IT buyers are becoming familiar with the reasons to move business applications to the cloud: quick deployment, no hardware to maintain, no spaghetti-like layers of customisation and endless, expensive software maintenance contracts. Why, then, would we want, or need, to shell out for Professional Services?
 
The answer is to do with the complexity of Cloud applications and of the organisations deploying them.
 
With Cloud applications, the service platform is the same for all customers. When new features are requested by customers and added to the platform, these are often made available to all subscribers. The result is that Cloud applications are expanding and gaining features with each passing quarter. This snowball of functionality, however, is often growing faster than the customer’s ability to make use of it.
 
The result is the Consumption Gap, essentially a gap between the potential of an application to deliver value and the value that customers are actually getting. The larger and more complex the organisation, the more significant the Consumption Gap becomes.
 
 
In the context of eSignature and Digital Transaction Management, value is realised in in multiples of one transaction: either you’re paying for paper, ink, postage, couriers, archiving and all of the related manual processes, or you’re not. Hard-dollar savings, combined with secondary, productivity related gains mean that per-transaction returns can be huge. The net effect is that by not using their Cloud applications to the full, organisations are leaving money on the table.
 
Moreover, according to McKinsey, only 7% of executives say their organisations understand the exact value at stake from digital. By engaging a vendor with the right Professional Services resources, you get access not only to technical specialists, but also to business experts that have experience in identifying areas of an organisation in which value can be delivered. They can then propose solutions that map process improvements to product features, and present those solutions to senior stakeholders in a way that can be measured in dollars and cents.
 
Digital Transaction Management is a journey. The ultimate success of that journey depends on the involvement of experienced people with the skills to design and implement solutions. Having those people available at the right time is essential. As the move towards the Cloud continues, Professional Services will become even more instrumental to the success of both vendors and customers as they work towards to the goal of a fully digital workplace.
 
 
Kevin Boyle is Head of Professional Services at DocuSign EMEA. Read his blog or connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
 
 
 
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