Features, Insight, Interviews

Rimini Street GM highlights the importance of giving customers ‘choices’

Emmanuelle Hose, General Manager, Rimini Street, tells CNME Editor Mark Forker, how their ability to give their customers ‘choices’ is what differentiates them from traditional vendors when it comes to supporting their enterprise applications and IT infrastructure.

The COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally reshaped many aspects of our society and forced global industries to transform quickly.

Many businesses seized the opportunity to accelerate their digital transformation, but with so many different ways to implement digital transformation getting it right can be a big challenge.

As a result of these seismic changes there has been an exponential increase in demand from businesses seeking third-party support in terms of transforming their existing business operations to become more efficient.

CNME spoke to Emmanuelle Hose, General Manager, Rimini Street, to find out how their company is responding to the increased demand for third-party support.

Hose has enjoyed a distinguished career in IT that has spanned over two decades, and since joining Rimini Street in 2014, has helped the company go from strength-to-strength.

Hose acknowledged that many businesses have struggled with the demands of cloud transformation due to confusion as to what model works for them – and outlined how Rimini Street is leveraging their expertise to help them overcome their challenges.

“There are a lot of different ways to do digital transformation, and many businesses have a ‘cloud-first’ strategy when it comes to digital transformation, but what does cloud mean? There has been a lot of confusion for companies in relation to choosing between XaaS, SaaS and PaaS cloud models, and they have been left asking which one do we do first? At Rimini Street, we have been able to help our clients by giving them choices, because there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to cloud. Every company will have different priorities and will approach it from a different perspective. When we work with our clients, we attempt to determine how can we help them become more efficient, and how they can do more with what they have”, said Hose.

Hose added that there is a desire within many organisations from the top down to accelerate digital transformation, but that a big challenge encountering many of them is finding the time and the budget to do it.

“There are a lot of businesses who want to implement their digital transformation strategies in a bid to become more efficient, and to better connect with their customers, which is great, but an issue many businesses face is how are we going to find the time, money and resources to be able to do that? However, this is something that Rimini Street can help them to do, by taking care of their Oracle and SAP estates, which tends to be significant. Many businesses have big estates that are extremely costly to maintain, but we remove that fear for them, we release large amount of funds to enable them invest in innovations faster and provide them with the resources to enable to properly focus on their digital transformation journey”, said Hose.

Hose said a big problem in the current IT ecosystem in terms of supporting businesses with their innovation strategy was the fact that many vendors are dictating the roadmap.

“At Rimini Street, we are polar opposite to the vendors. We listen to our clients, and we give them choices and allow them to develop a roadmap that suits their specific priorities. For example, SAP have told their customers that they need to move away from Business Suite by 2030 and implement S/4Hana and have been very clear that there will be no support from 2030 onwards. It was initially supposed to be 2025, but they moved it back to 2027 and then 2030, because businesses were simply not ready to make that move”, said Hose.

She added that many enterprises do not see the business case in ripping and replacing existing legacy applications & technologies, but they are being told by vendors that, to transform now, they must do it in a certain way.

However, Rimini Street is approaching it in a very different way – and is in fact empowering their customers to have the autonomy in terms of what direction they want to take to deliver innovations to their business, which only serves to reinforce how customer-centricity is at the core of what Rimini Street does.

“They are being told to transform and embrace change, but is a company going to accelerate their digital transformation, or innovate faster, by having a different finance and HR system? Absolutely not. We are giving time to organisations, by saying to them you do not need to do that now! We will support their innovation strategy, and then when they are ready, they can go and buy S/4Hana if and when it is right for them. The client is in control, and they can decide when they want to do it based on their business needs, as opposed to being told by vendors that they must do it now”, said Hose.

Hose has been a strong advocate for AI, but she has been critical in terms of how some vendors deploy AI and has implored them to be more ‘human’ when it comes to viewing the unique and transformative capabilities possessed by AI.

“I am very passionate about AI as it allows you to not only do things much faster, but it also enables you to do things that you never thought of before. If you look at Rimini Street, we are all about support and service, and how can we spend more time directly with our clients to help them overcome their business issues. When we implemented our AI platform the primary objective for us was how can we connect the right client to the right engineer much faster, and this is very powerful tool to have as we believe that AI is all about connecting people”, said Hose.

Hose also highlighted how its AI platform had helped Rimini Street completely transform their customer experience offering, something that is still lacking in other major industry verticals and amongst many vendors.

“If I have a banking issue, or I want to speak to my telecom provider, I must press 1 for this, and press 2 for that, but it’s a protracted process that often ends with me speaking to the wrong person, whereas I would love to be directly connected with the person that can actually resolve my issue. We have been able to do this at Rimini Street, and it’s been an incredible journey for us – and we’ve improved the resolution of our support tickets by 23%. For me, our AI platform is all about bringing real people together much faster and that is essentially what Rimini Street does. If you look at the support vendors provide today, much of it is outsourced offshore, and people have no idea who they are speaking to. A lack of due diligence hinders finding the right talent to provide the correct solution. By connecting customers straight to the engineer assigned to them, we have brought back something very simple – a great customer experience”, said Hose.

Rimini Street was born out of a demand for third-party support, prior to their inception in 2005, the only support customers got for their products was directly from vendors, which was once again a very one-way street in terms of a partnership.

“We created an industry that never existed at a time where, if you wanted support for your product, you could only get it from the vendor. In the car industry, if I buy a car from Toyota, I can get it serviced by Toyota, or by my local dealership, I can go anywhere I want and I have a choice. However, I did not have that on the software side, it just didn’t exist. The support model that existed was archaic, and it remains that way because the vendors haven’t changed it. We sell support, but it is not necessarily what our clients come to us for, they come to us to accelerate their digital transformation”, said Hose.

Hose pointed out that increasing maintenance costs, coupled with a stifling of innovation led to the demand for a different support framework, and said that their approach was to support the client in any direction they wanted to go, which ultimately makes them completely unique.

“Our clients had never bought support before, they bought software and that comes with maintenance, and nobody ever challenged it. However, what happened was the products became very mature, but there was no more innovation happening, and the cost of the maintenance was continuing to increase. It led to a situation where businesses were asking what am I getting for the maintenance? They needed to innovate, but when they examined their IT budget around 90% of it was being consumed for just maintenance. What we noticed was that the market wanted us to support their environment today, and how it might evolve tomorrow, whereas the vendor was focused solely on supporting their core product. We support our clients’ current environment, we support them if they want to customise, and essentially we are an extension of their team, and there is nobody else doing what we do, and that is why we have been such a success globally”, concluded Hose.

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