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Why 3n Strategy moved its services to a quarterly release cycle

In 2023 we moved our services to a quarterly release inspired approach. Read why we took these steps, and how it benefits our customers.

Last year, 3n Strategy adopted a quarterly release cycle for its services. As most of our customers work with cloud technologies, for most it was an unusual but useful way of re-position our service innovations. For other customers it has made little difference. Now that some time has passed, this blog is a reflection on why we made the move, and what our customers can expect from 2024 onwards.


It is easier for customers to get the services they need

Most businesses do not have a strong awareness for what a good people analytics and reporting strategy looks like, and what it includes. Beyond obvious functional support, many SuccessFactors customers are often unaware of the services they need a supplier to provide. 

By producing regular details about our services and our roadmap for how the services are evolving we solve two problems. Firstly, we believe it helps customers understand our services in the context of the problems they have - even if it has taken some time to understand the problem. Secondly, as many of our customers are on subscription services with us, it means they already have access to the services they need as they progress on their people analytics journey. 


Easier for 3n Strategy to communicate innovations in our people analytics services

As a supplier in the people analytics space, we constantly need to innovate the services we provide - in fact everyone in our consulting team has targets set on the amount of time they need to spend innovating each year. 

The inspiration for innovations will dependent. A lot of our innovations are inspired through the HR Analytics ThinkTank. The ThinkTank was designed to analyse people analytics, and while the ThinkTank gives most of those insights away to the community, we regular consider how industry insights should impact our services. Has there been a change in the impact people analytics can create? Are there new insights that should influence operating models? Which technologies add more value? Are there new ways we can help customers adopt a data-driven approach.

Other inspiration is drawn in reaction to our technology partners - mostly SAP. As SAP evolves its products, how can we build new services or amend existing services to ensure customers make the most of their technology investments and get most value?

The final inspiration is from our own use of technologies, and we consider is there a better experience we can give to our customers. From creating online digital strategy documents to the use of data journalism tools to feedback tools to the self-service functional guides, we are always looking to innovate. 

The quarterly release approach has become the perfect way to systematically communicate the existing value we create for customers. 


We can evolve our services to meet customer needs

The section above highlights how we proactively invest in our services to create more value for our customers - value that they might not even realise they need yet, through services they have never even considered before.

The final inspiration for innovations in our services come from our customers directly. By measuring the types of requests we get, and by asking customers to actively suggest new services or modify existing services, we are able to provide our customer community with the services they need.


It is easier for customers to use our services

Having said all the above, people analytics services are confusing, and while our consultants and account executives invest significant time in helping customers understand what is on offer, and what is already included within a subscription service, it can still be hard for customers to understand it all. 

By producing release notes and mapping our services to our customers problems and needs, it means that our customers make better use of our services, better use of our partners' services and generally get more value from working with us. 


Easier for us to give customers more - for no additional cost

Perhaps the best thing about our shift to a subscription-based services model and the introduction of our quarterly release process is that we can add more value - usually for minimal/no extra cost!

As our release approach allows us to prioritise the needs of our entire customer base, and most of our customers are with us for twelve to thirty-six months, it means we can scale our services and significantly reduce the costs. More often than not, we are able to offer entirely new services at no extra cost.


What to expect from our services and release cycle in 2024?

Having tested the quarterly release process in private last year, in 2024 will be adopting the approach more formally and publicly. So what can you expect?

  1. Quarterly Release Webinars. In January 2024 we will be hosting our first Quarterly Release Webinar - more details here.
  2. Quarterly Release Roadmap and Feedback. We will share our roadmaps with customers and create formal ways of them to impact our services.
  3. Major and Minor Releases. Like our technology partners, we will adopt a 'Major' vs 'Minor' terminologies for customers to understand the impact on them. 
  4. Continued Quarterly Progress Calls. We already have quarterly progress calls with most of our customers. From now on these will include dedicated time to our roadmap, ensure customers get the most value from what they have bought, and they can influence the future.


If you are a customer reading this, and you have further ideas for how we could improve the service to you, please contact your account executive or consultant and let them know. Perhaps we can have a roadmap release item about improving the roadmap release process itself!

Nigel Dias

Managing Director of 3n Strategy and Chair of the HR Analytics ThinkTank.

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