The option to access remote technical support for the implementation of complex systems such as CRM, accounting, ERP, supply chain, project management, and advertising management software is relatively new, a post-2000 phenomenon.
Thanks to key technological advancements over the past decade including the increase in accessible and cheap Internet along with the creation and introduction of easy-to-use tools, the possibility of remote implementation has become a viable option for many companies.
With the popularity of remote implementation dramatically increasing over the past number of years, it is evident that remote could be a suitable alternative for many companies looking to deploy new software.
Julian Ahrends, Managing Director of ADvendio, has 15+ years of experience in consulting and Salesforce expertise. With his key focus for ADvendio being Technical Account Management and Pre-Sales, Julian works closely with all our customers to ensure successful implementations and go-lives both onsite and remotely within the most efficient time frame possible.
We spoke with Julian to discuss his thoughts on remote implementation, the processes involved, why this is a preferred option over standard implementation, key benefits for customers and his opinion on why we will see an increase in remote implementation in the future.
1. Can you give us a brief description of remote implementation for those who may be unfamiliar?
While an implementation encompasses all the post-sale processes involved in something operating properly in its environment including analysis, configuration customization and much more. Remote implementation is essentially what it says in its name: an implementation conducted remotely or from afar.
Remote implementation allows companies the ability to implement software internally without the dependency for the vendor to be onsite throughout the implementation process but rather that they can guide customers remotely using the necessary tools.
2. What experience has ADvendio conducting remote implementations?
With ADvendio operating globally with customers in more than 25+ countries worldwide, remote implementation and aspects of remote implementation have been a crucial part of ADvendio’s process for a number of years.
For many of the customers, we take the approach to begin with an initial kick-off meeting on-site, if applicable, followed by conducting the remaining stages of the project remotely. For the past number of years, ADvendio has conducted both the administration and end-user training remotely.
With global offices and a highly distributed workforce, ADvendio frequently works remotely therefore during this global coronavirus pandemic, ADvendio has continued to operate as normal in delivering high levels of performance, availability, support, and security to our customers.
3. What are the reasons why companies may choose to undertake a remote implementation rather than a conventional on-premise implementation?
There are many reasons why a company may choose to undertake a remote implementation with ADvendio rather than a standard implementation although this will ultimately depend on each company’s requirements and available resources.
With that being said, a number of reasons include:
Available Internal Resources
Companies may have Internal resources currently available with the required experience in advertising systems and/or Salesforce to initiate the implementation while utilizing the guidance and expertise from ADvendio remotely.
Achieve Operational Independence
Many organizations may prefer a remote option in order to achieve independence in operations and daily business.
In-depth Knowledge of ADvendio
By conducting a remote implementation and utilizing internal resources it provides organizations with a stronger and in-depth knowledge of their ADvendio solution.
Local vendors may not fit the requirements of customers and therefore by introducing remote vendors provides greater opportunities for a more suitable vendor to assist with specific implementation requirements.
4. What is the process involved in a remote implementation?
The process of a remote implementation is very similar to a standard implementation but rather than hosting on-site visits, a combination of email, regular check-in phone calls, screen sharing, video conferencing and online project management software are used as invaluable tools throughout the entire process from selection to implementation.
Firstly, the steps and teams involved in the process are established along with an implementation time frame in order to have a structured plan in place. Frequent weekly check-in meetings are also crucial throughout the entire process to monitor progress.
The ADvendio process has many steps involved including a discovery workshop in order to scope and establish a functional design for the customer along with establishing project management for defining a working package. ADvendio assigns a Technical Account Manager and eventually a development team if customization is required to work through the various packages with regular remote workshops. Customers then begin to take a step by step approach to the integration of all parts of ADvendio with constant support and assistance from the ADvendio team. In parallel consulting and development of additional interfaces and integrations are provided by ADvendio followed by user training and eventually an official go-live.
5. Regarding remote implementations, who is responsible for each project deliverable?
Knowledge sharing, in-depth training, best practice tips, and consultation are key elements provided by ADvendio prior to and during an implementation project.
Throughout a remote implementation project, requirement gathering, functional design, configuration, project management, user set-up, data migration, integrations and project management are typically conducted by customers, while the ADvendio are constantly on hand to offer any support required by a customer. But of course, ADvendio can also take over these tasks during the project.
6. What resources and support are available to companies undertaking a remote implementation with ADvendio?
ADvendio offers complete support to customers throughout the entire implementation project whether it is conducted on-site or offsite. Resources provided by ADvendio include dedicated personnel such as Senior Technical Account Managers, Architects, Developers, Project Managers, and Customer Success Managers all of whom are experienced in remote projects. Due to our diverse workforce, ADvendio can work successfully across various time zones.
Additionally, ADvendio offers personalized training sessions and individual sessions based on subject matter requested by customers and Salesforce expertise along with access to our internal knowledge bases.
7. What are the key benefits a remote implementation offers over a standard implementation?
ADvendio’s standard implementation for all customers tends to be a mix of both on-site and remote assistance with the majority of activities conducted remotely. The key benefits of this approach include:
Conducting implementations remotely enables companies to be more cost-effective by saving both travel costs and reducing operational costs.
Operating remotely provides the team with more flexibility regarding time frames allowing for more efficient time management for both planning and scheduling.
It is important to stay agile while working on an implementation to ensure that specific customer requirements are constantly met in a timely manner. Due to geographical factors such as time differences, requirements could be discussed in a check-in meeting in the afternoon and actioned immediately so that when the customer returns online the next day requirements have been resolved and met.
Rapid Decision Making
As communication is conducted online using various tools such as customer support, ADvendio offers consumers rapid responses to any questions or queries they may have. This is highly beneficial for organizations rather than having to wait for the next onsite visit to answer any questions.
8. In your opinion, what are the key factors for a successful implementation?
From working with customers over the years both on-site and remotely there are a number of factors that are crucial in order to achieve a successful implementation with satisfied customers.
Prior to undertaking an implementation, all required project roles must be identified, along with an internal driver for the project, the required change management, and a well-defined and prioritized project scope to ensure alignment for both ADvendio and the client.
To ensure successful implementation three key factors are required. Firstly a clear strategy must be identified in order to ensure complete alignment with regards to tasks, training, timelines, resource and project management. Secondly strong communication between both parties in order to collaborate effectively and efficiently. This can be achieved with regular check-in meetings scheduled on a daily or weekly basis, and finally, access to functional toolsets are essential for remote projects in order to ensure operational efficiency and fast decision making.
ADvendio has successfully worked with a number of media companies to remotely implement ADvendio for publishers, advertisers and agencies to streamline their advertising management for all advertising transactions. Current customers of ADvendio who undertook remote implementations include CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, a national public broadcaster for both television and radio along with Expat Living, a print and digital magazine publisher located in Singapore and HongKong who work with more than 300 advertisers every month.
Colin Purchase, Chief Financial Officer of Expat Living was delighted with the remote implementation and highlighted that,
Launching ADvendio’s advertising management solution has helped us to improve the productivity and efficiency of our print and digital advertising business. Thanks to their product flexibility remote implementation was possible with our in-house CRM manager properly assisted throughout the process.