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Tag Archives: Extended Enterprise

September 18, 2014

Don’t you want my money?

That’s the thought that runs through my head when I am:

  • fumbling through a poorly designed website trying to find information,
  • spending too much time on the phone with an uniformed service or support rep,
  • attempting to use a new product that is overly complex, or
  • dealing with nonsensical policies that make doing business difficult or impossible.

Customer experience is influenced at every touch point. The examples I mentioned above are focused on information and training: information that I need as a customer or information that a company employee needs to do the best job possible. That includes writers of the nonsensical policies that can drive customers away.

By 2020 customer experience will be the key product differentiator, far more important than quality or price.¹ In less than six years, customers will choose the product or service from the company that provides the best overall experience. In fact, it has already started and will continue to grow over time — we’re not going to wake up on January 1, 2020 to a whole new world (that was January 1, 2000.)

SumTotal - Extended Enterprise

Information roadblock
There is no better time than right now to start improving the experience your company delivers.

So, where do you start?

There is a well-known connection between customer experience and employee learning programs. They have the ability to increase knowledge, subject mastery, satisfaction and engagement. But, often learning programs are limited to the internal employees who want to improve their impact on customer experience. Your extended enterprise — your network of customers and partners — are often neglected, yet they are just as important to the overall experience.

The first step to improve your overall customer experience is removing the roadblocks that keep your customers and partners from the information and training they need. Make it easy to find information on your website, and grant them access to relevant learning material and training programs

Extending the enterprise
One of the best tools to expand your learning programs to your entire business ecosystem is leveraging your learning management system (LMS). Most people think of their LMS as just an employee system, but extending learning to your external network will deliver the same value to them that it does your employees. They need information to understand your products, to build expertise, and to get answers when they need them.  It’s more than providing a central hub of information. Customers and partners need targeted, easy to find, relevant information, available at any time, and updated frequently.

You can learn more about the benefits of extending learning to your external partners. We’ve developed a new ebook “A Roadmap to Superior Customer Experience through Learning” to help you get started.


¹Customers 2020: The Future of B-to-B Customer Experience Report. Walker Research

September 4, 2014

Investing in the Extended Enterprise

The level and quality of customer experience you provide as a business, or lack thereof, can make or break your success. Customers  want it all – innovative products, impeccable customer service, quick delivery and stress free support. This isn’t a secret. Everyone has experienced the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to customer experience. And these experiences always leaves us wondering – what more could that organization have done to deliver on its promise?SumTotal Blog Extended Enterprise

Gone are the days where organizations can rely solely on internal stakeholders to grow their bottom line and achieve business goals. Surviving and thriving in today’s business climate requires leaders to look beyond their enterprise to the people who interact with and support the brand day-by-day, the very ones who in fact now have more influence over brand perception than anyone else.

These external audiences – AKA, The Extended Enterprise – are made up of a dynamic and diversified set of customers, partners, contingent workers, brokers, dealers, channel sales and other external sales and service providers. The Extended Enterprise is often found at the front lines of your business. They are interacting with customers, providing support and reselling your products and solutions.

The non-employee constituents who make up the Extended Enterprise represent underdeveloped potential (and dare I say risk!) to organizations if they’re experience isn’t optimal, or if they’re not set up for success.

How can you capitalize on this untapped potential?
It’s simple. Extend your learning and training programs to all business stakeholders – not just the internal folks. Companies that use their learning management system (LMS) to deliver training and information to external audiences generate nine times more annual revenue growth per full-time employee than organizations that do not. Those same companies also experience a 33% increase in customer retention.¹

How can you get started?
We’ve done the work for you! Join SumTotal for our upcoming Extended Enterprise webinar series, aimed at helping organizations understand the benefits of expanding the scope of learning and training across their entire value chains, from vendors and suppliers to channel partners, distributors, subcontractors, resellers and customers.

Hear best practices, tips and guidance from leading industry experts on everything from how to get started, to in-depth strategies and case studies.

Register now for our three-part webinar series:

Stay tuned for more upcoming resources, including getting started guides and case studies, highlighting the value of expanding your learning programs beyond the walls of your organization.

¹Aberdeen Group. Customers and Learning: Extending the Boundaries, October 2013