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Susan is an independent digital communications and user experience strategist. She helps companies discover their brand voice and grow their business.
Shubharthi is currently part of the strategic marketing team at Regalix. His expertise mainly lies in the account-based marketing and programmatic advertising space.
Priscilla is a content writer who has worked for Infosys Technologies and other technology startups in India and abroad.
Moulishree is a freelance journalist with over 7 years of experience, she writes research-based analytical stories on technology and business.
Avanish is a Bangalore-based journalist who writes on business with a specific focus on technology companies.
Priyanka has covered every aspect of the IT industry as a tech journalist since its early days. She is now an independent writer, working on subjects like digital marketing, enterprise technology and high-performance computing, among others.
A freelance content writer, S. Sahu was the former editor of TCS's house magazine at Tata Consultancy Services. He developed tech marketing collateral for the company and helped compile and edit books and journal articles on TCS's technology innovations. He also ghostwrites print and online publications.
Prajwala is a Bangalore-based freelance journalist who writes on social issues, stories of human interest, and art and culture, among others.
Rajesh Nanarpuzha is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at IIM Udaipur. Previously, he has worked as a brand manager in Dabur, and as a business consultant in the retail and consumer goods domains at Cognizant and Tata Consultancy Services. Rajesh has an MBA from IIM Indore and a doctorate in marketing from IIM Ahmedabad.
Priyokumar Singh Naorem
He is a passionate UI & UX designer who thrives on creating engaging creative solutions.
A freelance illustrator, artist, graphic novelist and designer. She has designed and illustrated several book covers. Her personal illustrations so far have attempted to seize the fleeting absurdity and mood of places, things and people she encounters in a childlike, intuitive and expressive manner with closure, beauty and innocence – the things that she desires.
She is an artist and an educator who has taught and lectured at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Oxford University, the Victoria and Albert Museum among other institutions. Her installations, paintings, thread work and sculptures have been exhibited in Saatchi Gallery - London, C24 Gallery - New York, and Museum of Contemporary Art – Lyon, among other notable galleries and museums from around the world.
A commerce graduate from Delhi University, Parul pursued a masters in fine arts from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. As an artist, she is interested in line as a subject which has led her to follow architectural lines in built environments. She says she is also interested in how we perceive the environment that we inhabit and what happens when a subtle shift is made in things which we have been used to seeing in a certain way. We present six of her artworks here.
Shweta Malhotra is a graphic artist and designer from Mumbai, based in New Delhi.
After working with ad agencies and design studios for close to 8 years, she branched out on her own and currently works independently.s Her overall design aesthetic is minimal, bold and graphic, a response to the maximalist visual language prevalent in India.
Rithika Merchant (b.1986) received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design, New York in 2008. She has exhibited extensively since her graduation. Recent exhibitions include a duo show “Reliquaries: The Remembered Self” at TARQ, Mumbai; “Language of the Birds: Occult and Art” at 80WSE Gallery, New York; and group shows at Summerhall, Edinburgh and Artry Gallery, Kochi. Her work has been included in multiple group shows at Stephen Romano Gallery and The Morbid Anatomy Museum, New York. Born in Mumbai, she now divides her time between Mumbai and Barcelona.
Aniruddh Mehta is an artist based out of Mumbai, India. Trained in graphic design from the London College of Communications, Aniruddh is a self-taught illustrator and currently works as an independent freelance designer. He believes in finding the right balance between art and graphic design. He has worked closely in collaboration with Bhavishyavani Future Soundz, Qilla Records, Taxi Fabric, Adidas, Dell and United Colours of Benetton. He also goes by the moniker, ‘thebigfatminimalist’ and his style ranges from bold minimal forms to more intricate pieces exploring patterns and geometry.
Paramesh is an artist who enjoys working in both the realistic and abstract style of painting. He loves working with water color. Featured in this issue are a set of water color works that he has created exclusively for us on the subject of digital transformation.
Based in Mumbai, Chandrashekhar Thakur is a Senior Art Director and Illustrator at Truebil.com and the Founder of HAPPiNESS For You. He loves working with new styles of art and considers illustration to be his forte. Chandrashekhar has completed his BFA from DY Patil College of Applied Art.
Concept and Direction
Head of marketing at Regalix, Nimish drives research in emerging technologies and customer experience, and takes a keen interest in creative arts.
Narsi Subramanian is currently working as SVP Customer Success and Support at MapR Technologies. He brings in-depth skills and experience in leading service and support organizations to deliver significant value to customers. An expert in building and growing geographically dispersed Technical Services with focus on CSAT, renewals, time to resolution and add-on sales. He is talented in sales training, partner development, sales operations and R&D.
Interviewed by Aishani Majumdar
/ / What are the technologies/trends driving customer onboarding today?
There are several factors that affect onboarding a customer. These include the delivery model (on-premise vs. cloud vs. SaaS vs. managed service), essential onboarding activities, and finally, concerns and interests specific to that customer.
For a SaaS model, which is trending, having a customer success team as part of sales organization is a standard practice. This team typically provisions the right licenses, customizes the solution, and onboards users by setting up profiles and workflows. This team also facilitates training essential for adoption. The engagement of the customer success team is driven by a well-defined program management product lifecycle and integrates well into the overall solution.
For both on-premise and cloud (software that runs in the cloud but not as SaaS), the onboarding engagement follows the traditional approach of using different groups for similar activities but not as integrated into the main solution that the customer is trying to purchase.
For onboarding a managed service customer (all assets are managed by the vendor), the approach is identical to a SaaS process but with milestones and clear expectations set ahead of time with the customer.
/ / Do you have a standalone customer onboarding team? If yes, under which vertical (sales, marketing or customer success) does it function? If no, is the onboarding function outsourced?
MapR solutions run on-premise and in the cloud. The sales cycle varies depending on completion of the opportunity, use-case, and the proof of concept (PoC). The onboarding starts with the account team getting the customer success team involved. Thus the function resides in the sales organization, but resources are pulled from other groups depending on the required tasks.
/ / Do you provide onboarding services to all your customers or only to select customers? If the latter, how do you select these customers?
Every customer is taken through at least some part of the onboarding experience, such as enabling users to access different assets and/or delivery of bits. Premium customers who have specific needs for enablement would engage the responsible account team to schedule the right onboarding service with the help of the customer success team.
/ / What are the channels of communication you use for onboarding customers (video call, phone call, email, chat or on-premises)?
Typically, communication starts with a phone call to understand needs and outcomes. This leads to a project/process being put in place. Once done, it is usually followed by a Webex or other virtual meetings to go over each of the defined steps for onboarding. Where the adoption goals are aggressive and the user-base is large, on-premises communication is also used.
/ / What types of content assets does your organization use for customer onboarding?
MapR has quite a few assets. MapR’s Support Policy is available on our website. The MapR Support Portal is a layered fabric of content to self-support (troubleshooting guides, How-Do-I Content, etc.), peer-support (MapR community forum), and seek personalized assistance. Finally, digital assets (blogs, product videos, documentation collateral, user manuals, and best practices recipes) are easily searchable and navigable on MapR.com. MapR Academy offers graded training and a certification curriculum, which is a boon to customers adopting large-scale enterprise solutions that are potentially new to them.
/ / What are the top challenges you face in onboarding your customers?
There are no serious challenges as such. Depending on the delivery model, there are times when number of onboarding activities could be small or high, leading to more coordination between groups. Also, since we use partners to sell our products, we need to be clear on their involvement as part of this process.
/ / What are the top benefits that you derive out of your customer onboarding program (increased CSAT, increased loyalty, positive publicity, or higher renewals)?
A good onboarding experience leads to trust and high satisfaction with our company and product. First impressions are the most lasting ones, so we make sure all aspects of onboarding are handled properly.
/ / On average, how long does your company spend on onboarding each customer?
The time spent onboarding each customer depends on the delivery mode. For on-premise customers, onboarding takes few hours and can be accomplished in one day. For managed service customers where everything is managed by MapR, onboarding is a different ballgame. It involves validations of many types and signoff can take weeks. The mileage on cloud deployment is usually somewhere in between.
/ / Do you customize onboarding programs for different customers?
Yes. Again, it depends on the delivery. Overall the steps are not very different to make sure their experience is seamless.
/ / How is resource allocation for onboarding programs done in your organization? Are there dedicated account managers for each program?
There are dedicated resources in each department responsible for the onboarding. For example, in support this activity is led by the Support Operations team. For managed services, it’s a different team with some involvement from the support organization.
/ / What are the tools you use for customer onboarding?
Common tools used are Webex, MS Powerpoint presentations, Salesforce, JIRA, etc.
/ / Have you invested in advanced analytics to track the performance of your onboarding programs?
Yes, we use different kinds of mechanisms to know if we are on track. Our NPS score shows that customers are very happy with us.
/ / What are the trends/technologies that you think will drive customer onboarding in the future? How should businesses gear up for this?
Onboarding is a critical component to the overall success of the customer. A good onboarding experience leads to confidence in the team and their abilities. It is important that no time is lost in the process of onboarding. Some of technologies that I have worked include automated workflows built into the fulfilment system that triggers notifications to customers to download assets and also sets up schedules with different departments to have the process started. Businesses should use a combination of automation and manual process for customization.
/ / In which areas of customer onboarding does your organization plan to invest over the coming years? (Scaling team, Technology or any other)
We plan to invest in both scaling the team and technology for onboarding.
Onboarding as a customer journey
Customer onboarding is one area where improvements made could tangibly affect business metrics positively.
Customer onboarding is key to delivering high-quality experience to customers
Aaron Hudson, Division Vice President, Implementation & Amar Sidhu, Senior Vice President, Service Delivery & Production, ADP
Align content assets to each step in the onboarding journey
David Karp, Executive Vice President, Customer Success, Numerator
Avoid the cookie-cutter approach in customer onboarding
Silvia Veronese, VP of Global Customer Success, Guavus
Connecting customers with each other is crucial for onboarding
Mathew Sweezey, Principal of Marketing Insights, Salesforce
Let’s not forget the value of the human connection in customer onboarding
Nancy Porte, Vice President of Global Customer Experience, Verint
Locking in your onboarding plan to address scope-creep
Dave Ragals, SVP Customer Success, IgnitionOne