What does good look like? The latest catchphrase in business directly relates to how we measure success. Zetta’s General Manager – Services, Ross Taraborrelli has been thinking about what that means in the context of project services. His view is that delivering on time and on budget is only the beginning of helping the client get the most benefit from their investment over the long term.
So how can service providers add value after the technical part of a project has been completed? Helping the client understand and accept the changes that are about to occur in their organisation is one way. This assists them in realising the benefits of the project sooner and improves the overall client experience. The result is greater client satisfaction and more positive engagement for the longer term.
Shifting the time horizon on what is successful
Ross believes the focus on the “go live” date, while essential, is missing an opportunity to create deeper connections and more value with every project.
“I prefer to think of a time horizon well after go live, like six to 12 months later,” Ross said.
“How has the project performed against expectations once it’s in the hands of the end users or customers?”
Ross knows that most of the benefit of a project is realised after the change is firmly embedded. That happens after the project closes and, depending on the size of the project or the complexity, it might take time before the client is getting the full value from their investment. This puts more focus on transition and handover as major milestones. The “go live” date becomes just another stepping stone on a longer journey.
Considering alternate perspectives of success
For a client to make the shift, it’s essential to bring another set of skills to the project mix, something Ross is particularly passionate about. These skills require project services staff to pause, remove themselves from the present issue at hand and consider what’s motivating the client. It might be as common as business KPIs but it can also be something more abstract, like fear or anxiety.
Personal qualities needed for successful engagements
Finding analytical skills in technology professionals is expected, but it’s the ability to analyse human qualities that interest Ross. Working at Zetta provides a rich opportunity to apply more than technical skills in your job.
“In our hiring process, we look for authenticity and genuineness,” Ross said.
“When I’m hiring, I love it when I find that authenticity because it builds connections with clients.
“Authenticity is so important because it helps foster trust.”
Patience and two-way communication
Trust is vital to the success of a major project because it allows Zetta to apply their expertise with understanding and balance. It requires patience and two-way communication. Even though customers may choose the same product and expect the same outcome, how it’s implemented from site to site might be entirely different due to a wide variety of hardware and software configurations.
“There are styles of communication and ways to take concepts and make them easily understandable for clients,” Ross said.
“There’s an ability to apply concepts to a specific situation that’s important in our team members.
“They’ve got to be able to adapt their thinking and their approach.”
Adapting to each unique project is essential because change is ever present no matter how much human nature would like things to remain predictable. Ross knows Zetta can do a better job when his team has the ability to adapt to each new situation.
Curiosity is crucial for long-term success
Curiosity is another human quality Ross finds valuable in his project team. Curiosity can manifest itself in different ways but it’s important that it comes back to what’s best for the client. Ross said it often starts when someone from Zetta notices something that isn’t related to the project at hand.
“A typical example is when one of our tech specialists recognises a potential problem that isn’t their responsibility in any way,” Ross said.
“They are able to share insights and knowledge the client didn’t otherwise have and weren’t directly related to the task that we’d been asked to do.”
That kind of attention to the client’s business – and not just to the project – creates long-term goodwill. Embracing this kind of broader perspective is a habit Ross encourages with his team.
What good looks like at Zetta
Finding the right technical skills in a global skills shortage is always a challenge. Under Ross’s leadership, he wants to ensure his team have more than intelligence and technical knowledge – he looks for people who bring a consultative attitude to their work.
The result is a far more rounded approach to project services, one that takes into consideration the immediate job to be done, but also the long-term success of the project.