implement the processes, products or standards we need? There are many areas to transform and customers need guidance. We call it Bridge Adoption Model. A methodology where we interview different leaders to understand the maturity of the Digital Transformation and their objectives. With this, we build a bridge to take customers where they want to reach.
Finally, with our experience we have created SilverStorm Digital Service Portfolio. A set of products ready to use with documentation, examples of data already defined, loading templates or training support and whose implementation takes place in a few weeks.
“The client needed to know the real health of his platform and why the performance was being affected”
RAÚL FLORES - Solution ConsultantAccompanying companies in their Digital Transformation with the ability to successfully understand the needs of both the business and its internal and external customers. That is the main challenge that Raúl Flores, Solution Consultant, has with SilverStorm. Always in search of excellence and presenting proposals with added value so that companies are able to develop and improve their IT processes at a level that the companies themselves did not know they could achieve. One of these cases is that of an important oil company that chose SilverStorm to overcome several challenges in the implementation of IT Service Management.
What was the starting situation?
A long ITSM implementation project was being executed and was going to finish late and with various functional problems. First, it had not worked under the good configuration and customize practices marked by our manufacturer ServiceNow. The client needed to know the real health of his platform and why the performance was being affected.
And secondly, the platform's performance was not as expected. Some features were not being used, others were malfunctioning, but above all they were unhappy with the potential obtained from important verticals in ServiceNow such as Discovery and Performance Analytics.
What challenges did this oil company face?
On the one hand, enhancing the use and improving the perception in users of the functionalities of knowledge, collaboration and self-resolution. In addition, maximizing the efficiency in the management of the ITSM platform, taking advantage of the product functionalities avoiding unnecessary developments and following the best practices published by the manufacturer itself. Finally, optimizing and extracting the full potential of functionalities already implemented.
What did they need to overcome those challenges?
The customer had to find a provider with high technical and functional knowledge about all the modules of the ServiceNow platform. Initially, this provider had to be able to analyze their platform status with the goals of proposing improvements both in terms of performance, as well as in the processes already implemented.
They also needed an experienced provider like SilverStorm that could guide them in the next steps to perform the optimization and improve the use of their new platform, taking them to their objective level of initial expectations.
In short, this oil company sought to improve their maintenance, support and current administration service to move to a global service with the same provider that would allow them to reduce costs, optimize equipment and guarantee the needs of its business users.
What did SilverStorm offer as an additional and differential value?
Providing an insight into the health status of the platform, guiding the improvement and use of the functionalities and providing experience for the optimization of the implemented solutions. In addition, we offer a team of consultants specialized in the maintenance, administration and governance of the ServiceNow platform. But the most differentiating thing was that the SilverStorm initiative called Continual Service Improvement Methodology.
And what is that methodology?
It provides additional value with other differential services. For example, Health Check that performs periodic reviews on the health status of the platform, delivering the recommendations and actions that must be carried out to improve performance. Also the Bridge Adoption Model that allows the client to bridge the gap between their current state and their desired state. On the other hand, the Innovation Program collects, analyzes and investigates the strategic needs of the business to align and define new and innovative ways of delivering benefits to the business through technology.
Why did this oil company choose SilverStorm?
In SilverStorm we have a long experience in the market with more than 15 years delivering digital transformation projects and the last twelve have been working in ServiceNow environments. We are Elite Partner and Partner Support Certified of this platform, which highlights us as the only partner in Spain to give official support in Spanish.
We were pioneers in making available to the Spanish market a solution like ServiceNowthat, at that time, was innovative. We have extensive experience with more than 200 projects executed in 30 countries and supported from our Center of Excellence based in Valladolid, where we have more than 70 certified consultants that ensure support, vision, continuous orientation to our clients and experience.
“Nexthink connects the most sentimental part with the IT experience to get a more global approach to the project”
David Hildbrand is the Visionary director at SilverStorm, specializing in Digital Transformation and the new business architecture models which are necessary for their implementation. He has focused his entire career in the service orientation of organizations, covering aspects of processes, products and people. Hildbrand has been involved in Digital Transformation projects in more than 20 countries over the last 15 years.
Why bet on a solution like Nexthink?
Nexthink allows us to understand the other side of your business, that is, how workers are using the technology and services around them. For example, with this monitoring it is known that the end users only report 20% of the incidents. They suffer in silence, since they do not even call the technical service because of lack of confidence and attitude.
How can you give voice to that dreaded silence?
We have decided to focus on the end user, because by combining the IT experience with the user experience we will have great advantages.
What are those added values?
The quality of the service. We will help them before they detect a service that is slow or an application that has errors when opened. Nexthink can monitor and search for other devices that have the same configuration, and thus resolve incidents proactively.
Is there also the possibility of self-healing?
Effectively. Nexthink uses pop-ups that detail the solution, these appears as a recommendation. This way, it shows that i is an important service that understands the daily problems of the workers.
How much time and money do companies save with Nexthink?
The resolution time is the best time saver, because the support process does not even start. It is also essential to reduce costs, since the user resolves their own incidents, even before they occur. The quality level is much higher; the users are aware that we understand them, that there really is support that allows them to work without stops, with the services at full capacity. All these advantages exist today with the implementation of a solution like Nexthink. By connecting this more sentimental part with the process and IT experience, you get a global approach to how we manage IT professionally with a solution made by and for your business.
Are there similar tools right now?
The problema with existing tools is that they are not focused on the employee side, but on IT. We have all implemented solutions for monitoring the network, servers, applications. However, it is always on the side of technology, but not the context of how the users use them.
Why is it necessary to choose a comprehensive approach?
It is not enough to make an inventory. Often we are concerned about support and it is only used once a year. Monitoring tells us what, when and with what performance applications are used. With this data we can improve the Digital Transformation.
How does Nexthink help with the user experience?
The first step is to ensure that the workplaces meet the conditions with which we have configured, while executing dangerous executables and websites. That part is key. Communication is added to it, if the workers understand the danger and the compliance. Through pop-ups and on a recurring basis, we send you information on different issues - a campaign of continuous improvement.
This circumstance allows the improvement of the quality of the service.
Of course. Nexthink also acts on the relationship between the user and IT support. Nexthink changes perspective and focus on how to use services and devices.
Are ServiceNow and Nexthink the perfect duo to continue growing as a company?
There are user cases where we need to monitor what happens from the user perspective. With ServiceNow we can control the project very well within the platform, but we always needed to understand the business optics. That was the only way we could measure, but now thanks to the incorporation of the end user experience, a more complete approach is given.
Are you saying that feelings influence productivity?
If workers are happy and their devices work at the performance they need, productivity is improved. For this reason, we, at SilverStorm, accompany you throughout the Digital Transformation process. We avoid incidents, complaints and optimize the projects we execute. In the end, what all organizations want is to improve the level of cost, resources, deliverable and time, but also the level of quality, satisfaction and productivity. This whole set is what makes ServiceNow and Nexthink combine to solve problems we see every day when we visit customers.
“Digital Transformation do not only focus on technology but also on organizational and cultural changes”
DAVID McCOURT - VP Strategy & AlliancesDavid McCourt joined SilverStorm in 2007 and currently holds the position of VP Strategy & Alliances. David graduated in Mathematics in 1997 and prior to joining SilverStorm he worked as a Principal Consultant in Detica, a London based consultancy firm.
With over 19 years IT consulting experience in more than 20 countries, his primary focus now is on developing and supporting the delivery of the SilverStorm business strategy through the creation of the core components of SilverStorm Digital Transformation StrategyTM. To this end, he heads up 4 different business areas within SilverStorm: Alliances, Products, SilverLabs and Organizational Change. All provides a key part in the delivery of the SilverStorm strategy.
We have all heard a lot about Digital Transformation. Can you give me a brief summary of what it means?
In today’s world, it is essential for organizations to adapt quickly to the constant changes and evolutions in the technology landscape. Those that are unable to leverage the power and efficiencies offered by new digital technologies, more often than not, will be placed at a huge disadvantage over their competitors.
Digital Transformation can basically be described as the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business resulting in fundamental changes to how they operate and deliver value to customers. Digital Transformation not only focused on technology but also on organizational and cultural changes.
That seems like a complex process. Roughly how much investment is going on in Digital Transformation?
Digital Transformation is a huge undertaking. According to Forbes, this year enterprises are expected to invest $1.3 trillion dollars in Digital Transformation initiatives. They also say that approximately 70% of these initiatives will end in failure...
Wow, 70%! That seems like huge waste of time, effort and money. How can we measure Digital Transformation initiatives in order to make timely course corrections and improve its success rate?
It certainly is a waste. Firstly, it is important to understand that Digital Transformation is not a one-off process, it is a journey during which Digital Transformation strategies must evolve and be refined. It is virtually impossible to plan to far in the future, technology is evolving so quickly that plans will more than likely have to change.
One of the ways to ensure that we can efficiently measure the effectiveness is by breaking up the long-term plans into small focused projects with a specific set of measurable objectives and KPIs.
But why are more organizations not doing this? What are the challenges that they are facing?
In many cases the information we need is fragmented across a number of different sources. The problems with this approach are numerous, chief among them that centralized reporting on critical initiatives is impossible. This means course corrections cannot be applied to in-flight work in real time because there is no visibility. The result? The organization’s performance is a lagging indicator instead of an actively managed outcome. The workaround involves a slow and complex process often requiring manual effort leading to a lack of confidence in the information provided.
In addition to that poor definition upfront means that we rarely benchmark our KPIs against desired outcomes making it impossible to determine if they are acceptable or not.
Finally, more often than not, we don’t have a clear distribution strategy (or vehicle for report distribution) which means that we opt to send reports to mass distribution lists. Leading to information overload where important information is lost in the avalanche of other data.
What can be done to overcome these challenges?
Let’s look at each of the challenges in turn. Challenge number one: fragmented data silos, lack of confidence in available information. The obvious solution to this is to have single system of record that acts as an authoritative source of truth for an organization’s work investments, progress and results. Unfortunately, it is not common for organizations to have this type of system, but it is essential to be able to provide a source of timely, accurate and actionable information.
Challenge number two: manual assembly or reliance on IT for creation of reports. This is resolved by using a powerful reporting tool on top of the single system of record. Where users are empowered to create their own reports and dashboards.
Challenge number three: no benchmarking or performance measuring. It is all in the planning. As I mentioned previously Digital Transformation should be broken down into smaller, more achievable initiatives forming a Digital Transformation Roadmap. Each initiative must be defined with clear objectives as well as expected results.
Challenge number four: information overload, late delivery of information to the wrong audience. Information must be delivered to the correct people in real time to the correct. Organizations must invest in technology to allow the creation of real-time role specific dashboards.
But what can SilverStorm offer to help organizations measure the effectiveness of their Digital Transformation?
Here at SilverStorm we have developed a product called ServiceVision™to provide organizations with the visibility they need to measure their journey towards Digital Transformation and more importantly facilitate course corrections in their roadmap.
Can you provide me with a bit more detail regarding this product?
Sure. Our ServiceVision™product has been developed based upon our experience in successful transformation projects over the years and is made up of a combination of consulting services and technology that attempts to address the key challenges faced today.
At a high level, ServiceVision™ includes 3 key parts. First one, a single system of record for work, where Digital Transformation initiatives are defined, controlled and measures. Second, powerful reporting functionality providing focused real-time dashboards. And finally, consulting Services to help define KPIs, Dashboards and Reports.
ServiceVision™ product forms part of SilverStormDigital Service Portfolio™ contained within SilverStorm Digital Transformation Strategy™.
Tell us some more about SilverStorm Digital Transformation Strategy™?
That is probably worthy of an entire interview in itself, but I will try to give you a short overview. Here atSilverStormwe deliver a unique end to end solution allowing the customer to engage with one single point of contact for its entire Digital Transformation program. This solution has been developed to address the same three things that our customers have been asking us to do over and over again: provide us with your Vision, help us with Direction and lend us your Experience
SilverStorm Digital Transformation Strategy™aligns technology with the business through service orientation and manages the key elements of any transformation program: People, Process, Technology and Standards. Our Digital Transformation Strategy leverages best practices, world leading service management technology and many years of experience in successful transformation projects. Organizations that have implemented SilverStorm Digital Transformation Strategy™have experienced increased productivity, reduced costs and increased profit.
SilverStorm Digital Transformation Strategy™ consists of three core components. Firstly, SilverStorm Digital Value Chain™- provides the Vision. Based on the Porters Value Chain model, SilverStorm Digital Value Chain™gives our customers a template for transformation that can be readily adapted to fit their chosen framework. It allows them to align their business strategy with technology which in turn is developed into a series of primary activities known as services, that support the business objectives. As you would expect with any type of value chain, SilverStorm Digital Value Chain™, includes essential support activities such as organizational change management, and continual improvement. Included within SilverStorm Digital Value Chain™is a layer of management information and key performance indicators, available in real-time, that demonstrate where an organization is at any particular stage or time of its transformation journey. Secondly, SilverStorm Bridge Adoption Model™ - provides the Direction. Through a combination of the SilverStorm Digital Value Chain™ and the accelerators developed within SilverStorm Product Portfolio™, SilverStorm Bridge Adoption Model™ details the roadmap for Digital Transformation and permits our customers to transition from an ‘as-is’ state to a ‘to-be’ state, in a controlled and aligned process of adoption. We align the process adoption with the tangible benefits that a customer wishes to obtain, allowing for a constant focus on effort versus benefit.
Finally,SilverStorm Digital Service Portfolio™ - provides the benefit of our Experience. Mapping seamlessly onto SilverStorm Digital Value Chain™,SilverStorm Digital Service Portfolio™ provides a set of accelerator products to cover the entire value chain. Deploying prepackaged solutions at lightspeed provides organizations with a huge competitive advantage.
“If a certain company is willing to implement this Customer Service Management process, is because the benefits it can provide are significantly much greater”
RAÚL ESPINOSA - Chief Technology Innovation Officer in SilverStorm
Head of the technology and Innovation Department giving support to the digital strategy proposed by SilverStorm (SSDX). As a technical consultant, he maintains daily contact with our clients in order to guide them in their process of digital transformation through innovation, both in the development of new technologies and in the combination of existing technologies.
Raúl has an extensive experience leading teams in projects and he is currently responsible for ensuring that the technology is used efficiently and safely, as well as evaluating and controlling the implementation of new systems and infrastructure both internally with our employees, and externally with our customers.
What is Customer Service Management (CSM)?
CSM is a process in charge of managing the service provided to the clients through a series established procedures with the objective of improving that service and, therefore, improving the experience and satisfaction of the client.
Why should a company invest in CSM?
Basically, because it allows to improve the service that is given to the clients, increasing therefore, their level of satisfaction. As simple and as complex as that. The client is happier because his service is better.
How does the CSM solution that ServiceNow offers try to improve this service?
Establishing a process focused not only on solving the issues raised by the client but also focused on finding the root cause that has led the client to raise that issue or problema. Like this not only the individual problema is solved, the root cause is searched and resolved, high probably causing that it will not happen again.
How does the solution offered by CSM try to remedy this problema?
The main difference lies in what I commented previously. Traditional CSM tools are focused on managing individual relationships with the client, trying to resolve the individual issues they raise. However, the most modern CSM solutions that we offer go further, going into the causes of why this problem has occurred, involving in this process both the solution and the search of the root cause, implicating all the teams in the service delivery and not only the attention department or client support.
This leads to the implementation of a process of continuos improvement of the service, increasing the quality of this and, therefore, making the client more satisfied with the service it recieves.
That explains why companies are willing to make a significant investment in this solution, isn´t it?
Indeed, If a certain company is willing to invest a significant amount of money by implementing this CSM process, is because the benefits it can provide are significantly much greater, not only in monetary terms, but as I mentioned earlier, at the level of customer satisfaction.
In fact, according to a study, 82% of clients claim to stop their activity with companies because they feel they have recieved a bad service. On the other hand, 80% of companies say they provide an acceptable service, but according to studies conducted by Forrester only 8% gives a really good service.
Other research affirms that, increasing the 5% of the clients that you retain, increases the benefits by 95%. In the end, the customer is the biggest asset of a company.
Besides improving customer service, does it also imply some kind of improvement in the internal functioning of the company?
Absolutely yes. Not only is customer service improved, but a more efficient methology is implemented, distributing the workload among employees in a more appropriate way through an interactive collaboration in real time. In addition, is establishes mechanisms for the automatic task assigment to the person who can perfrom it better.
All this, by the way, and coming back to the client because it is the main focus of CSM, causes that the client obtain a more adequate response to his problem and in a faster way, thus increasing his level of satisfaction and, to understand us, if the client is happy we are all happy.
Is any company, althought it is small, capable of implementing this process?
I would say no. It´s true that the CSM principles can be applied to any type of company, for example, in everything related to the most efficient distribution of work and optimization of the task assignment. But, regarding the CSM solution provided by the market, it is aimed at medium-high size corporations, that is, corporations that provide daily service to a large number of clients.
To finish, we understand that many of these CSM solutions that new technologies are implementing are in the cloud. Does not this cause certain feeling of rejection in the companies when they are hiring it?
Rather all the opposite. It is true that a few years ago companies didn’t like things related to the cloud, specially big corporations. The fact that their data wasn´t stored inside the company´s facilities caused distrust. But today, that sentiment has changed, companies have seen the benefits of not having to worry about the support or maintenance of platforms such as ServiceNow, where processes like this CSM are hosted. So. they can focus only on delivering efficiently to customers those services that offer them.
“It is important that each organization adapts its function to the changes in order to compete”
REBECA SÁNCHEZ - Head of Organizational Change en SilverStorm
Head of Organizational Change, Rebeca facilitates a sustainable change process, aligning it with our business strategy, always seeking the maximum support from people. Her main goal is to achieve the successful transformation for the organization.
She is also responsible for promoting and maintaining employee´s motivation using development plans, mentoring programs, emotional intelligence and with daily work recognition.
What do we mean by organizational change?
An organizational change is any transformation in the function of an organization. It emerges from the need to transform the working environment into a more productive one. When the organization proposes a change, it must have the ability to be adapted to the changes that can be made by the dynamic environment that surrounds it. The company will get this ability through collective learning and, for that, it is needed to involve itself in a set of tasks that encompass technical aspects and human beings. Without including the human aspects, the process of acceptance and adoption of change is much more difficult.
How important is the Organisational Change Management?
I believe that managing the organisational change in an efficient way is important because the transformation is composed, among other things, by the human element. This element changes people´s behaviour, which is resulted into an aggregation of value for the company. It is important that each organization adapts its function to the changes in order to compete.
What problems do big organization deal when they face a change?
Obviously, the problems related to the technological transformation are the most worrying ones when an organization faces a change, but, once this has been evaluated, organizations deal with problems oriented to the people/departments that will also be affected. Evaluating how a change affects the employees is a challenge for companies.
How do clients face this change?
Companies can take different paths, but as a general rule they follow two: Those companies that use authoritarian change policies, in which employees have to adapt to changes by the decision of the companies’ committee and those other companies that prefer organized changes, where the motivation, communication and employee training are the bases for a successful change.
How do you approach the organizational change in SilverStorm?
Based on our more than 15 years of consulting experience and on our own internal processes that we have implemented inside our company, we have created ServiceInspirationTM, a product where its goal is to define a project that can help organizations to complete successful transformations.
So, is this product born as a part of your internal processes?
Yes, this product is a part of our culture as a company. Is there a better way to evaluate the success of a product than validating it internally?
How does ServiceInspirationTM fit in the concept of Digital Transformation?
This product is part of our digital transformation strategy and it is based on our four fundamental pillars such as standards, technology, processes and of course, people.
Do you think that the future of successful changes is based on good change management?
We must take into account that there are several factors that will intervene in the success of change inside an organization. One of them is to define a digital strategy according to the business strategy of the company. Based on this, the definition of a change management project guarantees the success of our changes minimizing the negative impact for the employees.
“SilverStorm offers a different point of view, extending the concept of maintenance to continuous improvement”
CARLOS TRAVIESO- Chief Product Officer in SilverStorm
Carlos is responsible for the classification and execution of SilverStorm products, an invaluable part of the digital strategy implemented by SilverStorm (SSDX). As a technical consultant, he maintains daily contact with our clients guiding them in their transformation and following the steps defined in the roadmap using SilverStorm Bridge Adoption Model™.
He has experience leading projects and support teams in ServiceNow and right now he oversees the consolidation of the many years of experience SilverStorm has in a new product called ServiceImprovement™.
In today’s world, there is fierce competition between digital transformation companies in order to get the maintenance contracts of small, medium and large companies. However, SilverStormoffers a different point of view, extending the concept of maintenance to continuous improvement.
To analyze this new concept, Carlos Travieso, who is in charge of the ServiceImprovement™ product, uses this as it allows companies to get the most from the platform and to secure the continuous improvements aligned with business strategies.
What problems do customers face when they start using ServiceNow?
Customers face a series of challenges when they start to experience the power of the platform, they realize the possibilities that they have and quickly they define a list of points to improve. It is something logical and normal when we use a platform with all the possibilities that ServiceNow offers.
How do Clients face these challenges?
I think that the main thing is that clients should not feel alone. I consider it very important that they receive the accompaniment of a partner when they start using ServiceNow. I always observe two types of responses when clients hire a support service. Although more than support, I like to call it continuous improvement, which is essential in the digital world in which we live.
‘I can do it’: It is true that ServiceNow is a very intuitive platform, easy to administer. In addition, it allows many configurations in a low/no code mode, but it is also true that without proper experience you can create a monster very quickly if you don’t respect good practices and more so if you do not have a clear line of work that really adds value to processes and, of course, to the business.
‘I do not have enough budget’: It is said that a support service can be considered as an avoidable expense, but there is nothing further from the truth. For me and for a lot of clients that are using the platform successfully, this service is more like an investment whose return begins to be noticed almost immediately because it goes beyond just the performance of the platform.
Are you saying that having a maintenance service is essential?
Yes, I would like to emphasize that employing a continuous improvement service with the right partner is, in short, something fundamental.
I see that you insist in continuous improvement. What do you offer from SilverStorm to satisfy this requirement of the clients?
At SilverStorm we are very committed in supporting our clients in their digital transformation. For this reason, we have invested a lot of time in training our consultants to offer an excellent service, organizing continuous improvement in four large blocks that cover all the needs of our customers to get the most out of the platform and, on the other hand, to offer a much greater value to the business part of the business.
Can you explain to me in a little more detailed how you organize this service?
Of course! As I have said, we have created four large blocks to cover all the needs of a continuous improvement service.
To cover all those small details detected in the implemented processes that appear over time, whether they are defects of the implementation or from the product, we have a block called ‘Advanced Platform Support’. In addition, it extends the standard technical support of ServiceNow, supporting our clients in the resolution of any question they may have and assisting them in the interactions with the supplier. In other words, it would be the equivalent of the classic, lifelong maintenance service.
I would like to emphasize that companies should not settle down for this, they have to do something else to get the most out of the platform. Therefore, with the of the blocks included in the service, we provide the necessary proactiveness to squeeze all the possibilities offered by the ServiceNow tool.
I see that you give importance to being proactive and not only reactive to defects. How do the other three blocks work?
That´s it. We provide a continuous improvement service, not just maintenance. That is why we also have two very important blocks, one is ‘Architectural Services’, which is oriented to ensuring good practices and defining the strategic roadmap, and the other is ‘Enhancement Services’, focused on the execution of the previously defined plan. Both blocks guarantee the execution of continuous improvement.
How do you carry out the definition of the roadmap that you mentioned previously?
Our architects, in addition to the good practices that are followed in every moment, they offer a service called ‘Bridge Light’, that includes sessions to align the strategic goals of the company and that assesses the current and desired maturity situation and, based on that, the roadmap to be implemented on the platform is defined, maximizing the value provided to the business area.
Tell me, how do you make sure that a client is following the good practices?
Very good question. In SilverStorm, we have a service called Health Check, where the status of the instance is analyzed and a clear and concise report is obtained of any element of the system that may cause immediate conflicts or in future version rises.
You have commented that ‘Enhancement Services’ is responsible for executing the road map. How do you do this?
Exactly. In this block those previously planned projects are developed, but, in addition, improvements and tasks defined by the client are also implemented which provide an immediate response to the day-to-day needs.
This block is very dynamic because it is based on three-week sprints, where you define which of the stories of the built backlog will be implemented. In this way, the response time to business needs is practically immediate, just what is needed today.
Carlos, you have spoken before of the version rises or upgrades, as is commonly known in slang. How does SilverStorm manage this type of small projects?
From ServiceImprovementTMwe respond to this real need of our clients who want to have the most current functionalities. Therefore, upgrades are also included through ‘Enhancement Services’. In other words, they become part of the work backlog of the team. It requires a good planification and estimation on the number of processes implemented by our client. Then, we upload the version of the underproduction instances and intensive testing is done to the client. Any problem that may arise is solved and captured in a way that when the version of the production environment is uploaded later, the corrections packages are applied simultaneously reducing the risk of the service losses. And then, free of charge for the new functionalities that ServiceNow makes available to us every six months.
I understand…And what is the last block that composes the continuous improvement service?
The last block is focused on supporting our clients in the administration of the tool. Its name is ‘Basic Configuration Support’and it responds to the need detected in some of our clients who don´t have a platform administrator with enough experience, or who find it more economical to outsource this service, partially or totally. From SilverStorm we offer a menu of basic configuration actions, ranging from very simple actions like managing users, groups and permissions, to data uploads or support in more advanced administration actions.
The administration of the platform is an essential activity within the world of ServiceNow.
Therefore, we are from the opinion that the client must have an administrator of their own system, who is training with us, which will be achieved by a very close link between our continuous improvement team and this person, strengthen it, with the training services that we offer. I would like to remind you that we are a training certificated partner for ServiceNow too and with this we achieve that little by little the client assumes more responsibilities and is able to adjust and manage the tool autonomously and is always respecting good practices. In addition, there are studies presented by our partner ServiceNow, which shows that if the client has a person doing the administration tasks of ServiceNow and has the knowledge of the platform, the amount of defects generated within the platform during the time are reduced substantially, which will be savings for the company.
To put the icing on the cake to this interview, and going back to the initial topic of the issues and challenges that companies are facing nowadays, how do you think that you are helping your customers to solve it?
At SilverStorm we have many years of experience providing this type of service, during which we have learned a lot and from there is where this new way of structuring the continuous improvement has come. Only comparing the current situation of our clients and how they started the evolution is remarkable. But we do not rely on subjective sensations, we provide periodic reports to all our clients about the work and the progress made and we also measure the level of satisfaction with the platform and with the IT department in general, as well as the efficiency and agility provided by IT.