It’s been said that we only use 10% of our brain’s capability. Similar statements can be said about the software we buy. We'd all like to get more value from our cloud software. But to do that, we may have to change our view.
We buy software as a tool to solve business problems and improve circumstances. And we establish habitual ways of using the software. Then for the next three to five years, we continue using the software that same way. Until we replace it. That’s a lot like how buy and use our automobiles.
When we’ve determined that we need a new car, we go out and compare a few different models, and select one that fits our needs. Then we drive it for the next three to five years.
But here’s the thing – software is not an automobile.
Getting more value from your cloud software
The features in our cars are essentially the same from day one to the day we trade it in for a new model. But cloud-based software is different. The application we “buy” on day one can be dramatically different a few years later. Therefore, we should approach the management and use of our software differently than we do our automobiles.
As the software changes, so does its potential value to our businesses. And there are certain things we can do to make that value real. For starters:
- Pay attention to new releases.
- Take advantage of/engage with the vendor’s Customer Success Team
- Use analytics to improve the software.
Pay attention to new releases.
Cloud based software is like a living thing. It changes and evolves. New features can literally sprout up overnight and appear on your screen in the morning. Various sources report that 45% to 64% of new software features are not used. That can be lost opportunity.
Do you always know when new features are coming? Do you make it a point to know what those features do, and why the vendor added them? Do you read the release notes? Let’s face it – most of us have never read our car’s owner’s manual. But there can be lot of good stuff inside release notes.
Do you ask your vendor how to best utilize those new features? Vendors love to have these discussions. That leads us to the next point.
Engage with your vendor’s customer success team.
Most cloud software vendors have people whose sole purpose in life is to make sure you’re maximizing the value from your software. They have titles like “Customer Success Manager,” “Customer Experience Manager” or “Captain Cloud.” Think of them as your software wellness consultants.
Who is your customer success contact? Have you spoken with her/him lately? Have you created a plan to optimize the use of your software?
Measure and manage your results.
Cloud software is malleable tool. We can shape it, and re-shape it to fit our needs and achieve our goals. Once particular client is a voracious consumer of usage analytics. She reviews Tier Zero Resolution reports, and the trends in the Self-service portal “page views” and “actions.”
Based on the trends, she’ll make small adjustments to the portal page designs. These small changes then impact user actions. And the user actions lead to increased Tier Zero Resolution. She’s using the analytics in a prescriptive way that leads to more effective software use.
Cloud-based software changes frequently. With change comes opportunity - the opportunity to increase the value you receive from the software. We can tap into this opportunity by staying on top of new enhancements, working with our vendors’ customer success teams, and using analytics to improve the capabilities of the software.
Not taking advantages of software changes is like leaving money on the table.