An inspiring two days at Connect Ambassadors 2018 – where is your services organization heading?

Posted by  Emma Keates

Our annual Connect Ambassadors event took place in Amsterdam in May. And from discussions with our customers, it’s clear now is a pivotal time for many services organizations as they progress on their journey of digital business transformation to meet the demands of the XaaS economy.

Our customers are modernizing operational and business models to create greater efficiencies and to engage customers, employees, and business partners in new ways. And all are at different stages of transformation. We released the results of a new independent study we sponsored among C-Suite and senior managers in services organizations with more than 250 employees around the world. The findings show the extent of business model changes and the rate of change among medium and large services organizations. What is very clear is that of the organizations that have made changes to their business model, pricing or product and service offering, 72% have actively extended their services beyond their traditional core markets; 79% have expanded services to new international markets; and 85% have increased their income because of the changes they have made.

Our customers – typically large service industry organizations - are transforming because of the XaaS economy:​

In Professional Services, from selling skills by the hour (engineers) to delivering project results​.

In Higher Education, from keeping track of student records (registration) to achieving student success (4 year grad rates, high employment rate)​.

In Public Sector, from administrating the functions of a city (tax collection) to delivering a high quality citizen experience (self-service)​.

In Not for Profit, from managing activities (sending food) to measuring impact (saving 250,000 from malnutrition)​.

These organizations and their people are working towards a greater good which requires them to shift their focus. They tell us about the need to increase time spent on their missions and decrease time spent on activities that don’t have impact.

Creating space

Connect this year was all about our mission – creating space for our customers to do more work that really matters. Space is created by eliminating manual tasks and reducing errors. Building digital workflows - approvals, expenses, timesheets, etc. and utilizing modern technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, chat bots, etc. to automate manual tasks. This creates space for people to work on furthering their organization’s cause.

Next to our own executives, customers shared their stories on stage including Graham Kent, Director of IT Shared Services, at Save the Children International. For Save the Children, maximizing resources is essential, not only for increasing efficiency, but importantly for increasing the number of children it can support. Demonstrating the direct impact of money from donors, and that they have used it efficiently and effectively is vital. Unit4 supports the Charity to ensure much needed funds can be reinvested into key humanitarian and long- term projects to improve the lives of children and their mothers around the world.

Our partner and customer from HighPoint in the UK talked about how they are using Wanda (or Holly as they are calling it after cult TV show Red Dwarf in the UK), our Digital Assistant, across a dispersed team to improve efficiency and productivity. They anticipate serious results in how it impacts their working day, taking over mundane tasks like timesheets and expenses that are necessary but don’t add value. And as Holly learns the business through machine learning based on data going in, it will become more intelligent and more helpful. Exciting times.

Discussing the future of our industry

The Connect Ambassadors event is an exclusive annual event, where we bring together a select group of key strategic customers in our Industry Advisory Councils with senior tech visionaries, industry influencers, analysts and media. Over the two days, we discussed industry trends, product and solution news, and how we’re helping our customers create space.

Highlights included:

  • ​Dedicated Industry Advisory Council sessions discussing industry and technology trends, challenges and how we can address those through our solutions.
  • Presentations from senior executives discussing the industry and our future strategy.
  • External speakers who challenged us to think about the future and how technology is changing the way we work, and its application to support business transformation in the future.

Watch the compilation video for a snapshot of the event. Thanks to everyone that took part. We’re looking forward to more inspiring discussions next year.



Emma Keates

Emma Keates

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