The IT Manager Competencies. the Challenge of Organizational Integration

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1 The IT Manager Competencies in the SaaS Era: the Challenge of Organizational Integration Alessandro Zardini Università degli Studi di Verona Cecilia Rossignoli Università degli Studi di Verona Francesca Ricciardi Università Cattolica di Milano

2 RESEARCH QUESTION How do the emerging changes in IT sourcing strategies influence the IT department s role and the competencies requested to IT managers? Is the so called IT commoditization jeopardizing the strategic role of the CIO?

3 Exemplary cloud based innovation strategy: SaaS CRM SaaS (Software as a Service): a software vendor hosts, operates, and manages a software service for clients, on a paid subscription basis. Customers can be provided with the application and with support services (e.g. data integration or data management support services). CRM (Customer Relationship Management): ICT supported management approach aimed at effectively interacting with customers and at building profitable long term relationships with them.

4 Given the exploratory nature of our study, we decided to conduct a qualitative research by investigating exemplary cases through semistructured interviews. We selected four medium large Northern Italy, companies, representing four different sectors), that had successfully adopted a SaaS CRM system for at least three years.

5 We arranged five semi structured interviews in each company: one with the general manager (or President or Vice President or CEO), two with the CIO IT manager, and two with the marketing manager. These interviews were conducted during the years

6 Company Alpha is a world s leading manufacturer of an important synthetic textile fiber. It is active in three continents and seven countries. This is a B2B business: company Alpha s customers are few large enterprises in the automotive, furniture or clothing industries. Company Alpha studies and develops its products following the requests of (and often cooperating with) client companies, whilst many production phases are outsourced.

7 Company Beta is a leading firm in the field of wine and alcoholics. These products are sold through tens of thousands of supermarket and department stores, where company Beta continuously launches sales promotions. These pricing and promotion activities implied costs that were difficult to control and to optimize through traditional methods and tools. As a consequence, the marketing department needed advanced support to manage its complex relationships with large scale retail trade.

8 Company Gamma is a world s leading engineering firm, specialized in transportation infrastructures (subway lines especially) and environmental services (water works management). The main expected achievements of the new SaaS CRM system were (i) to optimize marketing and sales processes and (ii) to control the related costs. In this case, the high ICT skills of Company Gamma s personnel allowed a particularly successful cooperation with the SaaS CRM provider during the implementation phase.

9 Company Delta is the Italian branch of a world s leading temporary recruitment agency. This company is the largest recruiting agency in Italy and has opened more than 400 local offices throughout the whole country. Company Delta s main activities include employment services, HR consulting services, and training services. For each recruitment process, a huge number of contacts with potential workers is generated and must be recorded and managed.

10 The four SaaS CRM cases were surveyed in search of success factors, and more specifically in search of features of the process of SaaS CRM adoption, boundary conditions, and behaviors, skills and attitudes of the IT managers and IT departments involved, that seemed essential for the achievement of the desired outcome (improved efficiency and/or effectiveness of marketing and sales processes) in each case.

11 Our efforts have been concentrated, first of all on the choice of a trustworthy vendor, and then on a very thorough definition of SLA (Company Beta). Our IT Department has been a very important actor, because it had the responsibility to choose both the product and the supplier, to take care of the contractual aspects connected to the SLA, and to safeguard the satisfaction of business needs (Company Delta). Before adopting it [the SaaS CRM solution], there wasn t any supporting system for the critical CRM process: the idea that marketing and sales processes should be optimized didn t even exist (Company Alpha).

12 The most critical aspect was to integrate the application with our systems. In that situation, the support of our IT personnel has been fundamental (Company Gamma). It is interesting to notice that one of the final users, a key account, has cooperated with the SaaS CRM provider during the whole phase of the implementation. Therefore he was able to personally assess the ease of use of the software (Company Beta).

13 Boundary Conditions A - Acceptance of SaaS as a sourcing approach - Management commitment Boundary Conditions B - (Perceived) Capability of the SaaS provider to develop a successful long-term partnership with the customer - (Perceived) Security and connectivity performances of the SaaS service - (Perceived) Capability of the SaaS CRM to provide the customer with an ever-evolving adaptable solution for long-term sustainable competitive advantage IT Department / IT Mgmt Capabilities Cooperative SaaS CRM Adoption Process - Cooperative interaction style - Effective contracting Mktg & Sales process optimization - Data / System integration - Users involvement Improved Marketing/Sales Performances Efficiency (cost control) Effectiveness + + IT Department / IT Managers Capabilities Understand business needs and actively safeguard them Be responsible for the implementation project as for time, cost, performances Compare and evaluate different potential IT outsourcers Cooperate for the definition of outsourcing contracts and SLA Integrate the outsourcer s data and systems Support the IT vendors for fast and smooth implementation Cooperate to, and/or coordinate, the optimization of the processes involved in the IT innovation Manage the long-term relationships with the outsourcers Understand the users needs, suggestions and complaints Manage the change process Create conditions for positive long-term evolution of the adopted IT solutions, so contributing to refresh the competitive advantage throughout time

14 Thank you for your attention!

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