SaaS business intelligence: why the personal touch is key

  • Richard Thelwell
  • January 23, 2015

An increasing number of companies are beginning to see the benefits of choosing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technology applications, particularly SaaS business intelligence. However, there has been a lot of discussion surrounding the level of interaction and vendor relationships, bringing to light the importance of maintaining a personal touch.

SaaS is becoming an increasingly popular delivery method for a whole host of business applications. One of those that is really beginning to take off is SaaS business intelligence, with organisations tuning into the benefits of outsourcing the management of this activity to a third party vendor. However, for a healthy vendor/user relationship to exist, it is important that there is effective communication and collaboration.

The problem

Outsourcing data management to a SaaS business intelligence vendor can free up a significant amount of time and resources, which can be particularly beneficial for SMEs who are often resource-constrained. However, this does not mean businesses can simply wash their hands of this activity – there still needs to be a significant amount of interaction with vendors in order to ensure everything runs smoothly.

A recent article by Tara Kelly, CEO at SPLICE software, explored why these personalised interactions are still crucial, even in the age of SaaS business intelligence. Kelly believes it is important that people are careful not to ‘mistake the technology for the relationship’. Although this technology helps to automate previously time-consuming and manual processes, it does not completely replace the role of human interaction.

Kelly argues that it is not uncommon to find examples where vendors have attempted to hide behind the technology, seeing it as a method of avoiding personal interactions with the customers they serve. Doing this is not only detrimental for the customer, it can also have knock-on effects for the vendor. Failing to interact effectively with customers can lead to missed opportunities in terms of product development and diagnosing issues.

Furthermore, in an increasingly competitive industry, Kelly sees personalised customer service as a way for SaaS business intelligence providers to differentiate themselves from the competition.

The business value of a personal touch

Many companies fail to understand the significance of human interaction. As well as being important for customer satisfaction, there is also a significant amount of business value to be gained from these personal interactions. Going the extra mile could foster a more prosperous relationship for both SaaS business intelligence vendors and their customers.

Kelly argues that small things, such as taking the time to visit clients on-site to see for themselves how technology is used within the organisation, can significantly improve the working relationship vendors have with customers.

business intelligence relationships
Going the extra mile can help develop much stronger interpersonal relationships, vastly improving SaaS Business Intelligence projects

Regular interaction, whether it be face-to-face or over the phone can significantly strengthen interpersonal relationships between the two parties, allowing them to work together closer to boost success.

Communication throughout business intelligence implementations

Through the experience we have had of working with hundreds of customers, we at Matillion have found that effective communication between both parties is one of the most important factors behind a successful SaaS business intelligence implementation.

Having someone on the end of the phone at every stage of the implementation process allows you to stick to a clear and concise implementation strategy, knowing help is always at hand. And this support doesn’t stop once your systems go live, it continues throughout the duration of your subscription.

We believe that it is important always to keep our customers informed of progress. That’s why we provide regular updates, even when something is taking a little longer than we expected. We believe that this transparency helps us foster more open and honest relationships with our clients, ensuring they are never kept in the dark about important issues with their systems.

Research and development

As the most customer-facing role within a SaaS business intelligence organisation, the customer support team will be largely responsible for relaying user issues to other areas of the business, particularly the product development team.

business intelligence development
Feedback from customers can be crucial for product development in SaaS Business Intelligence

This communication will have mutual benefits for both parties, as vendors will be able to diagnose common issues that their users experience with current systems and reflect these in subsequent software releases. This will aid the product development process and help to keep customer satisfaction levels high, resulting, we believe, in higher retention rates.

To find out more about implementing a successful SaaS Business Intelligence solution for your organisation, download our free eBook today.