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Profile: SSA winner – SuccessFactors

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SuccessFactors was this year’s winner at the Software Satisfaction Awards, in the talent management category. Andy Leaver, vice president of sales EMEA at the company, speaks to Lucie Mitchell about the key to customer satisfaction and developments in store for the software industry in 2009.


1. Why do you feel you won this award?

I would like to think we won this award because we are obsessive about delivering measurable value and results to our customers, with high levels of customer satisfaction. Our whole organisation cares passionately about making our customers successful, and I’m thankful people voted the way they did.

2. What are the main important issues that you focus on, as a business?

We focus exclusively on optimising the performance of the workforce. When 95% of employees don’t understand their company’s goals, 85% are disengaged and 50% of their time is spent on unproductive tasks. A company will suffer in today’s economic climate. When around 70% of a company’s operating expense is in their people, we can help align people to the strategy, retain and reward the top performers and implement pay for performance. This not only lowers expenses, but it can grow the top line as well.

3. What are the main factors in ensuring customer satisfaction?

First and foremost, great service. Knowing you are supported every step of the way is key to achieving customer satisfaction and this was noted recently at our first European user conference in Paris, when customers took to the stage to discuss the results they have achieved, as well as any potential barriers to adoption that other new customers listening might be about to face. Putting installed customers in touch with new customers is a great way to open the dialogue to discuss common practice. With such a strong ROI and rapid deployment, combined with strong service level agreements and customer support, we have driven industry-leading contract renewals.

4. To what extent are customers involved in design processes and testing?

We deliver our solutions in a true multi-tenant SaaS model. This allows us to release software every single month, with often hundreds of small updates and improvements. This Web 2.0 delivery mechanism truly allows customers a faster time to value with minimal risk.

5. How do you treat and deal with user feedback?

Our customer success team receive lots of feedback from our millions of users worldwide. Our online user forums feed into NextLabs who can prototype ideas very quickly – all of our best ideas come from our customers!

6. How are you ensuring that the current economic climate doesn’t have a negative impact on your business?

SuccessFactors is an organisation that now, more than ever, is relevant for companies that want to identify their top talent, retain them and drive productivity increases. And the good news is that we apply these tools and processes internally to ensure we drive the best results we possibly can. We feel proud to have so many over-achievers in our company, and the latest economic cloud has driven them to ‘kaizen’ even more the value we derive from everything in our company – people, equipment, office, benefits, IT etc.

7. What do you believe will be the main developments in the software industry in 2009?

The SaaS revolution was well underway in 2008, and I think the economic situation of 2009 will drive companies to want even more flexibility and value from software. In the last downturn, the early SaaS companies grew, as organisations who wanted to move large IT capital projects to smaller, flexible operating expenditure-driven projects showed their value. With the maturity of SaaS, I see this trend continuing.

Andy Leaver is vice president of sales EMEA at SuccessFactors.

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