NEWS March 20th, 2020
Customer Intimacy: The end user in the picture
“Thinking in user stories and business impact”
In IT services, the explicit demand of the customer often entails an implicit desire. To provide the optimal answer to this unspoken need, the business objectives have to be clear to all parties involved. Levi9 Technology Services believes that the right response to the customer demand happens at three levels: the customer itself, the employee, and last but not least, the end user.
The digital transformation promises a company many things, and one of them is a more intensive, more individual, one-on-one relationship with customers and the consumer. The delivery on this promise comes from a combination of cutting-edge technology, data and smart algorithms. Although online research and data analysis produces beautiful customer journeys, personas, results and insights, the customer feedback you get through this channel is less personal than human contact. That greater personal distance to the customer is a significant change, one that companies need to be aware of. IT services providers can help organizations and executives regain a vision of the real need in the market.
Regular, and preferably informal, personal contact with all parties is one of the keys to getting at the real customer demand. IT service providers try to do this at three levels:
The customer itself – In IT services, by definition the customer demand goes beyond the wishes and requirements of the individual client or that one contact person. It always involves more people and more departments. Their needs and desires can be very different depending on the internal coordination. The real customer demand is the greatest common denominator of all the individual demands.
The end users – The customer demand is also the demand of the end users. It often happens that companies get bogged down in interpretations and assumptions here. That’s why it’s important to verify that the company really knows its end users. As the IT services provider, that might mean that you have to go talk to the end customers yourself. To be sure that the functionality you are delivering answers to what they actually want.
The employees – As IT services provider, you also have to get up close with your own personnel. This is as important as knowing the client and the end users. Because even the smallest wrinkle in their interaction with the customer or the end user can have a number of ripple effects that can work against you. And that’s bad for the customer and bad for your own people.
Martijn Hohmann, Five Degrees CEO
Working together towards the bank of your dreams
Five Degrees is a software company that drives the software behind a fully digital bank delivered from the cloud. The roadmap is all about user-friendliness, flexibility and speed. “We deliver this with our choice for a cloud solution, developing on the basis of micro services, and our years of partnership with Levi9,” says CEO Martijn Hohmann.
With its sights set on supersonic development and strong growth, scalability in technology and manpower is critical to Five Degrees. “Think about the development of new technological possibilities, both in the core banking application and on the user side. Then, there are the options for making integration with other systems as easy as possible,” says Hohmann. Now, eight years after Five Degrees’ launch, over twenty banks internationally are using the technology.
The highly qualified people and excellent service of Levi9 gave Five Degrees the comfort and security they needed. “It was also important for there to be a match in terms of culture and a shared passion for the field and the product. That led to an intensive cooperation and knowledge transfer, which was one of the biggest success factors. After five years of intensive cooperation and a few successful recent pilot projects, the people of Levi9 are now working on the core teams and having an input in our product roadmap.”
Five Degrees’ technology agenda is built on the modular development and provision of software components based on micro services. According to Hohmann, “The advantage for the customer is that they can choose exactly the relevant blocks of functionality they need from a huge range of integrated options. And they can combine them with components they already have. For us, working with components means that we can produce them as location-independent modules. By developing new functionality in a fully event-driven and serverless way, making it cloud-native, the applications get more and more efficient and easier to scale.”
Hohmann says that the years of intimate partnership with Levi9 have produced a lot of advantages. “There’s so much mutual trust between us that we don’t even think of them as a vendor anymore. They have so much knowledge of our processes and products, and that means we are getting so much out of this partnership. And it means they’re not afraid to say something when they know that a product or solution can be better.”
That critical, proactive approach comes along with the personal professionalism and ambition of the people on the teams. “They want to learn, and grow, and work on exciting and relevant solutions too. As a customer, we challenge those people and give them the opportunity to up their game. That’s good for us, for our customers, and for Levi9.”
“At Levi9, they’re not afraid to say something when they know that a product or solution can be better” – Martijn Hohmann, Five Degrees CEO
Truly understanding the end user
The added value of Levi9 Technology Services comprises much more than simply delivering what the customer asks for. Truly understanding what adds value for the end user, and delivering it as a shared goal, is what it’s all about. That demands constant reassessment. A truly good customer relationship is always based on data, intelligence and human interaction.
“We are always trying to use the user story to prompt our clients to think in terms of business impact,” explains Levi9 CEO Pien Oosterman. “That kind of dialogue requires discussion partners that know their market and their competition very well.” This multidimensional customer orientation can be challenging for the CIO, CTO or CDO on the client side.
“More than with small and medium-sized companies, at the big companies, we still see a lot of thinking and action from islands and silos,” says Levi9 CCO Debby Jansen. This is something that can obscure the view to the end user. “As a strategic partner, we really like to help facilitate a cross-functional exchange. For an intimate relationship with the customer, the end user, and our own people. This way, we can always deliver real added business value.”
“We are always trying to use the user story to prompt our clients to think in terms of business impact”
Pien Oosterman, Levi9 CEO
Unique in customer focus
Levi9 Technology Services places a strong focus on business technology: the tech that companies use to distinguish themselves in their markets. The engineers of Levi9 work in a nearshore model with the business and the management of the client to develop outstanding custom software.
Levi9 has some 20 staff in the Netherlands and over one thousand in Eastern Europe – all ambitious, highly educated professionals who speak English well. They are not hindered by a superfluous management layer, so they can get straight at what is best for the client.
Alongside custom software development, commodities are also an important part of Levi9’s services. Cloud services, APIs, business services, and serverless computing are all used wherever possible. Individually and in combination, these technologies are the catalyst for scalability and acceleration.
At all levels – from the break room to the boardroom – Levi9 Technology Services has the right contacts to collect the knowledge and understanding of the client and the end user, which we do in combination with surveys and research. The result is an optimal interaction that leads to top-quality tech applications and products that make the difference for the customer.
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