How Business Decisions are Becoming Self-Serviced

When you bank, do you physically drive to a branch and speak with a teller?

Do you walk to an ATM?

OR are you like 50 percent of consumer bankers and simply log into your account from your mobile device?

If you’re like me, you may not have physically stepped into a bank in quite some time. In fact – and this is not an exaggeration – I have not set foot in a bank since the founding of Ombud and have no future plans to do so.

Banking transactions have become self-service and mobile for both consumer and business use. As with most technological advancements, consumers adopted much faster than businesses, but usage eventually permeates the ranks to reach enterprise-wide adoption.

Let’s take a look at the future of enterprise sales by reflecting on the transition from shoe salesman to self-service.

Death of the Shoe Salesman

 

The Death of the Shoe Salesman

Prior to Zappos revolutionizing the virtual customer experience by making it easy and fun to purchase shoes online, customers had little choice but to transport themselves to multiple retail locations until they found the right fit.

Since Zappos launched in 1999, consumers have had the option to circumnavigate the shoe salesman. Zappos delivering every brand, style, color and size of shoes directly to the customer with no charge for returns can be seen as an example of modern consumer expectations. The eCommerce alternative brought the company to more than $2 billion in annual revenue in 2011.

Consumers now expect such accommodation with every online transaction regardless of industry, and expectations are increasing. We demand convenient, simple self-service and will not wait for straggling companies who do not understand our needs.

Now, take a moment to translate your consumer experience to your business. What if you could similarly self-service your enterprise technology decisions in less time for a better ROI? Wouldn’t you? Ombud’s customers have and are continuing to collaboratively select the right solution for their strategic initiatives in 75 percent less time.

 

The Death of the Enterprise Sales Rep

Ombud has upset the traditional ecosystem by streamlining the way businesses strategically make decisions.

Who do you most trust to keep your business’ best interests at the forefront of the entire decision-making process?

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A traditional consulting firm?

An unknown sales rep?

OR the expertise of your stakeholders?

Ombud enables your stakeholders to share their needs via a platform for transparent, real-time alignment.  Ombud maps these collaborative requirements directly to solutions. The initiative requirements, solution short-listing and selection is accomplished in 25 percent of the time at 10 percent of the cost of a traditional decision.

 

Ombud Identifies a Solution’s Value to Find your Right Fit

Ombud is helping businesses understand a solution’s offering in a way that clearly defines its value to ensure success. Ombud found a way to do so most effectively, replacing the traditional enterprise sales rep with a transparent decision-making platform.

 

Ready to Streamline Collaboration on your next Initiative with Ombud?

Learn more about how we are here to help you strategize with our cloud-based platform to research, plan, collaborate and select your best solution at ombud.com. Feel free to reach out to our team directly at success@ombud.com.

 

Back in junior high when we were determined to beat the expert level of minesweeper instead of finishing that book report on The Outsiders, little did we know Microsoft was actually teaching us a valuable lesson on enterprise alignment. Although Windows 8 no longer includes Minesweeper, Microsoft is continuing to reinforce the importance of business alignment, and Minesweeper has become an analogy for strategic planning.

Microsoft has made more than 20 acquisitions in the last 5 years, including the  $8.5 billion Skype acquisition. With those acquisitions came new leaders, some who were not tightly aligned with existing strategic goals. New CEO Satya Nadella posted a letter to all employees expressing the company’s current regime change as reflective of senior leadership’s need to “drive clarity, alignment and intensity.” Diverse perspectives are important to fully understand the best strategies moving forward, but every leadership team ultimately needs collaboration to effectively run their organization.

Just as new leadership perspectives may accompany acquisitions, redundant technologies and incompatible workflows may also result. For instance, one of our customers had acquired 15 companies since 2000. As a result, the organization was using 13 disparate call centers across 5 business units. The disunity meant the company had a siloed view into customer accounts and lacked unified services. Within 90 days, Ombud helped the company identify more than 250 prioritized needs and execute the strategic planning of an enterprise-wide customer service initiative.

How exactly does Ombud identify our enterprise customers’ business needs and drive strategic alignment?

Ombud is MInesweeper for the Enterprise

Ombud is the Minesweeper for the Enterprise

Ombud’s vehicle to alignment is not persuasion. Much as the strategy behind Minesweeper is identifying all mines without setting off any in the process, the Ombud platform sensitively detects where divisions exist within your organization. The spaces on Ombud’s ‘grid’ are your stakeholders and the mines are your prioritized requirements – potential points of alignment, division or polarity. The more stakeholders and requirements, the greater the difficulty to accurately identify all your business needs. Your team may appear to be aligned at a high level. Delving deeper into crucial solution differentiators, however, may reveal key divisions that could prove to become project roadblocks. You may even wind up uncovering business requirements that you were not aware existed. Ombud helps you identify where your requirements are without missing important needs along the decision-making process.

 

Ready to identify all of your business requirements without setting off any mines?

Ombud is committed to helping enterprises uncover each stakeholder’s needs and prevent project failures. In fact, we have applied the Minesweeper fundamentals for proven success within several industries. Reach out to our team directly at success@ombud.com or learn more at ombud.com.

In the last post, we discussed how Ombud solves the fundamental mistake of not including stakeholders in the decision-making process. Today, let’s look at how accelerating a decision with Ombud actually eliminates the need for shortcuts while expanding a project’s scope.

Shortcuts

When you drove to work today, did you take the fastest route? Chances are that you have eliminated every unnecessary turn to minimize potential delays… and still get caught in the occasional phantom traffic jam. Similarly, taking a shortcut in decision-making has a tendency to cause unanticipated delays along the road to a viable solution.

Regardless of the solution you’re looking for, the options are abundant. With the right amount of marketing jargon, however, any vendor can convince you that his solution is the only one in its emerging category. Reading through clever marketing and assessing every possible solution takes time you don’t have when under an aggressive deadline. Therefore, businesses traditionally minimize solution research and make a fundamental decision mistake – shortcuts.

The Ombud platform is helping our customers avoid shortcuts, expand the scope of initiatives and map available market offerings directly to business needs. With Ombud, enterprises are increasing their negotiating power for a better solution at a lower price in less time.

As one example, a 50-year-old industrial equipment distributor with more than $100 million in annual revenue needed to find an email archiving solution and did not know where to begin researching. Leveraging Ombud’s market research tailored to the business requirements, the company expanded the solution scope three times while accelerating speed to decision 97 percent. With vendor capabilities evaluated side-by-side, our client knew exactly how each of several solutions met specific needs. This knowledge enhanced the company’s negotiating power and reduced their solution budget 40 percent.

 

Ready to expand the scope of your options for greater success on your next initiative?

We would love to grab just a few minutes of your time to show you exactly how Ombud has achieved substantial ROI on initiatives within several industries. Drop us a line at success@ombud.com or learn more at ombud.com.

In the previous post, we looked at the scope of failed decisions. In this post, let’s take a look at how Ombud solves fundamental causes of failed decisions through the lens of one customer’s success with the Ombud platform.

Despite collaboration’s success rate of 73 percent of decisions being fully utilized, participation is used in less than 20 percent of decisions. Avoiding participation due to time requirements is a widespread decision-making mistake solved via the Ombud platform. Enterprises leveraging Ombud to avoid fundamental decision-making mistakes such as lack of participation are executing more-objective strategic initiatives in less time.

ParticipationFor instance, Ombud helped a century-old global facility management company execute the strategic planning for an enterprise-wide customer service initiative in time to meet an aggressive budgetary deadline. The project was expected to take two dedicated full-time employees an entire year to execute. Such a lengthy process would have missed the deadline and delayed the project until the next budget cycle.

With Ombud, the company executed the initiative in less than 90 days. Ultimately, 27 stakeholders prioritized more than 250 business needs, which the platform evaluated across 13 internal and 8 external solutions. Decision-makers were provided with an interactive real-time dashboard for a comprehensive understanding of stakeholder needs mapped back to solutions. In other words, all stakeholders influenced the strategic initiative in 75 percent less time, and management made a better-quality decision for the upcoming fiscal year.

Ready to collaborate in less time for greater success on your next initiative?

We would love to grab just a few minutes of your time to show you exactly how Ombud has achieved substantial ROI on initiatives within several industries. Drop us a line at success@ombud.com or learn more at ombud.com.

 

 

In our previous post, we announced our new platform. Now, let’s take a few minutes to explain why we’re so excited about its launch – we are solving a significant problem that spans industries and geographies.

Nearly half of business decisions fail, and one-third are never implemented, according to a study out of Ohio State University published in 1999.  Fifteen years later, the decision-making mistakes identified in that study are still being made. The results of failed decisions are expensive, business-disrupting project failures. Such catastrophes, although most highly publicized when taxpayer dollars are involved, occur in both the public and private sector with disastrous implications.

Ensure Success on Your Next Initiative

One conservative estimate of the impact of global IT project failures is about three trillion dollars annually. Let’s actually see what that looks like, that is the number three followed by 12 ZEROS or $3,000,000,000,000.  This number sounds as though it must be grossly over-estimated – that is, until you take a look at the scale of individual project failures in 2013.

One such project failure can be found within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, currently in the process of examining how the state purchases technology services.

The Massachusetts investigation into the state’s decision-making process follows a $46 million failed IT project for the Department of Unemployment Assistance. The project was supposed to implement a jobless benefit system, but instead went $6 million over budget, two years past due and now has more than 100 defects a full seven months after the delayed rollout. Not only is that just one example of a failed IT decision in 2013, it is just one of the failed decisions the state is currently examining.

 

Want to learn how to reduce the risk of your next IT selection with Ombud?

Ombud is committed to helping enterprises execute a successful decision-making process and prevent IT project failures.  In fact we have proven success within several industries. Reach out to our team directly at success@ombud.com or learn more at ombud.com.

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