2019 in Review: A Year of Portfolio, Project, IT, and Contact Center Transformation
With 2019 coming to a close, we raised a toast to the team and took a retrospective look at the successes of the past year. From the small moments to the landmark events, the thread that joined them all was our clear and unwavering focus on helping our customers do more, coupled with a commitment to innovation and transformation to lay the groundwork for future success.
It was also a year of transformation and innovation. In February we announced new solution suites, bringing together powerful, best-of-breed software from across the Upland portfolio, to enable enterprise productivity. While Upland made multiple acquisitions in 2019, Project and IT Management group made 2 strategic acquisitions giving us a leg up to herald in the new decade for even greater success.
Read on to catch up on the highlights of the leadership and growth that we experienced over the year.
Upland PSA: The future of professional services is customer-centric
As enterprises strive to put the human touch to our digital businesses, the phrase “customer-centric” has become the buzzword of the decade. Upland PSA team has risen to the occasion.
With the announcement of Upland PSA, formerly Tenrox, an enterprise-grade customer-centric services platform in March 2019, we ushered in a new era for services organizations. Turning the spotlight from projects to customers, we help streamline operations for a predictable services model, and provide a foundation to engage and delight customers starting from Day 1.
Read the LinkedIn article by Heather Black, Director Marketing, Project & IT Management Why Customer Success Matters for Services Leaders.
Putting our best foot forward
We’re not alone in this transformative mindset. As Dave Hofferberth, Managing Director, Services Performance Insight, will tell you: Professional services organizations are evolving rapidly, and to stay competitive, customer satisfaction is key. If your 2020 strategy is centered on building a customer-centric approach, start your journey by dialing into Dave’s webinar on replay: How Modern Services Organizations Are Increasing Customer Satisfaction
Investing in our customers
Our efforts did not go unnoticed. G2, known in services industry circles for the Grid® Report for Professional Services Automation 2019, placed Upland PSA as a Market Leader, and a Momentum leader in the fall and winter grid reports. An important source for insight on Professional Services Automation solution providers, Upland PSA was proud to be featured so prominently, and a thank you to our many customers who helped us in this achievement.
We were equally as proud to partner with our customers DRA, Vantage Partners, Grass Valley, and others in sharing insights into the business journey. The common theme was how they leveraged integration and robust PSA functionality to transition from manual operations to an automated, predictable business.
Craig Thompson, VP Marketing and Customer Success at Grass Valley went so far as to share their success on stage at the Technology Services World Conference in Las Vegas in October to an audience of over 60 professional services executives. What started as a division relegated to tactical project fulfillment turned into a fully integrated and automated process demonstrating their ability to contribute to bottom profitability in just three years. Get an insider’s look at his presentation Transformation to Customer-Centric Services Delivery is Driving On-Time Projects and On-Time Revenue.
Launching Upland PSA mobile app 2.0
Our commitment to customers is matched with our commitment to innovation. Each quarter brought us new use cases and expanded capabilities including Proposal Automation and Customer Sentiment. For those ready to extend the boundaries of PSA, these new features offer incredible features to get more out of your investment.
Not to go unnoticed, another product highlight of 2019 was the newly updated mobile app. Representing a brand-new look and feel, the newest version of the mobile app is a huge leap forward in how an on-the-go workforce can enter time and expense information, without having to log in to the desktop app.
Follow this link for a summary of the momentum of the past year’s releases.
Project & Financial Management: Addressing the $3T IT spending problem
With program and IT costs spiraling upwards, businesses are grappling with the ability to get enterprise-wide accurate, cost-reporting on everything from product and workforce costs, as well as IT, cloud, and telecom expenses. Lacking the tools to harness the chaotic world of enterprise and IT spend, our customers needed a better way.
In August, we announced the acquisition of Cimpl, award-winning Telecom Expense Management software, as the missing piece in our all-star Project and Financial Management solution suite. Building on our existing software, Cimpl introduced a new layer of accountability into telecom spend, enabling enterprise leader’s true transparency and governance of how IT investment maps to specific departments, projects, and business priorities, and how it drives value for the organization.
Take a read through the LinkedIn article How Upland Is Addressing the $3+ Trillion IT Spend Challenge, penned by our very own Mounir Hilal, EVP & Chief Customer Officer at Upland.
Coming together for the first time at the Gartner PPM Summits in June, and then again at the Gartner IT Symposium in October, we demonstrated our unique framework to partner with our customers and help them better run their business to manage demand, and rationalize overall IT spend.
How did each of the products that make up the Project Financial Management suite fare over the course of the year?
Upland Cimpl: Taking back control of technology expense management
2019 saw multiple platform upgrades including a contract management tool, payment readiness, a discrepancy tracker and powerful new reporting. These new features will help our customers manage the lifecycle of all their contracts and keep track of any billing discrepancies, all the while saving money and driving digital transformation.
Every first Thursday of the month, we host a live webinar for our customers to help them get the most out of Cimpl. During the webinar, we review our new features and share tips and tricks on how to use the platform to its full potential. Plus, throughout the webinar, customers are invited to ask questions to help them better utilize the software. Reach out to your Customer Success Manager for details!
Finally, Cimpl launched a 30-60-90-day adoption plan, which includes a series of communications offering guidance, how-to, and more, to support all our new customers onboard with the platform and get the most of the full range of capabilities.
Upland PowerSteering: Partnering with the business to drive value transformation
At the Gartner PPM Summits held in London, UK, and Washington, DC, we shared our vision for an integrated approach to Project and Financial Management. In London, Upland customer Deborah Andrews, Deputy Head of Programme Management, Nottingham University Hospitals, shared How an NHS Trust Increased Productivity and Improved Governance for 15,000 Project Leads. In Washington DC, we had 140 attendees squeezed into a room for 40 to learn how we enable portfolio-level visibility into IT spend across programs, workforces, and IT investments.
This vision has been adopted by our customers, and we are excited to share that PowerSteering has received rave reviews through Gartner Peer Insights, a peer review website, featuring commentary by our customers. As of December 2019, we have an average rating of 4.4 stars out of 5, among the highest in the industry, which attests to our ongoing commitment to innovation and customer success.
We announced the WorkCenter for Project and Financial Management that brings together a real-time, persona-based, view of their data across Upland’s ITFM, PPM, and TEM solutions. The innovation continued with the announcement of our integration of Microsoft Teams to fuel greater team collaboration and productivity. Finally, 2019 brought new product releases including PowerSteering 2020R1 (which includes the Upland Project Planner) and the Upland Collaboration Platform, both of which were built on direct customer feedback.
Upland ComSci: Going beyond cost transparency with ITFM
ComSci led the way on best practices sharing for going beyond cost transparency including. Robert Bracco, our resident ITFM expert spoke at World of IT Financial Management in San Antonio and the Financial World of Information Technology in New Orleans with his thought-provoking sessions Go Beyond Cost Transparency with an Expert-Driven Approach to IT Financial Management and Modernizing Your ITFM-TBM Systems – What You Need to Know. You can watch an on-demand replay of Robert’s presentation Modernizing Your ITFM – TBM Systems.
Successful customers, successful partners
Cheryl Earle, Director of Finance, Administration and Human Resources, IST, at the University of Alberta was gracious in sharing their journey of how UAlberta reduced end-user support costs by 8%, and domain management costs by 25% with the help of ComSci. She says that UAlberta IST is now seen as a driver of value and a valued partner, rather than as a cost center and drain on faculty resources. You can read the full case study now.
Additionally, building on our partnership with industry thought leader Thavron Solutions, we worked with Nan Braun, CEO, to publish two valuable white papers to help our customers deepen their own experience in IT Financial Management Translating IT for Finance and the Board and Selecting an ITFM Vendor.
Contact Center Productivity: Transforming the omnichannel customer experience
All companies are shaped by their customers. And the means by which our customers communicate with us has a profound and direct impact on their perception of us, not to mention their willingness to do business us. The importance of equipping front-line agents with the right tools to exceed customer expectations cannot be underestimated.
In September, Upland announced the acquisition of InGenius and the introduction of the new Contact Center Productivity solution suite.
The new solution suite brings together our award-winning KCS v6 verified knowledge management solution, RightAnswers, with the well-adopted customer sentiment engine, Rant and Rave, into a multi-channel, knowledge-driven contact center agent productivity solution suite that enables enterprises to offer a personalized, real-time customer experience.
Read the blog post, Revamping Your Contact Center, by Mounir Hilal, EVP & Chief Customer Officer at Upland, where he shares his thoughts where the industry is headed.
Upland InGenius: Center stage at Dreamforce
The InGenius team held their first Virtual User Conferences for customers and for partners, sharing business updates, along with product roadmap and success updates. A key feature of the UplandOne engagement model, it was highly attended, and a recurring opportunity for customers to get closer to what it means to be an Upland customer.
November was notable for an outstanding presence at Dreamforce. Not just an exhibitor, we were excited to join our customers in multiple presentation and keynote sessions:
- Revolutionizing Salesforce Phone Integration and the Future of CTI, featuring customer Illuma Labs
- How Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits Wins at Customer Advocacy and Inside Sales, with customer Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits
- Achieving Digital Transformation for Global Service Centers with InGenius CTI, with our very own SVP, Upland InGenius
Upland RightAnswers: Knowledge management isn’t just a nice to have
Traditionally, KM has been a neglected practice. The lack of perceived value has led organizations to use tools that aren’t fit for the job and to roll out processes that result in outdated content, weeks of approvals, and old content that’s dusted off as a last resort. But KM done right can be a tremendous vehicle to help you deliver positive, sustainable value for your business.
If you haven’t already attended any of our KCS courses, our revamped curriculum is a great way to affect profound change for your organization. Open to customers and anyone interested in deepening their practice is invited to sign up for our KCS training courses, including the newly added “Intelligent Swarming Workshop”.
Upland’s market leadership in Knowledge Management has not gone unnoticed: RightAnswers was recognized by KMWorld Magazine in the top 100 Companies That Matter in Knowledge Management for the eighth time. KMWorld also named us as a 2019 Trend-Setting Product. Pretty good for 2019!
Transforming customer experience by simplifying knowledge delivery
Our April release featured improved user experience to enhance agent productivity. Forward-looking machine learning to support language translation, and AI-enabled support improvements featuring chatbot and virtual assistant capabilities are at the leading edge of knowledge solutions. This latest functionality serves to accelerate KM adoption, drive user satisfaction, enjoy simplified management, and improve enterprise-wide operations.
The enhancement to RightAnswers’ decision tree builder was a key innovation that empowers customer service teams to more effectively and efficiently respond to inquiries.
What do RightAnswers customers have to say?
Paychex, a leading provider of payroll, HR, retirement and insurance services to America’s businesses, shared their journey to KCS mastery. Following a few unsuccessful attempts, they landed on RightAnswers and quickly embraced the
Enterprise Knowledge Hub as the clear choice for implementing a successful knowledge program, in turn powering their call center activities and enhancing overall customer experience.
Syngenta, another very successful customer, was able to avoid more than 15,000 IT service-desk requests per year while increasing employee productivity. Learn how Syngenta uses RightAnswers for responsive IT support here.
Looking Ahead – We’re Just Getting Started
2019 has been an incredible year for Upland, and we’re looking ahead to building on these successes in the coming year. We’re committed to transforming the enterprise workplace management market and continuing to lead the way in delivering a customer-centric experience.
Turning our sights to 2020, we are sensing a groundswell of opportunity and innovation, including a renewed focus on customer experience across all areas of project and IT management, and a commitment to partnering with our business leaders to demonstrate ever more value in every program, product, or engagement that we deliver.
In final closing, we wish to thank each and every one of our customers for joining us in their journey. For those readers not already part of the Upland family, we invite you to consider making this the year that join us in building a foundation to win and engage your customers, automate business operations, manage programs, projects and IT costs, and share knowledge throughout the enterprise. We look forward to a fulfilling and prosperous 2020.
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