How NextRoll’s Business Systems Team Streamlines User Experiences
NextRoll’s Tech Stack Series #6
The division of labor between software engineering and information technology is, if not as old as time, at least as old as business computing. Engineering teams build the external, customer-facing product, whereas IT teams support the business behind the scenes. And in most technology companies, the engineering team builds the technology that drives revenue through generated sales, whereas IT is seen as a cost expenditure.
That’s not how NextRoll thinks of it. We do maintain separate engineering and IT teams, but we provide significantly more fluidity than this traditional division usually allows for. We created our Business Systems team as an internal-facing group to support our go-to-market teams, which in turn are responsible for ensuring customer excellence and bringing in revenue. The Business Systems team exists because we wanted to focus and invest more in the usability and scalability of our systems and infrastructure as our company matured and so we could really lean into software development best practices.
Our Business Systems group implements and maintains systems to drive greater efficiency in our GTM teams and enable them to serve our customers better. To do all that, they leverage a variety of mostly third-party tools – like Salesforce, Zendesk, and many other providers. And as any technologist who’s worked extensively with third-party tools can tell you, it can take a small army just to keep all of them talking to one another (much less working in harmony) to deliver streamlined user experiences. It's very powerful to have tight integration between the usage of our product and the products our teams use to service our customers, win new business, or expand existing business. All this means our GTM teams are armed with the best and most up-to-date info when interacting with our customer base.
This need for a specialized, dedicated team to maintain and improve those integrations is why we carved out the Business Systems team in 2019. Since then, the group has expanded its strategic focus to include scalability and good data governance to support our rapidly maturing company.
Driving Innovation and Customer Success
In most technology companies, business systems, as an internal-facing team of technologists, would report to IT. Not so at NextRoll. Under our Engineering umbrella, the Business Systems team has become far more effective and provides a key strategic advantage for NextRoll. Here are just a few of the benefits our AdRoll and RollWorks customers see as a result of implementing this innovative structure:
Stronger integration between business systems and product data: Slotting business systems under engineering has encouraged a strong partnership between the two teams. Business Systems is considered a stakeholder in NextRoll product updates, so team members can advocate for developments that make it easier to get more product data to the Business Systems team and, in turn, execute their mission to support the GTM teams.
Accelerating our software-as-a-service offerings: Our business systems and engineering teams coordinate closely as we launch new SaaS products. That has allowed Business Systems to implement the solutions GTM teams will need on the back end in parallel with the development of the actual product, resulting in a faster time to market.
Leveraging established software development best practices: Business systems aren’t always seen as a technical domain on the level of product engineering. But here at NextRoll, it’s as technical as anything the engineering team works on — which is why we recognize it as such. Our Business Systems team leverages industry-standard software engineering methodologies, just as our product engineering teams do. Additionally, we’ve found that pairing our business systems and our software engineering technologists in this way encourages peer learning and collaboration in both directions.
What’s Next for Business Systems
Business Systems is always working on solutions to help GTM team members to retain and grow their existing customers. Additionally, with our ongoing strategic pivot toward SaaS, Business Systems is managing near-constant change, and it’s the team’s responsibility to ensure business systems keep up. Along those lines, one of our biggest initiatives is rolling out a new customer success and product experience platform to our GTM teams. More generally, Business Systems is always on the lookout to automate manual processes to save GTM team members time and enable them to do more.