Kees de Vos is the chief customer officer for hybris software, which recently hosted a global event for its customers in Munich, Germany. We caught up with de Vos after the event to get his take on how hybris works closely with customers to enable success, both now and in the future.
Q: The key theme for the Global Customer Days 2014 was, “It is the year of the Customer – we will be working closer with you.” Could you give an example or two of what that actually means?
Yes, for sure – firstly we will be pro-actively publishing a lot more content that is created with the customer in mind; enabling our customers to understand better what hybris is capable of and how best to make use of hybris. We will start publishing this content, not only internally, but also through webinars and events. We will keep our customers up to date of all of these initiatives through our newsletter and customer management teams. Secondly, we will reach out more pro-actively through our customer management teams on the ground, trying to keep everyone abreast of changes that are coming and provide advice on how best to engage with hybris, for example through our professional services teams.
Q: The company has experienced explosive growth recently. How is hybris planning to support its growing number of customers?
We will expand our customer management teams in order to increase our coverage and our professional services teams are also continuing to grow. In addition to that, we are investing a lot of time and effort in scaling our initiatives by providing a lot more content that is available “on demand.”
Q: As chief customer officer, what do you see as the biggest opportunity for hybris customers after they become part of company’s ecosystem?
For our customers the top priority should be to establish a single digital platform within their business. A platform that is able to connect all customer engagements across all customer touchpoints, and optimize their customer experience as a result. hybris is that platform and enables businesses to really start taking the next step in the digital evolution. We really want our customers to focus on differentiating themselves and their own innovation. We have to move past “getting the basics right” – that’s what the customer teams will focus on.
Q: hybris has grown tremendously year over year and most recently got acquired by SAP. How do customers feel about this rapid growth and the acquisition?
I think that it is up to hybris to prove that we can stay the agile and independent company our customers love, but now we have a more solid basis following the investment by SAP. Fast growth is a sign we are on the right track with our products and simultaneously be an enabler for further innovation. The key focus will be to continue to innovate and support our customers – that’s what our customers expect.
Q: What does a successful hybris customer look like?
The most successful customers we have share a number of traits. They invest time and effort to understand the hybris product, at least at functional level. This enables them to become a great sparring partner for their implementation team and help manage scope more effectively. Managing scope is important, as it enables more manageable projects, manage costs and ultimately increase speed of delivery to market. With the delivery train gathering steam, they can subsequently focus on reacting to real, rather than perceived, customer needs and innovation.
Q: What changes and/or innovations are you seeing in the way that hybris customers do business that will drive the future of commerce, and how will hybris adapt to their evolution?
Once our customers have their digital platforms running, the real fun can begin – this is where we will see real innovation come up and new business models emerge, and this is where hybris is strong. We are very good at enabling innovation. If it hasn’t already, innovation will become part of our customers’ DNA and we can’t wait. In the background, we are plotting our next wave of platform innovation. Our job is to always stay one step ahead!