Do you have a playbook?

There are cloud-based tools for nearly every business use case. Many claim to be Do-it-Yourself. One of my colleagues often likes to say, “Self-service does not equal No service.” It takes trouble-shooting and a “solution” mindset to run these tools efficiently. The on-demand world needs better productivity hacks for SaaS tool adoption, especially if your customers are less technical and don’t have an “engineering” mindset.

The typical business user does not like to tinker with tools. They want drag-and-drop and pre-built capabilities. They want speed. They love product consultants. If your product is not core to a business’ growth plans, it needs to improve user productivity immediately. The on-boarding and implementation process should train users quickly enough to avoid performance impact. When you are rolling out new SaaS tools, make sure you have established the following roles internally:

  1. Sponsor – who’s going to pay for the tool and manage the budget.
  2. Champion – the owner of the tool who manages the user licenses, oversees security provisioning and trains users.
  3. Technical Analyst – this superuser or “certified” admin for technical support would be familiar with the main use cases and constantly strive to improve adoption. Ideally, your level one support should be handled internally, before you reach out to the customer success team at the SaaS vendor.
  4. Release manager – Assign a stakeholder to help roll out feature releases by your SaaS vendors. If you use a ton of outsourced SaaS tools, you will need someone who understands change management.

If you are a technology evangelist in the enterprise world, the focus has to be on use cases, training and adoption. When I worked at Accenture, we had dozens of templates just to populate user stories. Accenture had at least 60 user stories for gathering requirements during a Salesforce Service Cloud implementation. When you think about how often use cases are repeated, it makes sense to have a playbook ready. Ask your vendors for an on-boarding playbook. This is the easiest way to verify a vendor’s readiness to support you.

Methodologies are needed to gather requirements, design & develop your tools, before rolling them out. If you are using a “lean and mean” cloud application, you may need to come up with use cases and methodologies yourself. You will need to study the tool enough to be the in-house expert.

I think startups really need to raise their game in support and training. The best way to accelerate your journey is by establishing playbooks across your organization. Playbooks should be intended for a broad audience, but detailed enough for you to get started. A playbook ensures your teams, customers, and vendors will be aligned with your organization’s goals, especially as you adopt SaaS tools.

Here is one of the better playbooks I’ve recommended (for nonprofits looking to implement Salesforce). It is put together by technology consultant Sam Dorman:  Sample Playbook

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