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Propel 2021 Predictions: Delivering Superior Customer Experiences with Linked Solutions

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Delivering Superior Customer Experiences with Linked Solutions

By Dario Ambrosini, CMO, Propel

Notwithstanding any grandstanding to the contrary, the U.S. will have a peaceful transition of presidential power for the 45th consecutive time. This will be followed by a massive stimulus that will exacerbate the K-shaped recovery. The short term Covid impact will be incredibly difficult on some industries, but we will see a gradual recovery over the year as the pandemic is brought under control. The big unknown is how the economy will perform once stimulus is removed and it's expected to stand on its own. The stock market is already higher than it was before the pandemic, so who knows what's going to happen once we settle into our next normal. It's going to be a wild economic ride in 2021. The key to navigating these unknowns is flexibility.

The weaknesses of on-premises software were fully exposed in 2020 as product companies with these solutions struggled to navigate unforeseen challenges. The move to the cloud, a trend that started 20 years ago, will accelerate for categories that remain mostly on-prem, like enterprise resource planning (ERP) and product lifecycle management (PLM). While ERP has some strong cloud solutions, many legacy PLM providers offer half-baked cloud offerings that amount to little more than remote hosted versions of their on premise products. The push to the cloud will draw additional scrutiny to these cloud offerings, exposing why they cannot compete with the full benefits of cloud native solutions. 

2020 reinforced why the customer is king. Companies that manufactured products in high demand - such as personal protective equipment or home products (lucky them!) - or companies that were flexible enough to shift to these product categories once the need was known, saw significant revenue increases. But there was a catch: supply chain and distribution channels were also impacted, so companies had to quickly adjust to new realities required to bring products to market. Brand loyalty went out the window with consumers buying products that were readily available in channels that were convenient to them, even if that meant switching from their usual brands. And many stated they would stick with those new brands. The lesson here is to keep the customer happy at all times or risk losing them forever. 

2021 will see a rise in platform consolidation. As more and more companies see the benefits of delivering a unified customer experience across the entire company, platforms will become even more ubiquitous. Extensibility, data sharing across multiple solutions, unified reporting, and simplified IT stacks are just a few of the benefits that platforms deliver. More importantly, they allow companies to deliver seamless user experiences for both employees and customers. This is a proven way to increase long term employee and customer retention. Solutions providers that aren't part of a larger platform offering will find it's increasingly difficult to compete, while providers on winning platforms will experience huge tailwinds.

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About the Author

Dario Ambrosini 

Dario Ambrosini is Chief Marketing Officer at Propel, where he brings over a decade of marketing and operations experience with enterprise and SMB SaaS companies. Prior to joining Propel, Dario was COO/CMO at Manta and CMO at Switchfly, where he was the first dedicated marketing hire and built a team as the company scaled revenue 5x. Prior to that, he held marketing roles at Yahoo! and American Express. Dario graduated from UC Berkeley and holds an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA.  

Published Friday, January 15, 2021 7:43 AM by David Marshall
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