Alex Krug: So, before we jump in too far, tell us a little bit about Indeavor?
Brad Jones : Simply put, Indeavor provides labor optimization solutions for complex enterprises. We redefine the employee experience through a human-centric, mobile experience while serving as a foothold in an often disconnected, less historically agile workforce management ecosystem.
We deliver to an underserved market with large problems – transparency, optimization and operational efficiencies, in the way organizations plan and schedule their workforce. If you are a 24/7 shift-based environment, have highly paid skilled labor or are driven by critical governing rules – our tool automates, optimizes and provides visibility of key data from the enterprise to local facility levels.
Most critically, we serve an incredible user base, foundational to our local and global economies; primarily delivering to manufacturers, government agencies and energy sectors. Our customers make this job for me. The resiliency they have shown throughout this recent volatility has been nothing short of incredible.
We love to hear about various SaaS companies and implementations — tell us how Indeavor approaches its implementation process.
Automation gets thrown around a lot. Automation is great and an enormous value driver for us, but our purest focus, when we implement, is to gain a deep understanding of the full application ecosystem, foundational business processes and key workflows that drive our user’s day to day.
Once this is identified, we optimize the enterprise environment through integration, standardization and other efficiencies. Most importantly, these aren’t always in the context of our product. I’ve always been inspired by the classic Steve Jobs quote, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.” We strive towards this in every interaction. We have a great product, but equally as important – we are experts in labor planning and experts in how to realize immediate and sustainable value through the use of technology. We will fly that flag all day and wherever possible pursue value driving process re-engineering for sustainable value.
Oftentimes, our tool requires a paradigm shift for the pure end-users, so change management becomes a critical cog in our delivery wheel as well.
Digging a little deeper on that, let's talk about what makes a great implementation at Indeavor and what makes one that's, well, not so great.
A good implementation means we provide quick value, achieve adoption and a connected experience for the workforce. A GREAT implementation transforms the way labor planning and optimization is achieved while maintaining the right balance of standardization and configuration. We always strive for GREAT within the confines of a healthy balance of business and customer objectives.
What makes it GREAT goes back to blocking and tackling; the fundamentals. Appropriate identification of Roles & Responsibilities, aligned governance structures, appropriate communication and aligned scope. In many cases we can achieve GREAT over time through a crawl-walk-run approach as customers mature with our broader CS team.
Let's talk CS team building: What do you look for in hiring for your implementation team?
Our company as a whole is unapologetically inspired by growth and maintains a maniacal focus towards our customers. Things move fast, sometimes priorities change, there’s a dash of chaos – and we love it. Finding people that are excited about this journey is critical.
We’re also looking for people that are comfortable in ambiguity, relentless learners and unafraid to fail. Cultural fit is equally as important, we strive for a bottom-up culture – so ensuring this alignment is crucial. We aren’t sleeping at the office – quite the opposite, but delivery is hard. There is an absolute benefit to ensure the teams have diversity and enjoy each other.
Generally, in the category of SaaS implementation...what's on your mind these days?
We don’t often deliver our tool to other growth organizations. Our customers are generally large, global enterprises with Operational, HR and IT practices deeply rooted in historical practice – in many cases defined by legacy, on-prem systems. My mind is consumed with how we effectively manage change, both in the paradigm shifting solutions we are implementing and the enterprise teams we are working with.
Finding the balance of the right internal pressure for product/tech initiatives, and the right external pressure towards our customer’s growth mindset is a difficult order. Finding where to draw that line, and constantly advancing it is critical. Something we are chipping away every day. Ultimately it’s leadership’s job to never lose sight of the future – but still have go-live dates to hit in the interim!
Additionally, how do we find great people, inspired by growth, and streamline speed-to-value. It’s on anyone’s mind in our seat.
When we talk to CS experienced folks like yourself we can't resist asking the following: Without naming brand names, what was your worst career implementation project?
Ha – great question. I have to be careful here. I’ll first start by saying this is pre-Indeavor.
I’ve always served heavy industry, spending a majority of my time in and out of supply chain offices and manufacturing shops. There’s generally a fine mix of complex operations, volatile supply chains, strict regulations and complex systems supporting these environments. Having the right mix of stakeholders for a system implementation is always critical, but even more when you are defining global regulatory requirements with significant cost impact. I’ve had the opportunity to implement a deeply engrained regulatory system without the right stakeholder mix – in the middle of some M&A activity. It was a bumpy road. A lot of risk identification, and even more self-study by our delivery team on subjects WAY over our head. That project team will always have opportunity for work based on the niche knowledge we gained over countless hours of evening hotel study sessions. We will always be a team after that one, love those folks.
What was your best career project...and why?
I can genuinely say every go-live I’ve experienced at Indeavor is a collective “best moment.” The rapid pace of change we have experienced in the last year in my tenure with Indeavor has been a ride. To see a collective group of individuals come together for a common cause is inspiring. Right now I can’t imagine anything better than serving this team and our customers.
What advice do you have for someone who's now entering the customer success profession?
First, get inspired by this practice and the opportunity tied with the broader Customer Success movement. If you fall into it, like most of us have, seek for that inspiration – content is endless to support it. I firmly believe the CS will continue to redefine our market and the entire customer journey.
Next, be a student of the game. Read, listen, network, practice, take chances and fail – do those last 2 a lot. The great thing about CS is that it is still relatively new, so you aren’t risking reading up on old ideas or practices. It seems like every day there’s a new book, deep article, podcast, etc out. Consume these. Reach out to the author. Reach out to me, I’d love to chat.
Finally, never forget the importance of revenue generation. We all have positions to play on the field, but the overall goal remains – capture and retain revenue. Never forget to operate with that in the back of your mind and it will be a differentiator.