Sky Italia took to the stage at Dreamforce 2016 to share the results so far of its digital transformation journey, the key to which is a shift away from its ageing Siebel CRM systems and onto Salesforce and Vlocity services.
Jessica Twentyman detailed Sky Italia’s plans for the Salesforce and Vlocity implementation in early 2015, not long after the business had embarked on the project. Sky Italia also took the decision around the same time to digitise all of its field service activities and squeeze down costs by a fifth.
To that end, the firm selected ServiceMax for use by 1,500 field service personnel and partners, and 200 Sky Shop outlets, as outlined by Stuart Lauchlan.
Eighteen months later, Gabriele Scarponi, CIO at Sky Italia, was in attendance at Salesforce’s San Francisco bash, where he was able to flesh out the firm’s strategy and more importantly reveal whether the major IT project to replace Siebel with a Salesforce/Vlocity combination had borne results.
And the answer to that, happily for Scarponi, is yes.
As I explained in my previous article covering Telus’ experience of updating its legacy customer management system, telcos’ IT infrastructure is often based on disparate, outdated systems, which don’t give staff ready access to the information they need to best serve the modern customer.
Sky Italia faced similar problems around its old IT infrastructure, but also from newer economic pressures. Scarponi explained:
The downturn in Italy has put huge pressure on paid TV, which has become a discretionary spend during the last few years. We needed to improve our agility in how we served our customers and the type of proposition we needed to take to the market.
Moving away from its 13-year-old Siebel CRM system has allowed Sky Italia to meet these objectives. According to Scarponi, customer service and customer change order have proved the most important and the most challenging aspects of the project. He said:
The customer service pillar is now totally powered by Salesforce and Vlocity. We have managed to increase usability and simplify business processes. We are live with 3,500 agents, they’re now totally powered by Service Cloud and Vlocity.
The new technology has led to a 10.5 percent reduction in call time, equivalent to about 20 seconds shorter calls, along with a 20 percent decrease on the most common activities that service agents carry out.
Sky Italia is also enjoying a 12.5 percent increase in agent activity. Scarponi puts this down to agents having all the relevant customer information available on the first page. He explained:
Previously it required three clicks to display the same information. Now it’s zero as it’s automatically on display in the agent portal. The integrated knowledge base has also helped achieve these results. The old system had a different application for knowledge management, we have simplified this enormously.
Now that Sky Italia has achieved such impressive results with its Service Cloud deployment, the next step is to focus on customer change order. The firm has started the project, which will use Salesforce and Vlocity, but it has not yet rolled anything out. When the service does become available next year, Scarponi expects agents will be able to take advantage of the platform to improve their up-selling capability and for better omni-channel support. He said:
We’ll be providing agents with a comprehensive customer view, to ensure fast access to additional details on the agent desktop. We will be able to take advantage of the change order platform to improve up-selling to the customer, sustain an increased margin, while easier product configuration will speed up time to market.
As well as the improvements in agent performance, Sky Italia has also reaped financial rewards. Scarponi revealed the organisation has saved 20 percent of recurring systems integration costs associated with application development and configuration. This is due to reducing the level of code customisation by relying on standardised features.
The telco has also made a huge saving of €1.8m thanks to no longer having to deal with Siebel release upgrades. Scarponi said:
Right now, we have managed eight seamless Salesforce upgrades without any extra cost. The move to Salesforce and Vlocity was based on needing to achieve greater process efficiency and maximise the one-click case resolution. We wanted more agility with faster time to market for our commercial offering, and we needed to create a unified customer experience across all channels.
While Sky Italia has clearly achieved these goals based on the statistics above, the firm also shared lessons it had learned from the process.
Be an early mover
Scarponi advised that the quicker you can move to update your legacy systems, the lower your risk:
We had the opportunity to be ahead and not have to react from pressure out of business requirements. We did this integration early and this means a lower risk than waiting for the complexity of the legacy to become an even bigger problem. So don’t wait too long when modernising legacy systems.
It’s not just about the technology
These projects shouldn’t be approached purely as a business transformation initiative. Scarponi urged firms to put the customer at the centre of any transformation:
It’s not just technology re-platforming, it’s about optimising the business processes. We found our users became much more interested in supporting the programme when they could see the efficiencies and improvements in business processes.
B2C implementations like Sky Italia’s involve a massive amount of disparate data in third-party systems, so Scarponi advised firms to have strong data governance in place:
Keep in mind the volume of data. Vlocity is a Salesforce preferred partner and they have taken care of scale and performance testing, which was very important for us. An industry-specialised data model is essential, as the more functionality you can get for your industry out of the box is key to a lower TCO, and the faster you can deliver value to the business and the customer.