Digital transformation has changed how businesses operate, making them more agile and responsive to the markets they serve. But this transformation has come at a cost: a rambling web of software tools and applications, cloud infrastructures, and decentralized application services. And this complexity presents a big challenge to IT teams.

In tandem with digital transformation initiatives has been the rise of the remote workforce, making traditional network perimeters a thing of the past. Many IT resources now operate outside the corporate firewall and are vulnerable to cyber threats of all kinds. The result? A much larger and more varied attack surface.

Tackling complexity and the security risks it presents

As complexity has taken hold, IT organizations have armed themselves with a litany of best-of-breed tools to tackle their most pressing security challenges. A Forrester survey found that on average, organizations today use 20 or more tools from more than 10 vendors to secure and operate their environment. Many large enterprises use upwards of 40 to 50 tools — all best-of-breed point solutions. This is tool proliferation in the extreme.

A best-of-breed approach works — if it delivers the results an organization is looking for. However, when organizations suffer from outage after outage and critical vulnerabilities and patches go unresolved for months, the merits of a best-of-breed approach come into question.

Many CIOs believe the sheer number of tools in their organization limits — not enhances — the effectiveness of security and IT operations. But for most security teams, the best-of-breed approach has been the only option available.

The tyranny of best of breed

Twenty years ago, IT management solutions came as legacy platforms. They provided unified functionality, and their architectures for monitoring and acting on the environment worked under the relatively limited requirements of that era.

However, around 15 years ago, rapid changes in computing (advanced threats, increasing scale, IaaS, virtualization, remote work, cloud) drove requirements in functionality and coverage those platforms could not adequately deliver.

Enter the best-of-breed approach. Enterprises were forced to start buying point solutions to address the gaps, and every nuanced need, every new desired feature, and every response to changes in the environment bred its own tool requirement with several vendor options.

But best of breed has several drawbacks. Each tool offers different visibility and different data. Tools are often expensive to deploy, learn, and upgrade. They’re often not extensible to accommodate changes over time, so they have short shelf lives.

Tool consolidation — the return of the platform approach

To address tool proliferation, IT leaders need to step back, set all their tools and biases aside for a moment, and perform a tool audit:

Identify the results and capabilities your organization needs to deliver regardless of tools and technology.

Go through each tool individually and catalog the capabilities it provides.

Create a Venn diagram to see where overlap exists between these tools. The overlaps are your opportunities for consolidation.

This audit will help inventory your current state and start the process of tool consolidation via a platform approach.

With unified security operations platform, CIOs, CISOs, and CTOs can:

Monitor and optimize software needs to reduce unnecessary spending.

Eliminate legacy solutions and reduce unnecessary point tools and the infrastructure required to support them.

Unify endpoint management and security onto a single console.

Rally your IT teams around instant, accurate, and actionable data to maximize efficiency and minimize risk.

Proactively monitor and resolve end-user performance issues to lessen the burden on IT support resources.

Reduce mean-time-to-repair (MTTR) and the number of tickets to improve workplace productivity.

Improve IT decision-making around critical software change initiatives.

Smartly manage hardware lifecycles using historical data to assess the need for hardware refreshes.

Looking ahead

Remote work trends are here to stay. The need to manage and secure all types of endpoints (in and out of network) will only increase. So, it’s clear that with a distributed workforce, IT teams will continue managing and protecting endpoints physically outside corporate firewalls. A converged platform that yields visibility, control, and trustworthy data to IT teams will only grow more critical in a hybrid work environment.

A converged platform can deliver measurable results, such as

Reclaiming assets, eliminating point tools, and modernizing IT to reduce costs.

Increasing team efficiency by offering an accurate set of data and tools to boost performance and improve decision-making.

Gaining greater visibility and control across teams to mitigate potential IT outages and their associated costs.

Learn more about the benefits of Tanium’s Converged Endpoint Management (XEM) platform and the cost savings it can bring to your organization by signing up for a Tanium ROI report.


Italian insurer Reale Group found itself with four cloud providers running around 15% of its workloads, and no clear strategy to manage them. “It was not a result we were seeking, it was the result of reality,” said Marco Barioni, CEO of Reale ITES, the company’s internal IT engineering services unit.

Since then, Barioni has taken control of the situation, putting into action a multi-year plan to move over half of Reale Group’s core applications and services to just two public clouds in a quest for cost optimization and innovation.

Multicloud environments like Reale Group’s are already the norm for 98% of infrastructure-as-a-service or platform-as-a-service users — although not all of them are taking control of their situation the same way Barioni is.

That’s according to a new study of enterprise cloud usage by 451 Research, which also looked at what enterprises are running across multiple public clouds, and how they measure strategy success.

Two-thirds of those surveyed are using services from two or three public cloud providers, while 31% are customers of four or more cloud providers. Only 2% had a single cloud provider.

Those enterprises’ cloud environments became even more complex when taking into account their use of software-as-a-service offerings. Half of those surveyed used two to four SaaS providers, one-third used five to nine providers, and one-eighth used 10 or more. Only 4% said they used a single SaaS solution, no mean feat given the prevalence of Salesforce, Zoom, and online productivity suites such as Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace.

The study, commissioned by Oracle, looked at the activities of 1,500 enterprises around the world using IaaS or PaaS offerings, or planning to do so within the next six months. The research was conducted between July and September 2022.

Three years on from the first COVID-19 lockdowns, it’s clear the pandemic was a significant driver of multicloud adoption for 91% of those surveyed. But now that the immediate necessity of the switch to remote operations and remote management has passed, enterprises are seeking other benefits as they build their multicloud environments.

Why build a multicloud infrastructure?

The two most frequently cited motivations for using multiple cloud providers were data sovereignty or locality (cited by 41% of respondents) and cost optimization (40%). Enterprises in financial services, insurance, and healthcare were most concerned about where their data is stored, while cost was the biggest factor for those in real estate, manufacturing, energy, and technology.

Next came three related concerns: business agility and innovation (30%); best-of-breed cloud services and applications (25%); and cloud vendor lock-in concerns (25%). Going with a single cloud provider could prevent enterprises from accessing new technology capabilities (such as the much-hyped ChatGPT, which Microsoft is using to draw customers to its Azure cloud services), leave them with a second-best service from a cloud provider less invested in a given technology, or allow the provider to hold them hostage and raise prices.

Traditional benefits of duplicating IT infrastructure were least important, with greater resiliency or performance cited by 23% of respondents, and redundancy or disaster recovery capabilities by just 21%.

But there are still many factors holding back multicloud adoption in the enterprise. Cloud provider management was the most frequently cited (by 34% of respondents), followed by interconnectivity (30%). It was a tie for third place, with data governance issues, workload and data portability, regulatory compliance, and ensuring security across public clouds all cited by 24%.

“The degree to which benefits outweigh challenges may depend on whether multicloud is part of a broader IT transformation strategy … or the extent to which it addresses particular cost, organizational or governance concerns,” wrote Melanie Posey, author of the study. Simply having multiple public cloud environments to meet different users’ needs may be good enough for risk mitigation and cost arbitrage for some enterprises, she wrote, while others will want integrated environments in which workloads and data can run across multiple public clouds.

Reality bytes

Reale Groupe is still straddling those two states as IT leader Barioni moves the company from relationships with four hyperscalers that just happened toward a greater reliance on two that he chose.

His choice of clouds — Oracle’s OCI and Microsoft’s Azure — was constrained by Reale’s reliance on Oracle’s Exadata platform. “Our core applications all run on Oracle databases,” he said.

While several cloud providers offered the packaged services for machine learning and advanced process management he was looking for, the choice of Microsoft to host the remaining business applications came down to latency, he said. Oracle and Microsoft have closely integrated their infrastructure in the regions most important to Reale, allowing the company to build high-speed interconnects between applications running in each cloud. Reale will move its first integrated applications to the cloud in March 2023, he said.

Multicloud management

Johnson Controls is further along in its multicloud journey. It makes control systems for managing industrial processes and smart buildings, some of which can be managed from the cloud-based OpenBlue Platform run by CTO Vijay Sankaran. He said that, while the company has a primary cloud provider, it has chosen to architect its platform to operate across multiple clouds so it can meet its customers where they are.

That multicloud move has meant extra work, connecting everything to a common observability platform, and ensuring all security events feed up to a single, integrated virtual security operations center so that the various clouds can be monitored from a single pane of glass, he said. While the overhead of adding more cloud providers is to be expected, the same problem exists even when dealing with a single hyperscaler, as different regional instances may have specific controls that need to be put in place, he added.

The study also asked enterprises what key outcomes they expected from a multicloud management platform. Only 22% cited the single pane of glass that Sankaran relies on. The top responses were cloud cost optimization (33%), a common governance policy across clouds and integration with on-premises infrastructure (both 27%), improved visibility and analytics (26%), and integration with existing toolsets (25%).

Cost control

Whether an enterprise chooses to spread its workloads across more public clouds or concentrate them on fewer, it all seems to come back to managing cost.

Reale Group’s Barioni has a plan for that involving a core team with a mix of competencies: some technology infrastructure experts, and some with a deep knowledge of accounting. Developers tend to aim for the best technical solution, which is often not the most cost-efficient one, he said.

When applications run on premises, computing capacity — and therefore cost — is limited by what the data center can hold, whereas there are few limits on the computing capacity of the cloud — or its cost. Bringing together the technically minded and financially minded will help Barioni balance cost and performance in this new, unconstrained environment. “Every day, you have to take decisions on prioritizing your workloads and deciding how to optimize the computing power you have,” he said. “It’s a completely new mindset.”

Multi Cloud

Salesforce skills are among the most sought-after in the IT industry and demand is soaring. The most performant CRM system today, Salesforce is a core technology for digital business, and its associated applications and ecosystem help make it in a leading platform for those seeking a lucrative IT career.

Salesforce certification is an excellent path for acquiring niche knowledge and skills to push your IT career forward. Salesforce’s certification scheme changes often, and its paths and prerequisites can be confusing. Following is an up-to-date guide on certifications that Salesforce offers to help you earn a competitive edge leading to new opportunities.

Benefits of Salesforce certifications

Salesforce jobs range from the technical (architects, developers, implementation experts) to those related to marketing and sales. Each role varies in terms of the required depth of understanding of Salesforce platform.

Earning Salesforce certifications can set you apart for lucrative roles. The average salary for an entry-level Salesforce administrator is around US$100,750, and senior Salesforce administrators make approximately US$128,000, according to Salesforce Ben. According to a study by, 70% of Salesforce developers in the US are satisfied with their salaries given the cost of living in their area.

Salesforce certification overview

Salesforce certifications are based on a role-based scheme centered on six roles: Administrator, Architect, Consultant, Designer, Developer, and Marketer. Details about the certifications and certification paths for these roles are available below.

Salesforce Administrator certifications

Salesforce administrator certification emphasizes admin functions, including defining user requirements, customizing the platform, and helping users get the most out of Salesforce. The certification is offered at two levels: Administrator and Advanced Administrator. Administrators can earn additional certifications for app building, CPQ (configure price quote), and business analysis (see below).

Salesforce Administrator

A Salesforce Certified Administrator manages and maintains an organization’s Salesforce CRM system. This includes creating and modifying user accounts, managing data, creating and maintaining custom fields and objects, and configuring the system to meet organizational needs. The Salesforce Administrator certification demonstrates a candidate’s in-depth knowledge of the platform’s configuration and customization, as well as their proficiency with the platform’s features. To earn this cert, candidates should know how to maintain and modify Sales Cloud and Service Cloud applications; manage users, data, and security; and construct dashboards, reports, and workflows.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce Administrator60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100None

Salesforce Advanced Administrator

A Salesforce Certified Advanced Administrator has more advanced knowledge and experience compared to a Salesforce Administrator. They handle complex tasks such as customizing the platform, configuring advanced security features, and optimizing performance while ensuring the platform aligns with company requirements and goals. To earn the Salesforce Advanced Administrator certification, candidates should understand advanced Salesforce admin capabilities and be skilled at designing advanced reports, dashboards, and automation processes.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce Advanced Administrator60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100None

Salesforce CPQ Specialist

A Salesforce Certified CPQ Specialist is responsible for implementing and maintaining the Salesforce CPQ solution for an organization, ensuring accurate pricing and quotation processes while providing technical support to streamline sales operations. The Salesforce CPQ Specialist certification demonstrates a candidate’s ability to implement Salesforce CPQ solutions, design and build quoting flows to meet customer requirements, and troubleshoot platform issues. A candidate who earns the certification will have proved their ability to build bundle configurations, pricing, output documents, and renewals and amendments.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce CPQ Specialist60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100Salesforce Administrator

Salesforce Architect certifications

Salesforce Architects design and implement solutions on the Salesforce platform to meet specific organizational needs. This includes managing the technical aspects of Salesforce, such as customizing objects, fields, and validation rules, as well as developing and maintaining integrations with other systems.

Salesforce Application Architect

A Salesforce Certified Application Architect designs and develops custom solutions on the Salesforce platform. This certification requires deep understanding of Salesforce features and functionality, as well as the ability to model a role hierarchy, data model, and appropriate sharing mechanisms. While there is no cost associated with this certification, to earn this credential, candidates must complete all four certifications, each of which has its own associated exam and fee:

Salesforce Certified Data ArchitectSalesforce Certified Sharing and Visibility ArchitectSalesforce Certified Platform Developer I (see below under Salesforce Developer certification)Salesforce Certified Platform App Builder (see below under Salesforce Developer certification)

Salesforce Data Architect

A Salesforce Certified Data Architect designs and manages the data architecture and data integration strategies for a Salesforce implementation, ensuring data quality, security, and integrity to support business requirements and drive effective decision-making. To earn the Salesforce Data Architect certification, candidates should be able to design and implement data solutions within the Salesforce ecosystem, such as data modelling, data integration and data governance. 

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce Data Architect60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$400/$200None

Salesforce Sharing and Visibility Architect

A Salesforce Certified Sharing and Visibility Architect is responsible for designing and implementing the access controls, sharing models, and security settings in Salesforce, to ensure the appropriate sharing of data within an organization and protection of sensitive information. The Salesforce Sharing and Visibility Architect certification is designed for architects, analysts, and administrators with the knowledge and skills to design secure, scalable security models on To earn this certification, a candidate should be good at communicating technical solutions to technical stakeholders and ensuring quality and success through a structured project delivery framework.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce Sharing and Visibility Architect60 multiple-choice questions120 minutes$400/$200None

Salesforce System Architect  

A Salesforce certified System Architect focuses on the overall architecture of a Salesforce implementation, including the design of custom solutions, data architecture, security, performance, and scalability. The certification emphasizes testing, governance, and integration with external systems within an organization’s infrastructure. While there is no cost associated with this certification, to earn this credential, candidates must complete all four certifications, each of which has its own associated exam and fee: 

Salesforce Certified Development Lifecycle and Deployment ArchitectSalesforce Certified Identity and Access Management ArchitectSalesforce Certified Integration ArchitectureSalesforce Certified Platform Developer I (see below under Salesforce Developer certification)

Salesforce Development Lifecycle and Deployment Designer

A Salesforce Certified Development Lifecycle and Deployment Designer designs and manages the development, testing, and deployment processes for Salesforce projects. The Salesforce Certified Development Lifecycle and Deployment Architect credential is designed for those experienced with applying DevOps, Application Lifecycle Management, and governance to support client requirements.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce Development Lifecycle and Deployment Designer60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$400/$200None

Salesforce Identity and Access Management Designer

A Salesforce Certified Identity and Access Management Architect designs and implements security and access controls for a Salesforce implementation. The Salesforce Certified Identity and Access Management credential demonstrates a candidate’s knowledge, skills and capabilities at assessing identity architecture and designing secure, high-performance access management solutions on Customer 360.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce Identity and Access Management Designer60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$400/$200None

Salesforce Integration Architect

A Salesforce Certified Integration Architecture designs and implements integration strategies between Salesforce and other systems, ensuring seamless data exchange and the optimization of business processes through use of APIs, middleware, and other technologies. The Salesforce Integration Architect credentials exam shows a candidate’s fluency in effectively communicating technical solutions to technical stakeholders and providing a project delivery framework that ensures quality and success.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce Integration Architect60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$400/$200None

Salesforce B2B Solution Architect

A B2B (business-to-business) Solution Architect designs and implements solutions for businesses that operate in B2B context, leveraging Salesforce to optimize business processes, improve customer engagement, and drive growth for the organization. Prerequisites include earning Salesforce Application Architect certification (see above). Candidates must then successfully pass the Salesforce B2B Solution Architect exam, which tests their ability to architect and drive multicloud B2B solutions that deliver business value for the customer.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce B2B Solution Architect60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$400/$200Salesforce Administrator

Salesforce B2C Solution Architect

A Salesforce Certified B2C Solution Architect designs and implements solutions for businesses that operate in a B2C (business-to-consumer) context, leveraging Salesforce to enhance customer experiences, improve customer relationships, and drive growth. Once candidates have completed the three prerequisite certifications (chart below), they must successfully pass the Salesforce B2C Solution Architect exam, which tests their ability to design and implement multicloud solutions, as well as their understanding of the Salesforce Customer 360 Vision and Platform.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce B2C Solution Architect60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$400/$200Salesforce Platform App Builder Certification; Salesforce Integration Architect Certification; Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email Specialist Certification

Salesforce B2C Commerce Architect

A B2C Commerce Architect designs and implements commerce solutions for businesses that operate in a B2C (business-to-consumer) context. The B2C Commerce Architect Certification is designed for candidates who have expertise in designing global sites that support multiple brands and channels using standard design patterns and storefront integrations. Certification also designed for candidates with knowledge of the commerce ecosystem and solution architecture, including primary integrations for client business needs and process flows. 

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce B2C Commerce Architect60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$400/$200Salesforce B2C Commerce Developer

Salesforce Heroku Architect

A Salesforce Certified Heroku Architect designs and implements scalable, secure, high-performance applications on Heroku, leveraging the platform’s capabilities to deliver business-critical solutions for the organization. The Salesforce Heroku Architect certification is targeted for a Heroku Consultant or Partner who understands how to build scalable apps on Heroku and to apply Heroku best practices within the enterprise, as well as how to integrate Heroku apps with Salesforce via database, API, and event systems.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce Heroku Architect60 multiple-choice questions120 minutes$400/$200Salesforce B2C Commerce Developer

Salesforce Technical Architect

A Salesforce Certified Technical Architect designs and leads the implementation of complex, enterprise-level Salesforce solutions that align with an organization’s business objectives and technical requirements. Candidates must have hands-on experience as follows before taking the exam:

Over five years of implementation experience, including development, across the full software development lifecycleOver three years of experience in an architect roleOver two years of experience on the Lightning Platform with at least one of those in a lead architect role, implementing Salesforce applications and technologies

The prerequisite include earning the Salesforce Application Architect (see above) and Salesforce System Architect (see above) certifications both of which are granted after all respective prerequisites for each is completed.

To earn the Salesforce Technical Architect certification (post completion of the prerequisite and experience), the candidate must successfully pass the Architect Review Board Evaluation (step 1) and the Architect Review Board Exam (step 2).

Technical Architect Review Board Evaluation: The candidate must review and solve a hypothetical situation and then present their solution to a panel of evaluators, who lead a question-and-answer session after the presentation.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsTechnical Architect Review Board EvaluationOnline format: Solve hypothetical scenario60 minutes for solution preparation, 30 minutes for presentation, 30-minute Q&A, and additional 45-minute Q&A$1,500/$750Salesforce Application Architect; Salesforce System Architect

Technical Architect Review Board Exam:

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsTechnical Architect Review Board EvaluationOnline format: Solve hypothetical scenario180 minutes for solution preparation, 45 minutes for presentation, 40-minute Q&A, 45-minute additional Q&A$4,500/$2,500Technical Architect Review Board Evaluation

Salesforce Consultant certification

Salesforce offers 10 certifications for customer-facing consultants who design and implement solutions in their area of expertise. In addition to the 10 they can also pursue Salesforce marketing cloud consultant certification covered under Salesforce marketing certifications

Salesforce Business Analyst

A Salesforce Certified Business Analyst bridges the gap between business requirements and technical solutions, using their knowledge of Salesforce to analyze, design, and recommend solutions that drive success for the organization. The Salesforce Business Analyst Certification tests a candidate’s ability to capture requirements, collaborate with stakeholders, and support the development of solutions that drive business improvements.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce Business Analyst60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100Salesforce Administrator

Salesforce Education Cloud Consultant

A Salesforce Certified Education Cloud Consultant designs and implements solutions for the education industry using Salesforce Education Cloud. The Salesforce Education Cloud Consultant certification demonstrates that a candidate has experience consulting within the education industry and has expertise in Salesforce applications, including the knowledge required to apply several applications in common customer scenarios.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce Education Cloud Consultant60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100Salesforce Administrator

Experience Cloud Consultant

A Salesforce certified Experience Cloud Consultant designs and implements solutions using Salesforce Experience Cloud. This includes leveraging the platform’s features to enhance customer experiences and improve business processes. The Salesforce Experience Cloud Consultant certification is for candidates with experience consulting on Experience Cloud in a customer-facing role and can troubleshoot and solve platform issues.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsExperience Cloud Consultant60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100Salesforce Administrator

Salesforce Field Service Consultant

A Salesforce Field Service Consultant implements and optimizes the Field Service module within the Salesforce Service Cloud. This includes working with clients to design and configure FSL for their field service operations, such as scheduling, dispatch, and mobile workforce management, and providing ongoing support to ensure continued success with Field Service. The Salesforce Field Service Consultant certification recognizes professionals who design Salesforce solutions for customers and who administer and configure Salesforce applications on customer premises.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce Field Service Consultant60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100Salesforce Administrator; Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant 

Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud Consultant

A Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud Consultant plays a critical role in helping nonprofit organizations to utilize Salesforce for managing their operations. The role involves consulting with clients to understand their needs, customizing Salesforce to meet those needs, providing training and support, and ensuring that the platform is being used effectively and efficiently to support organizational goals. Candidates with this credential can successfully design and implement Nonprofit Cloud solutions that contribute to long-term customer success.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce Nonprofit Cloud Consultant60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100Salesforce Administrator

OmniStudio Consultant

A Salesforce OmniStudio Consultant creates and implements solutions using Salesforce OmniStudio,  working with clients to understand their business requirements and customizing the platform to meet those needs. The Salesforce OmniStudio Consultant certification is ideal for candidates with at least one year of Salesforce experience in one or more roles such as Business Analyst; Business Consultant; Solution Architect; Delivery Manager/Director; Project, Product, or Program Manager; or UX Designer

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsOmniStudio Consultant60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100None

Salesforce Pardot Consultant

A Salesforce Pardot Consultant helps organizations maximize their investment in the Salesforce Pardot marketing automation platform, working with clients to understand their needs and leveraging use the platform to optimize lead generation. The Salesforce Pardot Consultant certification is for professionals experienced with implementing Pardot and who can explain Salesforce administration concepts that relate to Pardot features.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce Pardot Consultant60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100Salesforce Pardot Specialist

Salesforce Sales Cloud Consultant

A Salesforce Sales Cloud Consultant helps organizations leverage Salesforce Sales Cloud to manage their sales processes. This includes configuring and customizing the platform, providing training and support to users, and implementing best practices for sales management. To earn the Salesforce Sales Cloud Consultant certification, candidates must be able to design and implement Sales Cloud solutions, including application and interface design, and be able to manage and design analytics for tracking purposes.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce Sales Cloud Consultant60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100Salesforce Administrator

Service Cloud Consultant 

A Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant designs and implements solutions for a company’s customer service using Salesforce Service Cloud, working with clients to understand their business requirements and configuring the platform to suit their needs. This Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant certification recognizes individuals who design solutions for contact centers, as well as analytics solutions for metric tracking. This credential proves that you can design, build, and implement Service Cloud functionality.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsService Cloud Consultant60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100Salesforce Administrator

Saleforce Tableau CRM & Einstein Discovery Consultant

A Salesforce Tableau CRM & Einstein Discovery Consultant helps organizations use Salesforce CRM, Tableau, and Einstein Discovery tools to manage customer relationships, visualize and analyze data, and make informed business decisions. The consultant provides implementation, customization, and integration expertise in these technologies, as well as training and support. The Tableau CRM & Einstein Discovery Consultant credential is intended for individuals experienced with data ingestion processes, security and access implementations, and dashboard creation.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSaleforce Tableau CRM & Einstein Discovery Consultant60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100None

Salesforce Marketing certification

Salesforce also offers certifications aimed at marketing professionals, including two for Salesforce’s B2B marketing automation platform Pardot. In addition to the detailed certifications below, Salesforce Marketeers can also pursue Marketing Cloud Developer certifications (covered under Salesforce Developer Certification) and Pardot Consultant certification (covered under Salesforce Consultant Certification).

Salesforce Marketing Cloud Administrator

A Salesforce Marketing Cloud Administrator manages and configures Salesforce Marketing Cloud to meet the organization’s marketing automation and communication needs. This involves setting up email templates, managing data, configuring integrations, and monitoring performance. The Salesforce Marketing Cloud Administrator certification tests a candidate’s ability to execute administrative functions within Marketing Cloud in accordance with business requirements.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce Marketing Cloud Administrator60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100None

Salesforce Marketing Cloud Consultant

A Salesforce Marketing Cloud Consultant helping organizations use Salesforce Marketing Cloud to achieve their marketing goals, by identifying client needs, designing and implementing solutions, and providing ongoing support and training. To earn the Marketing cloud consultant certification candidates must be able to configure and implement Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email application tools and troubleshoot platform issues and should be able to provide solutions to execute both tactical and strategic email campaigns.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce Marketing Cloud Consultant60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100Salesforce Marketing Cloud Administrator

Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email Specialist

A Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Email Specialist designs, executes, and optimizes email marketing campaigns using Salesforce Marketing Cloud, ensuring the effective delivery of targeted and relevant messages to drive engagement and improve business outcomes. The Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Email Specialist certification is designed for individuals who can demonstrate knowledge, skills, and experience in email marketing best practices in the areas of content creation, subscriber and data management, delivery, and analytics within the Marketing Cloud Email application.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce Marketing Cloud Email Specialist60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$400/$200Salesforce Platform App Builder Certification; Salesforce Integration Architect Certification; Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email Specialist Certification

Salesforce Pardot Specialist

A Salesforce Pardot Specialist manages and optimizes a company’s use of the Salesforce Pardot marketing automation platform. This includes configuring and customizing the platform to meet business needs, creating and executing marketing campaigns, analyzing and reporting on campaign performance, and ensuring the platform is integrated with other sales and marketing tools. To earn the Pardot Specialist certification, candidates should be able to design and build marketing campaigns within Pardot and be versed with email marketing, lead generation, and lead qualification.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce Pardot Specialist60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100None

Salesforce Designer certification

Salesforce offers two certifications under the Designer credentials: one centered around User Experience and the other around Strategy Designing.

Salesforce User Experience Designer

A Salesforce User Experience (UX) Designer designs and improves the UI and overall experience of Salesforce. This includes conducting user research, prototyping, testing, and creating user-centered design solutions to meet business requirements. The User Experience (UX) Designer credential is for candidates who have a baseline knowledge of problem-solving and design using core UX concepts and who are able to use’s core features.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce User Experience Designer60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100None

Salesforce Strategy Designer

Salesforce Strategy Designer helps create and visualize sales and customer success strategies with Salesforce. The designer addresses challenges at the system level, maps out ecosystems, aligns stakeholders across organizations, and incorporates user insights to drive innovation. The Salesforce Strategy Designer Certification validates candidates’ ability to design systems-level solutions toward desired business and user outcomes. Candidates with this credential also have the expertise to lead innovation across product lifecycles.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce Strategy Designer60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100None

Salesforce Developer certifications

Salesforce developer credentials are for professionals who build custom applications on the platform. This track includes the Salesforce Certified Platform Application Builder, which can also be applied to the Salesforce Administrator track. There are two types of developer certifications: the two-tiered platform developer credentials and one aimed at developing ecommerce solutions.

Salesfoce B2C Commerce Developer

A Salesforce B2C Commerce Developer designs, builds, and maintains the e-commerce platform for businesses to interact with their customers. They create custom functionality and integrate the platform with other systems to enhance the customer experience and drive sales. Candidates should be experienced full-stack developers for Salesforce B2C Commerce Digital. The B2C Commerce Developer certification is geared toward those adept at setting up the development environment, working with the digital data model, working with site content, using Salesforce Business Manager to perform site configuration tasks, using scripts to extend site business logic, interacting with external applications, optimizing site performance, and troubleshooting.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesfoce B2C Commerce Developer60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100None

Salesforce Industries CPQ Developer

A Salesforce Industries CPQ Developer customizes and implements Salesforce CPQ solutions for clients in industries such as Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Financial Services. They work to streamline the quoting and proposal process by automating pricing, discounts, and product bundles while ensuring compliance with industry regulations. The Industries CPQ Developer certification is created for candidates who have experience developing configure, price, quote applications for Salesforce Communications, Media, and Energy & Utilities Clouds.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce Industries CPQ Developer60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100None

Salesforce JavaScript Developer I

A Salesforce JavaScript Developer I creates and implements custom JavaScript code within Salesforce to meet specific business needs, using JavaScript, Apex, and other programming languages to build, test, and deploy custom applications, automations, and integrations. This Salesforce JavaScript Developer I certification is intended for candidates owning the knowledge, skills, and experience developing front-end and/or JavaScript applications for the web stack. The certification comprises two parts: the JavaScript Developer I exam and the Lightning Web Components Specialist Superbadge, which vets hands-on Lightning Web Component development skills.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce JavaScript Developer I60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100None

Salesforce Marketing Cloud Developer

A Salesforce Marketing Cloud Developer designs and implements marketing automation solutions using Salesforce Marketing Cloud, working with stakeholders to understand business requirements and to design effective marketing campaigns. The Salesforce Marketing Cloud Developer certification is designed for candidates who can develope effective, personalized marketing assets such as emails, landing pages, and forms leveraging HTML, CSS, and AMPscript. To earn this cert, candidates should be proficient in SQL and have experience using Marketing Cloud APIs.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce Marketing Cloud Developer60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email Specialist

Salesforce OmniStudio Developer

A Salesforce OmniStudio Developer designs, develops, and maintains custom applications using Salesforce Lightning, Apex, and Visualforce. They also create, configure, and customize components in Salesforce OmniStudio. This Salesforce OmniStudio Developer credential demonstrates a candidate’s ability to develop cloud applications with OmniStudio declarative development tools, including FlexCards, OmniScripts, Integration Procedures, DataRaptors, Expression Sets and Decision Matrices, and Industry Consoles.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce OmniStudio Developer60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email Specialist

Salesforce Platform Application Builder

A Platform App Builder creates custom applications leveraging tools such as Apex, Visualforce, and Lightning components. The Salesforce Platform App Builder certification is for individuals who want to exhibit their skills in designing, building, and deploying custom applications on the Lightning Platform, including creating, managing, and updating data models, application security, business logic, and process automation.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce Platform Application Builder60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100None

Salesforce Platform Developer I

A Platform developer creates and deploys business logic and UIs using the programmatic capabilities of Lightning. The Salesforce Platform Developer I credential is intended for individuals experienced in building custom applications on Lightning.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce Platform Developer I60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100None

Salesforce Platform Developer II

A Salesforce Platform Developer II builds custom solutions using Apex, Visualforce, and other programming languages. They play a crucial role in designing, coding, testing, and deploying complex business requirements to meet the needs of the organization. To achieve the Salesforce Platform Developer II certification candidates must be experts in the advanced programmatic capabilities of the platform and data modelling so they can develop complex business logic and interfaces on the platform. The certification involves a multiple-choice exam, a programming assignment, and an essay exam. To pass, candidates must be able to design, develop, test, and deploy maintainable, robust, and reusable programmatic solutions following Apex design patterns and object-oriented best practices.

CertificationExam FormatDurationCost/RetakePrerequisite CertsSalesforce Platform Developer II60 multiple-choice questions105 minutes$200/$100Salesforce Platform Developer I

Careers, Certifications, CRM Systems, IT Jobs, IT Skills,

Over the last decade, many organizations have turned to cloud technologies on their journey to become a digital business. The advantages of multi-cloud are well-documented: efficiency, flexibility, speed, agility, and more. Yet without consistent, comprehensive management across all clouds – private, hybrid, public, and even edge – the intended benefits of multi-cloud adoption may backfire. Increasingly, multi-cloud operations have become a priority for organizations to successfully negotiate cloud adoption.

Today, not only are competitors more aggressive and margins tighter, but partners, customers, and employees also have higher expectations and greater demands. As organizations continue to adapt and accelerate service delivery, they need to look to modern management solutions to simplify and speed  access to the infrastructure and application services teams need, when they need them – without increasing business risk. By deploying solutions that offer comprehensive capabilities with a common control plane, organizations can unify their multi-cloud operations to improve infrastructure and application performance, gain visibility into costs, and reduce configuration and operational risks.

Multi-Cloud Management Challenges

Almost every digital business today faces the issue of complexity when it comes to managing its multi-cloud operations. As organizations have moved away from managing single data centers to managing hybrid and native public clouds, the scope and scale of management have exploded into countless moving parts. Organizations can face complexity due to siloed infrastructure, user access policies, multiple APIs, billing, and lack of a formal operations plan that ensures processes and security remain consistent across multiple clouds.

With so many moving parts, organizations can also face siloed teams that in many cases have to contend with different cloud constructs, including different definitions of the infrastructure services provided by those clouds and different policies for security and compliance. In addition, teams often deploy different tools to manage their various clouds. A fragmented approach to operational priorities for cloud services makes it difficult to get a holistic view of how an organization uses cloud services, shares best practices, and ensures sufficient governance. Not only can disconnected operations impede an organization’s ability to run efficiently, but also impact their ability to troubleshoot problems and recover from outages quickly. Siloed teams and the sprawl of management solutions can also result in a lack of visibility into cloud costs.

As we enter an uncertain market in 2023, organizations face increasing pressure to control their cloud spending. Complexity is the enemy of cost optimization. As a result of different pricing structures across different cloud provider services and siloed teams, organizations are often struggling to predict future spend. In fact, according to a recent VMware study, more than 41% of organizations want to optimize their existing use of cloud to save on costs.

The Benefits of Unifying Multi-Cloud Operations

As organizations mature in their multi-cloud management strategies, they increasingly recognize that success depends on having comprehensive visibility. Organizations cannot manage what they can’t see. Although management solutions have been around for a very long time, comprehensive visibility has yet to be fully appreciated or achieved by businesses.

Cloud management powers your cloud operating model by helping you manage, control, and secure your cloud environments. A unified approach to multi-cloud management enables consistent and seamless operations across clouds, simplifying cloud adoption, streamlining app migrations, and accelerating modernization. An effective, efficient cloud operating model today requires a modern management solution such as VMware Aria. By bringing together a comprehensive visual map of multi-cloud environments with actionable management insights, VMware Aria enables organizations to leverage end-to-end intelligent operations across clouds to improve performance, lower costs and reduce risk.

As we enter a year of uncertainty, agility is the key to resilience and growth, and no matter where organizations are at in their cloud journey, a cloud operating model rolled out with modern, comprehensive, multi-cloud management solutions will bring consistency and efficiency to managing all types of clouds. More importantly, it will allow business leaders to quickly adapt, respond, and innovate on the fly which will prove critical to staying competitive.

To learn more, visit us here.

Cloud Computing

It feels like just yesterday that we were promised that cloud servers cost just pennies. You could rent a rack with the spare change behind the sofa cushions and have money left for an ice cream sandwich.

Those days are long gone. When the monthly cloud bill arrives, CFOs are hitting the roof. Developer teams are learning that the pennies add up, sometimes faster than expected, and it’s time for some discipline.

Cloud cost managers are the solution. They track all the bills, allocating them to the various teams responsible for their accumulation. That way the group that added too many fancy features that need too much storage and server time will have to account for their profligacy. The good programmers who don’t use too much RAM and disk space can be rewarded.

Smaller teams with simple configurations can probably get by with the stock services of the cloud companies. Cost containment is a big issue for many CIOs now and the cloud companies know it. They’ve started adding better accounting tools and alarms that are triggered before the bills reach the stratosphere. See Azure Cost Management, Google Cloud Cost Management, and AWS Cloud Financial Management tools for the big three clouds.

Once your cloud commitment gets bigger, independent cost management tools start to become attractive. They’re designed to work with multiple clouds and build reports that unify the data for easy consumption. Some even track the machines that run on premises so you can compare the cost of renting versus building out your own server room.

In many cases, cloud cost managers are part of a larger suite designed to not just watch the bottom line but also enforce other rules such as security. Some are not marketed directly as cloud control tools but have grown to help solve this problem. Some tools for surveying enterprise architectures or managing software governance now track costs at the same time. They can offer the same opportunities for savings that purpose-built cloud cost tools do — and they help with their other management chores as well.

What follows is an alphabetical list of the best cloud cost tracking tools. The area is rapidly expanding as enterprise managers recognize they need to get a grip on their cloud bills. All of them can help govern the burgeoning empire of server instances that may stretch around the world.


The first job for Anodot’s collection of cloud monitoring tools is to track the flow of data through the various services and applications. If there’s an anomaly or hiccup that will affect users, it will raise a flag. Tracking the cost of instances and pods across your multiple clouds is part of this larger job. The dashboard produces a collection of infographics that make it possible to study each microservice or API and determine just how much it costs to keep it running in times of high demand and low. This granular detail gives you the ability to spot the expensive workloads and find a way to prune them.

Standout features:

Integrated with a broader monitoring system to deliver better customer experience at a reasonable priceAvailable as a white-label platform for integration and reselling


Tracking and reining in containers in a Kubernetes environment is the goal for Cisco’s AppDynamics, formerly known as Replex. The tool is now part of a larger system that watches clusters in public clouds or running locally to ensure they are performing correctly. Tracking costs is just one small part of a system that is constantly gathering statistics and watching for anomalies. One important reporting process charges back costs to the teams responsible for them so everyone can understand what’s creating the monthly bill. AppDynamics also offers a proprietary machine learning engine to turn historical data into a plan for efficient deployment. A policy control layer offers granular restrictions to ensure teams have access to what they need but are locked out of what they don’t.

Standout features:

Integrates cost management with general application monitoringConnect user experiences and business results for every layer of the software stack

Apptio Cloudability

Apptio makes a large collection of tools for managing IT shops, and Cloudability is its tool for handling cloud costs. The tool breaks down the various cloud instances in use, allocating them to your teams for accounting purposes. Ideally, teams will be able to control their own costs and predict future usage with the reports and dashboards on offer. Cloudability’s True Cost Explorer, for instance, offers pivotable charts to switch between aggregated variables to establish accurate plans and predict future usage. Cloudability integrates with ticketing tools such as Jira for planning and with tracking tools such as PagerDuty or Datadog for monitoring.

Standout features:

Planning future purchasing of reserved instances to lock in savings for the constant demandAllocating upcoming workloads to available instances of the right capabilities


Dashboards created by CloudAdmin are simple and direct. The tool tracks cloud usage and offers suggestions for rightsizing your servers or converting them to reserved instances. Server instances can be allocated to teams and then tracked with a budget. If spending crosses a defined line, alerts are integrated with email or other common communication tools such as PagerDuty to notify personnel of the need for attention.

Standout features:

Carefully filtered data feeds extract the key details about spending to save time wading through too much informationAutomated alerts can stop runaway spending when it crosses thresholds


CloudCheckr focuses on controlling cloud costs and security. The tool is part of NetApp’s Spot constellation for cloud management and is responsible for cost management by tracking standard spending events, such as consumption, forecasting, and the rightsizing of instances. The tool supports reselling for companies that add their own layers to commodity cloud instances. A white label option makes it possible to pass through all the reporting and charts to help your customers understand their billing. There’s also a focus on supporting public clouds used by governments.

Standout features:

Monitor compliance with privacy regulations by tracking security configurationRightsize reserved instances by tracking baseline consumption


Watching over cloud machines, networks, serverless platforms, and other applications is the first job for Datadog’s collection of tools. Tracking cloud costs is just one part of the workload. Its telemetry gathers data about performance and cost, and Datadog builds this into a dashboard to help organizations understand both application cost and performance. The goal is to facilitate decisions about application performance with an eye on the price of delivering it. Understanding the tradeoff can lead to cost savings.

Standout features:

Broad suite for infrastructure monitoring across multiple cloudsMonitoring of real users and simulated users make it easier to deliver a better user experience


Densify builds a collection of tools for managing cloud infrastructure by juggling containers and VMware instances. The best way to run your clusters, according to Densify, is to keep precise, meticulous records of load and then use this data to scale up and down quickly. Densify’s optimizers focus on cloud resources such as instances, Kubernetes clusters, and VMware machines. Densify suggests this approach improves scaling by 30%. Densify’s FinOps tool generates extensive reports to help keep application developers and bean counters happy.

Standout features:

Track loads on machines to ensure rightsized instance allocationBuild reports summarizing consumption to help developers rightsize hardware

Flexera One

The Flexera One cloud management suite tackles many cloud management tasks, such as tracking assets or organizing governance to orchestrate control. An important section of the suite is devoted to controlling the budget. The tool offers multicloud accounting for tracking spending with elaborate reporting broken down by team and project. Flexera One also offers suggestions for optimizing consumption by targeting wasteful allocations, and it provides automated systems to put these observations into practice. The tool also integrates machine learning and artificial intelligence to help analyze consumption patterns across multiple clouds.

Standout features:

Integrates reporting across multiple clouds to help business groups understand costsIdentifies options for rightsizing instances and eliminating wasteful spending


DevOps teams can use the CI/CD pipeline that’s the central part of Harness to automate deployment and then, once the code is running, track usage to keep budgets in line. Harness’s cost management features watch for anomalies compared to historic spending, generating alerts for teams. A feature for automatically stopping unused instances can work with spot machines, effectively unlocking their potential for cost savings while working around their ephemeral nature.

Standout features:

Deep integration with the development pipeline to make cost savings part of the software creation processAutomated compliance integrates cost management with regulatory and governance work


Teams that rely on Kubernetes to deploy pods of containers can install Kubecost to track spending. It will work across all major (and minor) clouds as well as pods hosted on premises. Costs are tracked as Kubernetes adjusts to handle loads and are presented in a unified set of reports. Large jumps or unexpected deployments can trigger alerts for human intervention.

Standout features:

Optimized for tracking how Kubernetes deployments affect costsDynamic recommendations track opportunities for lowering spending


DevOps teams rely on ManageEngine to track a range of potential issues from security to API endpoint overload. Its CloudSpend tool will extract data from cloud spreadsheet bills and aggregate it to provide a useful, actionable level of understanding. Costs can be charged back to the specific teams, and ManageEngine’s predictive analytics will plan reserved instances based on historical data. Currently available for AWS and Azure.

Standout features:

Spend Analysis drills down deeply into the data to granular detailMulti-currency support for worldwide deployment

Nutanix Xi

Organizations with large multicloud deployments can use Nutanix Cost Management (formerly Beam) to track costs across a range of installations, including private cloud machines hosted on premises. The tool can be customized to generate accurate cost estimates of private installations by taking into account heating and cooling costs, hardware, and data center rent. This makes it easier to make accurate decisions about allocating workloads to the lowest-cost deployment. The process can be automated to simplify management and forward-planning for budgeting for reserved instances.

Standout features:

Metering of private clouds builds direct insight into the costs of on-prem hardwareBudget alerting and dynamic optimization help rightsize consumption to minimize costs


Teams running extensive collections of microservices rely on ServiceNow to manage some of the stack. Many of the tools are customer-facing solutions like IT automation, but there are also more backend tools for optimizing IT operations by intelligently managing performance. Newer AIOps can deliver artificial intelligence solutions too.

Standout features:

Broad selection of tools for tracking and optimizing IT assetsRisk management well integrated with governance tools


IBM relies on Turbonomic to deliver an AI-powered solution for managing deployment to match application demand with infrastructure. The tool will automatically start, stop, and move applications in response to demand. The data driving these decisions is stored in a warehouse to train the AI that will be making future decisions. The latest version includes a new dashboard and reporting framework based on Grafana.

Standout features:

Full-stack integrated graphics to understand demand and cost across an applicationDesigned to automate resource allocation to save engineering teams from the chore

VMware Aria CloudHealth

VMware built Aria Cost and Aria Automation under the CloudHealth brand to manage deployments across all major cloud platforms as well as hybrid clouds. The cost accounting module tracks spending, allocating it to business teams while optimizing deployments to minimize costs. The modeling layer can build out amortization and consumption schedules to forecast future demand. Financial managers and development teams can drill down into these forecasts to focus on specific applications or constellations of services. The larger product line integrates the cost management with automated deployment and security enforcement.

Standout features:

Spending governance ensures that teams are following individual budgets for resource consumptionIntegrate cloud costs with business metrics and key performance indicators to understand the connection between computational costs and the bottom line


Much of the responsibility for cloud costs comes from the engineers who write and deploy the code. They make the granular decisions to startup more instances and store more data. Yotascale wants to put more information in their hands to enable them to optimize their hardware consumption with tools designed to track machines and allocate their costs directly to the teams responsible. The forecasting tools can also spot anomalies, raising alerts to prevent any surprise bills at the end of the month.

Standout features:

Engineer-targeted tools deliver budget information directly to the teams building the software and starting up the machinesAutomated tracking delivers forecasts and flags problems and overconsumption


While many cloud managers offer insights through sophisticated reports, Zesty is designed to automate the work of spinning up and shutting down extra instances. A key feature enables it to watch the spot market for deeply discounted instances with excess capacity on the cloud. It offers a tool informed by artificial intelligence algorithms that can work with AWS’s API to make decisions that keep just enough machines running to satisfy users without breaking the budget. The tool can even control the amount of disk space allocated to individual machines while buying and selling processor time on the spot from reserved instance marketplaces.

Standout features:

Deep management of details such as storage space allocation to minimize costsIntegration with spot market to take advantage of the lowest possible costs
Cloud Computing, Cloud Management

With the cloud becoming such an integral part of the IT strategies of so many enterprises, it’s natural that managing the expense of all these services would be an emerging priority for executives.

Although the cloud is touted by providers as a way to potentially save money because of greater efficiencies and shared expenses, an abundance of cloud-based resources can also lead to cost runaways if not managed properly. That’s where FinOps comes in.

What is FinOps?

Blending the terms finance and operations, FinOps is a business discipline and set of best practices and technologies for optimizing enterprise cloud spend.

The FinOps Foundation’s Technical Advisory Council further defines FinOps as “an evolving cloud financial management discipline and cultural practice that enables organizations to get maximum business value by helping engineering, finance, technology, and business teams to collaborate on data-driven spending decisions.”

The foundation, a program of the Linux Foundation dedicated to advancing people who practice the discipline of cloud financial management through best practices, education, and standards, says at its core FinOps is a cultural practice for managing cloud costs — one in which everyone takes ownership of their cloud usage supported by a central best-practices group

The term “FinOps” comes from the DevOps software development model, with the addition of the financial component, and emphasizes communications and collaboration among various teams involved in the use of cloud services.

“The FinOps market is white hot today, growing faster than both IT general and public cloud spending,” says Jevin Jensen, research vice president of Intelligent CloudOps Market service at IDC. “I expect this to continue as IT budgets will be under increasing pressure in 2023. FinOps culture change and the rapidly advancing cloud cost transparency tools offer an excellent opportunity for enterprises to realize tremendous cost savings.”

How does FinOps work?

As a practice, FinOps operates by bringing together representatives from IT operations, development, finance, and procurement, as well as business unit leaders, Jensen says. Doing so gives the organization a central, cross-functional team focused on optimizing the enterprise’s outlay in the cloud.

“Enterprises can create a single source of truth for cloud spending,” Jensen says. “Additionally, they can develop metrics and set goals for each metric, including forecasting cloud spending, targeting saving opportunities, and benchmarking future cloud projects before approval.”

Agreeing on the charge-back method of cloud spending is another important task for a FinOps team, Jensen says. “FinOps is more about people and processes than a technology tool,” he says. “The tool is still an important enabler for the FinOps team. The FinOps culture change is about collaboration, spending accountability, and ensuring anticipated return on investment.”

The FinOps Foundation lists six principles of FinOps:

Teams need to collaborateEveryone takes ownership of their cloud usageA centralized team drives FinOpsReports should be accessible and timelyDecisions are driven by the business value of the cloudTake advantage of the variable cost model of the cloud

Why do organizations need FinOps?

“FinOps brings financial accountability — including financial control and predictability — to the variable spend model of cloud,” says J.R. Storment, executive director of the FinOps Foundation. “This is increasingly important as cloud spending makes up ever more of IT budgets.”

It also enables organizations to make informed trade-offs between speed, cost, and quality in their cloud architecture and investment decisions, Storment says. “And organizations get maximum business value by helping engineering, finance, technology, and business teams collaborate on data-driven spending decisions,” he says.

Aside from bringing together the key people who can help an organization gain better control of its cloud spending, FinOps can help reduce cloud waste, which IDC estimates between 10% to 30% for organizations today.

“Moving from show-back cloud accounting, where IT still pays and budgets for cloud spending, to a charge-back model, where individual departments are accountable for cloud spending in their budget, is key to accelerating savings and ensuring only necessary cloud projects are implemented,” Jensen says.

And because FinOps facilitates improved collaboration and communication among groups around cloud use, organizations can reduce or eliminate redundant applications and cloud initiatives, Jensen says.

FinOps “is the management of cloud economics,” says Lydia Leong, distinguished vice president and analyst at Gartner. “Ideally, it should not merely be cloud financial operations, but a broader perspective that maximizes the value of cloud computing rather than minimizing the cost. Properly done, FinOps helps an organization contemplate the business value it is receiving — or not receiving — from its cloud use, so it can decide how best to optimize its investments.”

What are some best practices for adopting FinOps?

When implementing FinOps, one best practice is to create a cloud center of excellence (CoE) to centralize the organization’s FinOps approach. “Neither technology nor finance can go it alone; this needs to be a cross-functional initiative,” says R.J. Hazra, senior vice president and CFO of global technology and security at consumer credit reporting agency Equifax.

The multinational consumer credit reporting company is using Apptio’s Cloudability platform integrated with a general ledger system and configuration management database for enterprise reporting on cloud usage, trending, and anomaly detection. It created a cloud CoE composed of sourcing, financial planning and analysis, and site reliability engineers, Hazra says. The CoE set up a strategy to better align cloud spending with the firm’s goals, and set targets for all of its cloud platforms to drive shared accountability.

Still, FinOps needs to be a cultural practice across the organization, not something that’s solely the responsibility of a “FinOps team,” Gartner’s Leong says. “It requires collaboration between business leaders — the business owners of applications — application developers or application management teams, cloud operations, finance, and sourcing/procurement/vendor management,” she says. “FinOps is a continuous process, not just a monthly cycle of playing whack-a-mole with the cloud bills.”

Designating a FinOps practitioner is an essential first step, IDC’s Jensen says. “This person is the evangelist of FinOps for your organization, and should have a solid understanding of IT and financial constructs.”

This individual will need sponsorship from a C-level executive, such as a CFO or CEO, to establish a cross-functional team and hold them accountable for meeting regularly and hitting metrics, Jensen says.

“Selecting a tool and getting buy-in for using it as a single source of truth for all cloud spending and its recommendations is the next logical step,” Jensen says. “The FinOps teams should then set metrics and provide a transparent company-wide dashboard to facilitate control of cloud spending.”

To adopt and deploy a successful FinOps strategy, enterprises should look to the FinOps community to learn through events, meetings, and other channels, Storment says. “No one needs to do this alone and FinOps practitioners will get farther, faster by sharing learnings and best practices,” he says. “Also, to have a viable and thriving FinOps culture and practice, invest in career development of practitioners through training and certification.”

What role should the CIO play in an organization’s use of FinOps?

“Executive buy-in has a massive influence in building successful FinOps practices, and the role of a CIO or CFO is often to ensure that the FinOps strategy and deployment are well crafted and carried out,” FinOps Foundation’s Storment says.

The CIO has several pivotal roles to play in the use of FinOps, he adds. One is as a promoter and vocal supporter. “The CIO sets the tone for the IT resources in the business,” Storment says. For the past two years the foundation’s survey of FinOps practitioners indicates that encouraging engineers to take action on cost optimization is the primary challenge facing organizations. “If the CIO is not supportive — through words, actions, incentives — it is very difficult to get an engineer to consider cost in their daily work.”

CIOs can also inspire collaboration. “The CIO doesn’t operate in a vacuum separately from the CFO, COO, and other C-level executives,” Storment says. “When using the cloud, the CIO’s resources are also not able to operate in an isolated silo.” The CIO should work to demonstrate cross-discipline collaboration by working with other senior executives to communicate about the cloud’s role in the organization and to reinforce the need to understand cost, he says.

While CIOs don’t have to lead FinOps initiatives, they should play an important advisory role. “CIOs are critical sponsors of FinOps efforts,” Leong says. “But in order to make it work as a cultural practice, [they] must have the cooperation of their peers in the business, and preferably the CFO as well.”

How can someone become a FinOps professional?

FinOps continues to proliferate around the world and there will be growing demand for people with related skills. “In the coming years, innovative technology solutions will be built using the cloud,” Storment says. “But cloud is a very different delivery model from traditional data center IT and requires FinOps” in order to be used effectively.

A recent survey by the FinOps Foundation showed that FinOps team sizes are expected to increase to an average of eight people over the next year, up from five.

“FinOps isn’t just a technical discipline nor solely finance-based,” Storment says. “It’s a cultural one that brings together finance, engineering, product, and management, and so roles and responsibilities encompass all of those arenas.”

One way to gain the proper skills is through certification programs, such as those offered by the FinOps Foundation.

“We see a need to certify people to be ‘certified practitioners’ to validate their FinOps knowledge and enhance their professional credibility,” Storment says. “Certified practitioners are enabled with key concepts and terminology to be contributing members of this community and interact with other practitioners and disciplines in their companies in detailed and meaningful ways.”

The foundation also offers a training course designed for engineers to understand how to work effectively with FinOps teams to manage cloud use and costs more efficiently, and to derive more business value from cloud, Storment says. “This is important, because [the] biggest challenge among organizations is getting engineers to take action on cost optimization.”

What are the top FinOps technology providers?

Based on IDC research, some of the top FinOps vendors in terms of market share include:

Budgeting, Cloud Computing, Cloud Management

When businesses migrate to public cloud, they expect to enjoy greater agility, resiliency, scalability, security, and cost-efficiency. But while some organizations undergo a relatively smooth journey, others can find themselves embarked on a bumpy trek fraught with time-wasting detours and lurking money pits – and with that glowing cloud promise still beyond their reach.

Where do they go awry? Too often, impetuosity and a diminished focus on key business drivers can result in a loss of direction, reports Chris DePerro, SVP, Global Professional Services at NTT.

“When assembling the case for a move to public cloud, organizations tend to overload stakeholder expectations and lose sight of the main imperatives behind the initiative – namely, supporting business agility and cost-efficiency,” DePerro says. “When a cloud strategy team has those chief objectives nailed down, they can plan supporting considerations – such as security, resiliency and scalability – around them more effectively.”

The Multicloud Business Impact Brief by 451 Research summarizes the findings of its own Voice of the Enterprise: Cloud, Hosting & Managed Services, Budgets & Outlook 2022 survey and identifies costs as a key driver and desired outcome of cloud transformation as well as a key limiting factor in the use of some of these resources. Indeed, 39% surveyed cited concerns about controlling costs.

But cost-efficiencies from public-cloud adoption can be undermined if organizations overspend to get there. Public-cloud services can be a tremendous resource if proper care is taken to plan and optimize the environment rather than just pushing the entire estate to the cloud as is. If optimization isn’t done, clients are often left with a larger bill and fall short of their cloud aspirations.

In many instances, the problems can be traced to inexperience in – and insufficient understanding of – cloud-migration best practices, and a lack of proper planning. Too often, organizations set off with project plans that do not take account of the full gamut of challenges.

Why do organizations fast-forward cloud migration, even if it might result in headaches afterwards?

“Common missteps are not taking time to understand and remediate as many issues as possible within the existing IT estate before migration occurs,” says DePerro. “It’s crucial that the best migration approaches are selected based on solid discovery for each workload.  This determines the approach best suited to an organization’s specific applications.”

DePerro adds: “Without a thorough pre-migration assessment of its IT estate, an organization might shift its existing inefficiencies into the cloud, where they become even more of a budgetary and performance burden by bumping up cloud’s operational costs.”

The capacity to innovate and respond to changing market conditions in a rapid manner is even more vital. Cost-efficiency and expectations of agility should be integral to a properly orchestrated cloud-migration program. 

“Agility is not always well understood,” explains DePerro. “Increasingly, it’s about using the cloud to give organizations the facility and flexibility to achieve their business objectives faster, rather than necessarily having numerous added features from the onset. We are seeing more and more customers trying to modernize in an incremental nature so as not to get bogged down in overly complicated transformation. Often, expediency overrides functionality when it comes to getting apps to market fast so that value can be derived ASAP.”

This requirement plays into the increased adoption of multicloud models. The business benefits of multicloud are compelling: organizations want to develop/run their applications in the cloud environment that’s best suited to their needs: private, public, edge or hybrid.

This in turn enlarges the complexities of managing workloads across multiple platforms.

“Working with a managed cloud service provider is a proven way to mitigate those complexities,” DePerro says, “especially if its cloud reach extends across both multivarious cloud platforms and business industries, as NTT’s does. This enables us to share both technical knowledge and cross-sector insight.”

Increasing multicloud take-up demonstrates again how rapidly cloud opportunities are evolving, leaving migration roadmaps outdated.

“Ultimately, many organizations will have to go multicloud because it’s the only way they will achieve their business objectives,” DePerro believes. “For many, multicloud is the new reality. And as with any journey into uncharted territory, being accompanied by a knowledgeable guide such as NTT, that has helped organizations complete their cloud journeys, will help navigate the twists and turns ahead.”

Visit NTT’s website now to find out how to start your cloud journey with experts who understand the pitfalls and how to overcome them.

Multi Cloud

It’s clear that in the last few years, the global pandemic has created unique circumstances for business and IT leaders at small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Yet a relentless focus on customers can help build resilience and success.  

In this 3rd episode of our 5-episode podcast, Essential Connections: The Business Owner’s Guide to Growth During Economic Uncertainty, we explore why success and resilience depend on high-quality customer engagement.

For MK, this focus is essential, especially for small- and medium-sized businesses.

“It’s always been true, how well you connect with your customers. But now we’re communicating with and supporting each other in ever more critical ways,” says MK. “All of us need those seamless interactions with each other. We used to be able to have these rich interactions when we were face to face. And now technology must pick up the slack.”

In fact, the importance of customer experience now trumps goals such as cutting costs as a deciding factor around IT investment, MK says.

I think it’s important to realize that just like all of us, our customers and our employees are experiencing uneasy times. It’s almost like concentric circles of unease. And that has drastically changed the way they work, the way we work,” she says. “But expectations have only grown. Customers, employees, people, they value staying connected. The stakes are very high. We commissioned some research with Frost and Sullivan. And we found that nearly half of employees say they won’t consider working for a company unless the company offers some flexibility.”

“Now consider how hard it is … in this labor market … to make hires. And you see why the stakes are super high,” she says. “With customers and employees – these are your two most valuable assets.”

Listen in to learn all the details, including MK’s actionable insights on how to prevent poor customer experience from undermining your company’s resilience.

Be sure to listen to other episodes in our series, Essential Connections: The Business Owner’s Guide to Growth During Economic Uncertainty, and learn how you can future-proof your business with agile IT leadership.

IT Leadership, Small and Medium Business

In today’s fast-paced business world, where companies must constantly innovate to keep up with competitors,depending on fully customizable software solutions created with programming languages and manual coding is insufficient.

Instead, enterprises increasingly are pursuing no-code and low-code solutions for application development. No-code and low-code development entails creating software applications by using a user-friendly graphic interface that often includes drag and drop. These solutions require less coding expertise, making application development accessible to a larger swath of workers. That accessibility is critical, especially as companies continue to face a shortage of highly skilled IT workers. In fact, IDC has identified low-code/no-code mobile applications as a driver of the future of work.

“The key difference between traditional and no-code and low-code solutions is just how easy and flexible the user experience can be with no-code and low-code,” says Alex Zhong, director of product marketing at GEP. “Speed has become more and more important in the business environment today. You need to get things done in a rapid way when you’re responding to the disruptive environment and your customers.”

The traditional application development process is both complicated and multilayered. It entails zeroing in on the business need, evaluating and assessing the idea, submitting the application development request to IT, getting evaluations and approvals to secure funding, designing, creating and producing, and doing user testing.

“Traditionally it’s a lengthy process with many people involved,” Zhong says. “This can take quite a few weeks and often longer.” Not only does the time workers spend accrue but various costs also quickly add up. “The new way of application development reduces complexity, tremendously shortens the process, and puts application development more in users’ hands.”

Here are some other benefits of no-code/low-code solutions over the traditional approach:

Projects are more malleable. “With local solutions, you can make changes quicker,” says Kelli Smith, GEP’s head of product management for platform. With fewer levels of approval and cooks in the kitchen, it’s easy to tweak ideas on the fly and make improvements to applications as you go.

Ideas are less likely to get lost in translation. With traditional development, sometimes ideas aren’t perfectly translated into a product. With the user at the helm working closely with IT, ideas are more likely to be accurately executed.

IT and the business work better together. No-code and low-code solutions are typically driven by someone close to the business, but IT is still involved in an advisory role — especially in initial stages. The relationship becomes more of a collaborative one. “The business is developing together with IT,” Smith says.

Developers are freed up for more complex work. With the business more involved in application development, IT workers’ time is freed up to dedicate to more complicated tasks and projects rather than an excess of manual or administrative work.

Often, moving away from traditional application development is a process for enterprises. Companies may start with low-code solutions and gradually shift toward no-code solutions. The evolution requires a culture change, vision from leadership, and endorsement from IT.

Importantly, employees also need to be empowered to participate.

GEP believes that no-code/low-code is the way of the future. The company is leading efforts in no-code and low-code solutions through partners and investments in solutions. “In today’s environment,” Zhong says, “no-code/low-code is simply key to giving enterprises more flexibility.”

At GEP we help companies with transformative, holistic supply chain solutions so they can become more agile and resilient. Our end-to-end comprehensive, unified solutions harness technology to change organizations for the better. To find out more, visit GEP.

Supply Chain

There’s an old saying when something you value changes and no longer brings you the joy the way it used to, “it’s not like it used to be.” For those who remember the good old days, great service was an essential part of the customer experience. Nowadays, customer service is not what it used to be. For decades now, customer service has become a necessary cost center. The emphasis on scale, automation, speed, and margins have also come at the cost of customer experience. However, new research now shows that the role of service is shifting back to “service,” to unify the customer’s experience.  

Since the dawn of the contact center in the 1960s, customer service evolved into a transactional entity. Over the years, executives learned to think of service as a numbers game, cycling customers on and off the phone and closing-out tickets as fast as possible, regardless of whether or not customers had a positive impression of the company in each interaction. That mindset would serve as models for deploying next-gen technologies, including IVRs, knowledge centers, chatbots, automation/RPA, text/messaging, with each designed to scale transactional engagement vs. delivering the level of service customers hope to receive. 

Customer experience reflects all customer engagements; Service can no longer serve as the weakest link 

The customer experience — the sum of all engagements, beyond customer service, a customer has with a business — is core to business success today. A related study of customers and B2B buyers published by Salesforce, the “State of the Connected Customer,” showed that nearly nine-in-ten respondents consider experience to be as critical as the product, itself, in deciding whether or not to buy from a company. This means that the experience you deliver is also a product.  

Nearly all respondents to that survey said a positive service experience makes them more likely to make a repeat purchase (94%). The same study also found that 71% of customers had switched brands in the last year with 48% switching companies for better customer service. These are critical insights especially in the current economic environment, when budgets are tightening, and loyalty becomes more important to the bottom line.  

Every facet of that experience must contribute to the great whole of the brand experience you promise. If customer service is viewed as a cost center and metrics prioritize speed over quality and transactions over relationship, it will always take away from the customer’s experience instead of enhancing it.  

There’s good news to report for service professionals. In its fifth edition of the “State of Service,” Salesforce found that companies are increasing investments in employees and technology budgets to match case volume and customer expectations. Over half of service organizations (55%) report increased budgets — up from 32% in 2020. And 51% report increased headcount — up from 19% in 2020. 

Mindset: The value of service shines when it’s meant to enhance the customer experience 

As customers become increasingly connected and empowered, their expectations soar. Service as a cost center is no longer a viable strategy to stand out against competitors where everything either takes away from or adds to the experience. It comes down to a shift in mindset, from a cost center mentality to a revenue generator. When executives invest in customer services that enhances their experience, customers are more likely to make repeat purchases and stay loyal.  

That truth is increasingly penetrating the hallowed walls of C-Suites and the boardroom.  

More than 50% of respondents in Salesforce’s survey of customer service professionals say their management now views their department as a revenue generator, rather than the cost center it may have perceived to be. That’s a significant tipping point that makes service performance all the more important not just for companies as a whole, but for the people in charge of delivering customer service. 

If you need more proof of this phenomenon, consider that over one-third of customer service leaders are now in the C-level — an unprecedented level of representation at the highest reaches of business structures.  

The fact that these are sourced from customer service ranks speaks volumes. And there’s appetite for this trend to continue. Nearly nine-in-ten of customer service respondents who don’t have C-level representation see its value. 

With the rise of roles such as chief customer officers and chief experience officers, service becomes one, albeit critical, part of the overall customer experience. It no longer has to represent the weakest link in the customer journey. 

Connection is the heart of service 

Driving customer success starts with connection to engage customers to meet and eventually exceed customer expectations. 

Think about the myriad of touchpoints that proliferate the path to purchase — and repurchase and loyalty — today. We often talk about this in terms of striving for omnichannel engagement. But beyond business buzzwords, a customer would never use the word omnichannel, it’s important to humanize the customer experience by considering the different, disconnected, departments that touch the customer journey. For example… 

Are service agents aware of marketing campaigns a given customer has received when they make contact? Do they have an informed sense of how a customer has navigated the company’s e-commerce touchpoints? Is the customer’s historical experience, preferences, previous purchases, available to service agents and all frontline executives responsible for customer engagement through their journey? Is integrated data and insights available to power AI in ways that present next best actions and experiences at a personal level, whether that’s an agent, chatbot, or self-guided path? If in a B2B company, are they aware of salesperson interactions?  

This is all critical context that service reps need to meet elevated customer expectations for efficient, tailored engagement. 

So, have companies met those customer expectations for connected engagement? According to the “State of the Connected Customer” survey, they have not.  

Three-in-five respondents say they generally feel like they are interacting with different departments rather than one company. And unfortunately, two-thirds say they often need to repeat information to different agents. When nearly all customers say a positive service experience makes them more likely to make a repeat purchase, is this status quo serving service’s elevated business mandate? 

This attests to a cost-center vs. growth mindset. In each case, the outcomes are very different. 

Compare high-performing service teams — those with the highest customer satisfaction levels — and their underperforming peers. The top teams are empowered to treat unique customers with unique engagement, think freedom from restrictive policies that don’t put all customer situations into a single category of service. Top teams are also more empowered with contextual information that details a customer’s entire journey, whether with service, or another team.  

In these cases, over three-fifths of service teams now share the same CRM software with their colleagues in other departments like ecommerce, sales, and marketing.  

Context matters in a digital-first world 

Let’s talk about the other critical element of meeting elevated customer expectations: digital channels and, more importantly, customer context. 

Even though the world is opening up, the use of digital channels, such as social media and customer portals, have not backtracked. In fact, customers say they are likely to spend more time online than before 2020. This is leading to the adoption of more digital-first touchpoints. Nearly three-in-five customers now prefer to engage through digital channels.  

Before you ask, yes, that preference skews higher among younger demographics. But still, channels such as phone and email are dropping, and digital-first touchpoints are rising across the board.  

Responses to this trend are represented in the increasing adoption among service organizations of channels like mobile apps, forums, and especially video. But a wholesale shift to digital channels ignores critical nuance…context. 

Key objectives are shifting to reflect a focus on efficiency, cost savings, and doing more with less 

Customers veer towards different channels depending on the circumstances. For instance, 59% of customers prefer self-service tools for simple issues while 81% of service professionals say the phone is a preferred channel for complex issues — up from 76% in 2020.  

Wherever they go, customers want their interaction to be easy, seamless, and fast. Let’s focus for a moment on the preference for self-service for simple issues. This is a great example of where customer and company priorities meet — in this case, in the pursuit of efficiency. 

Customer success excellence in today’s environment isn’t easy. Salesforce research found that 83% of customers expect to interact with someone immediately, and 83% expect to resolve complex problems through one person.  

Service professionals are feeling the pressure too, with 60% recognizing the increase in customer expectations since before the pandemic. 

Shifting KPIs reflect a focus on efficiency 

The preference for self-service for simple matters coincides with a heightened focus on efficiency for companies facing uncertain economic conditions. 

Organizations are being asked to do more with less and reduce costs. This is reflected in the rise of efficiency-related service KPIs, such as case deflection, customer effort, and first contact resolution.  

While self-service is a great foray into this pursuit, it can only go so far. How else can service organizations maximize customer satisfaction while using resources most efficiently? 

The answer lies at least in part in technology. Specifically, nearly three-fifths of service organizations now use at least one form of workflow or process automation — freeing up agents to focus on the higher value, more complex work that customers with more pressing or unique needs demand in exchange for repeat purchases.  

Users of automation reported significant benefits, such as time savings, better customer focus, and fewer errors in addressing customer needs. 

Three takeaways to transform service into a growth (and customer relationship) engine  

Service plays an important role in delivering a connected, efficient, and product customer experience. More importantly, service itself is shifting from a necessary cost center to a strategic growth engine. 

Service organizations are now at the forefront of strategic shifts across industries. Leaders are investing in continued momentum as well as future disruptions as customer expectations only continue to increase. 

1) Shift from a service mindset to an experience mindset 

Customers don’t see a “service department” — they see one company. As elevated, connected experiences become more commonplace, any instance of a disconnected, siloed experience across sales, service, marketing, and beyond will stand out and prompt customers to seek out better alternatives. Connecting service people, processes, and technology with their cross-functional counterparts helps mitigate this risk and elevate the overall customer experience. 

2) Empower employees as much as customers 

Scaling digital engagement offerings for customers has its merits, but we need to also think about what capabilities employees need to engage across these channels and provide the tailored, empathetic, and contextualized service customers deserve. Technology is a big part of this equation. But all the technology in the world won’t make much of a difference without the evolved policies and processes that transformation requires. 

3) Audit metrics for efficiency, scale, and experience 

Tried-and-true service metrics aren’t going anywhere, but a narrow focus on closing out as many tickets with as few agents as possible is a recipe for CX and service failure. Think about how KPIs can help identify areas of improvement as you scale across new channels, for instance. As resources get scarcer among economic uncertainty, look for ways to do more with less, without compromising the experiences customers have and take away from each engagement. 

Business Services