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Strong vendor engagement helps drive customer success with everything-as-a-service

Highly consultative vendors can be key to higher levels of competitive advantage and better outcomes

By becoming highly engaged, consultative partners, providers of everything-as-a-service (XaaS) can drive successful outcomes for their customers.

To better understand how companies are adopting service-based IT, including their objectives, outcomes, challenges and practices, Deloitte surveyed 600 IT and line-of-business professionals responsible for “everything-as-a-service” (XaaS) at large US organisations.1 XaaS is seen as fueling innovation: Eight in 10 adopters agreed that XaaS has led their organisation to reinvent business processes, develop new products and services, invent a new XaaS business model and even change how they sell. Three in 10 “strongly agree” that XaaS is helping them achieve each of these outcomes—suggesting there’s still room for improvement.

Indeed, eight in 10 XaaS adopters believed their organisation could achieve much better business outcomes with XaaS if their vendors acted as more consultative partners. To test this hypothesis, we assigned each respondent to a group that reflects the level of vendor engagement they have: high (29% of respondents), medium (36%) and low (35% of respondents), based on how often they were “satisfied” or “extremely satisfied” with the various consultative activities their XaaS vendors may be providing.2

Strikingly, the more engaged and consultative the vendor relationships are, the better adoption appears to be paying off (see figure). More than half of the XaaS adopters with a high level of vendor engagement strongly agree that XaaS has helped them improve decision-making and collaboration, accelerate experimentation (by allowing them to quickly evaluate new solutions) and reinvent business processes—versus roughly a quarter of the adopters with the least engaged vendors. Having highly consultative vendors also appears to give XaaS adopters an edge when it comes to market-focussed activities, including creating new products and services, inventing new business models, growing revenue and changing how they sell.

Technology, Media & Telecommunications

Deloitte’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) industry practice brings together one of the world’s largest group of specialists respected for helping shape many of the world’s most recognised TMT brands—and helping those brands thrive in a digital world.

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  1. Susanne Hupfer et al., Enterprise IT: Thriving in disruptive times with cloud and as-a-service, Deloitte Insights, February 22, 2021. To obtain a cross-industry view of how organisations are adopting and benefiting from as-a-service enterprise IT, Deloitte conducted the Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS) Study, 2021 edition, surveying 600 IT and line-of-business (LoB) professionals from US-based companies in Q4 2020. All respondents were chosen from organisations that consume 15% or more of their IT as a service (i.e., all were XaaS adopters) and were required to have responsibility for enterprise IT and specifically for XaaS—for example, spending, strategies, deployments and vendor selection and evaluation. Respondents were evenly split between IT and LoB professionals, and 89% were executives. Six industries were represented: technology, media, and telecom; energy, resources, and industrials; consumer, retail, and automotive; financial services; life sciences and health care; and education.

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  2. The consultative activities we scored include: demonstrating how their solution can address specific business needs, providing an assigned customer success representative or team, advising how to optimise utilisation, helping accurately forecast spend, offering integration with other XaaS solutions, providing training on how to use the solution and improving services based on learning from customers’ usage.

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  3. Gopal Srinivasan et al., 2019 Enterprise Customer Success (CS) Study and Outlook Fostering an organization-wide CS mindset, Deloitte, 2019.

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  4. Gopal Srinivasan et al., Enterprise Customer Success Study and Outlook Part 2: What do customers value?, Deloitte, January 2020.

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  5. Deloitte’s customer success study found that over half of XaaS customers regard adoption and optimisation services as critical for sustained product usage (and nearly half are willing to pay for these services). See Srinivasan et al., Enterprise Customer Success Study and Outlook Part 2.

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  6. Hupfer et al., Enterprise IT.

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  7. See Srinivasan et al., Enterprise Customer Success Study and Outlook Part 2.

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  8. Amplitude, “How Babbel became the top-selling, language-learning app by becoming data-driven,” accessed August 13, 2021.

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  9. Jon Reed, “If SaaS companies are serious about customer success, they better learn from Coupa's community intelligence approach,” Diginomica, January 10, 2020.

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Thanks to Sayantani Mazumder for thoughtful suggestions.

Cover image by: Jamie Austin

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