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Supply Chain Software Giant Kicks Up Game with Customer Experience Centre

Getting a sleek integration of technology meant a different kind of construction

By Julie Pithers at DIRTT

A relatively new entry into the corporate office landscape is the customer experience centre. B2B marketing teams are asking their companies to create physical spaces to welcome and wow customers. This is particularly true for software providers who bring a rigorous service component to their offering.

JDA Software is a leader in autonomous supply chain innovations. They have thousands of clients ranging from Heineken to Lowe’s to Sephora. But JDA felt they were missing that vital first-impression experience at their Scottsdale, Arizona headquarters.

When it comes to business relationships, supply chain management software is fiercely competitive. A client’s entire business relies on their software every hour of every day. Whether it’s customer engagement, automation or order fulfillment. Establishing trust and accentuating a dedication to innovation is something many companies want to demonstrate during those early introductions.

JDA’s goal was to create a physical space that would lay the foundation for clearly demonstrating their dominance in this high-tech space, while igniting a great business relationship. The JDA sales team felt they needed a customer experience centre. “Quite frankly, a lot of our competition have them,” said JDA’s vice president of business administration services, Tom Mulherin. “We want to show how we’re different from our competitors, what our software does that their software doesn’t.” Without a customer experience space, they didn’t feel they were telling their story as well as they could.

Audio/video (AV) technology was key. It had to be both prevalent and seamless. JDA hired the local design firm Corgan to help them create the futuristic environment they were looking for. Almost immediately traditional construction materials and methods were out of the running. The Corgan team recommended custom prefab. “It offered us the ability to integrate technology and have that sleek, sophisticated feel,” explained Karah Tennyson, a senior associate at Corgan.

The integration of AV technology in traditional construction is difficult. Its installation can look unsophisticated, or worse, because of loose wires and cables it looks sloppy. Making things more difficult, the AV portion of the project is often an afterthought. Zach Toporek of Immedia Integrated Technologies knows that pain firsthand. “What typically happens is the entire project gets designed,” explains Zach. “And then right before they start building, somebody says, ‘Oh, wait. We need some AV.’”

Technology led all decisions for JDA’s approach to building this vital space. The general contractor, Jokake Construction, knew it would be an unconventional project since technology was the priority and most of the space was being produced off-site in a factory. On-site construction would be quick connect with virtually zero-waste.  Site-superintendent, Carl Politico had to prepare the other sub-trades for what was coming. “I told everybody this could be the way of the future of build-outs,” said Politico. “And they’ll have an advantage over the other trades in town when these jobs come up.”

JDA’s sales and marketing teams couldn’t be happier with the outcome. “The response was just off the charts in terms of the appearance,” said Mulherin. “More important is the technology we're able to demonstrate. The day after the opening our head of marketing told me the space was going to be a game-changer.”

There was another catch to all this. The technology isn’t going to be static. Change is not only inevitable, it happens faster and faster when it comes to upgrades and innovations. The custom prefab components, such as walls, data, power and access floor, had to not only elegantly house the technology initially, it had to respond when the technology changed. “A lot of times, people sell you something, and they say, ‘It’s plug and play,’ and it’s not really plug-and-play,” warned Mulherin. He took a tour of the custom prefab construction facilities and without forewarning his tour guides, he asked to take apart the wall he was passing by. He was given a small tool for the job and he disassembled and reassembled the wall right there. He said, “If I can do it, anyone can do it.”

Tom Mulherin believes JDA can get an eight to 10-year life out of the experience centre. “Which for a technology space,” he says, “is an incredible life cycle.”

Click to see the JDA customer experience centre story.

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