HomeHealthThe key to successful subscription sales may be found in tracking internal...

The key to successful subscription sales may be found in tracking internal product adoption


In today’s ultra-competitive business environment, IT leaders need speed and agility. As a result, we have seen a rise of subscription-based, software-led business models that allow suppliers to satisfy deliver innovations quickly.

The pandemic accelerated the transition to a subscription-based model. In fact, during the past decade, companies embracing subscription-based business models have grown 4.6x faster than the S&P 500 average[1]. Initially offered by a few industry leaders like Adobe, Intuit, and Salesforce, subscription-based business models are now widespread and expected to continue growing.

Internally, our Cisco IT team has transitioned to use a number of subscription services, including Webex, Thousand Eyes, AppDynamics, Intersight standalone, Duo MFA, and SSO.

Through our internal use, it has become apparent that these models rely heavily on customer adoption and continued usage — which drives incremental business at the time of contract renewals — to succeed. For this reason, Cisco IT’s senior leadership team named ‘full adoption’ as a key goal to achieve for certain products in FY22.

Creating a dashboard to monitor adoption

Our Cisco Customer Zero team’s mission is to deploy new solutions early, well before they become commercially available. Our ‘Cisco on Cisco’ team helps drive adoption by sharing product value cases through content including presentations, tech talks, trainings, and speaker lists. The sales teams can then showcase our value story to customers.

Given the importance of adoption as an essential business driver, our mission has grown to include validation of customer experience. However, with information scattered across many sources, we struggled to share and assess adoption levels of our products.

Innovating is kind of our ‘thing,’ so, naturally, we decided we needed a solution to share our adoption across all products. We landed on a unique dashboard that monitors solution success through the following steps:

  • Deployment: Making a solution available for use in production.
  • Adoption: Describing how a product, solution, feature, or capacity is used.
  • Full Adoption: Measuring when all users experience the solution’s capabilities, enabling them to realize its full value.

This dashboard provides a consolidated, 360-degree view of all Cisco assets, with full visibility into adoption progress. It also includes deployment/adoption percentages, and clarification of data, plans, or concerns. It connects all materials on the topic by linking to extra content such as product information/blogs/value cases. A “full adoption” dashboard also makes it easier to remove redundant data, while providing a glimpse of how coverage is trending over any period. It currently includes links to the product SharePoint sites, EBCs, and related content and resources.

How Customer Zero is helping

The Customer Zero team is continuing to gather data for dashboard enhancement and for now, we are gathering all the information manually. There is an opportunity to automate the process by linking the dashboard to ITSM / ServiceNow, which is the source of truth for Cisco’s deployed products. Moreover, we are using multiple sources/POC for gathering data by involving subject-matter experts, team leads, and managers for obtaining metrics.

We are also using an iterative, agile approach to enhance the dashboard experience, improve usability, and eliminate confusion. To offset the many steps of creating and updating the dashboard on the go, we’ve developed a whole host of agile metrics that offer insights into productivity. This helps the Cisco-on-Cisco team assess the production and adoption scale of Cisco solutions.

The following snapshot of our dashboard shows a curated list of adoption metrics, along with progress made toward full adoption:

Next steps

We’re excited to continuing iterating our dashboard and adjusting it to meet our customer needs. In the coming months, we’re looking forward to the following additional improvements:

  • Adding the Customer Zero Portfolio Coverage dashboards (for CZTE and Cisco overall) on the Cisco-on-Cisco SharePoint site.
  • Expanding the list of solutions in the dashboard to reflect a greater proportion of the Cisco portfolio.
  • Exploring inclusion of geographic areas (regional management).
  • Displaying patterns of coverage/adoption in quarterly “actuals vs. target” to provide a sense of growth.

As we continue improving the dashboard, we’re excited to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment with additional features you’d like to see in an adoption dashboard, or any questions.

 

 

[1] compound annual growth rates for the 10-year period (2012-2021) were 17.5% vs. 3.8% respectively, The Subscription Economy Index TM, Zuora, Feb 2022

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