When was the last time you thought about updating your Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) solution? One of our customers is now saving upwards of $1 million over the next 5 years just by doing a simple evaluation of their incumbent solution.

Contract Lifecycle ManagementIt is easy to get caught up in evaluating the newest software solution on the market and forget about the solutions you already have in-house. As we’ve learned from customers, a technology implemented years ago might fly under the radar until employees start complaining. We recommend asking yourself four questions to understand if you need to take a closer look at your Contract Lifecycle Management system:

 

1. Is the system being utilized to its full potential?

We’ve seen time and time again where a client has implemented the big dog in CLM years ago, and hasn’t evaluated it since.  In one case, employees finally started complaining about usability and the lack of adoption. Ombud’s platform was able to go in and evaluate the incumbent CLM across 313 features while surveying 21 stakeholders to understand their needs mapped back to the solution. We found that this enterprise was paying a license fee for hundreds of users that weren’t actually logging into the system. This insight was uncovered within 30 days and exposed a huge discrepancy in license costs, which will save the client upwards of $1 million over the next five years alone.

 

2. Is the system easy to use?

The number one reason we’ve found CLMs to be underutilized is the fact that users find the interface confusing. Ombud has spotted a trend towards CLM solutions that are functional, while also intuitive to a non-technical end user. You could save tons of time, money and user frustration by taking a closer look at your incumbent, and making sure your end users are satisfied with the UI.

 

3. Are your business requirements the same as when you implemented your CLM?

Business requirements are constantly evolving due to company growth, changes in vision, new management (just to name a few), and your technology needs to follow suit. It is essential to ensure your solution is still solving your business needs, and more importantly facilitating the achievement of your corporate goals. You evaluate your employees annually to make sure they are benefiting the business, and your technology should be subject to the same review. If not, you could be spending a lot of money on something that is only driving up risk factors such as frustrated employees, lack of use, and financial losses.

 

4. Is your CLM still reducing costs?

You initially implemented your CLM solution to decrease manual tasks and reduce corporate costs. Oftentimes when an older system goes unevaluated, the result is that the system is not being utilized to its full potential.  Many of our customers have found that due to a complicated user interface, employees were not even using the authoring, approvals and reporting capabilities of the system. This increases manual work, creates disorganization of contracts and, ultimately, increases costs. Not the results you want out of your expensive CLM solution!

 

If you answered “No” to more than one of those questions, it is time to thoroughly evaluate your incumbent CLM. This task can seem daunting, but Ombud can automate the process for you. We create transparency in the enterprise technology market while reducing the risk factors and time our users spend evaluating and selecting solutions.

  • Set up a free 30 minute consultation call – This non-spammy call with one of our analysts will educate you on what is happening in the CLM market and what to look for in a CLM.
  • Complete a Buying Guide – Define your business requirements and then be matched to the solutions that will best address those needs. This is a simple way to be objective with your requirements and see if your incumbent solution comes up in the “best matches” list.

What are you waiting for? Get started with Ombud today!

Built in Homebrew Challenge

Take a minute with me to look past the fedoras, sweater vests and mission to save the world one technology buzz word at a time. Look into the start-up community and you’ll get to know a group of driven, hard-working people who haven’t just walked off the set of HBO’s Silicon Valley and into a fantasy work environment. We don’t spend our days competing in foosball and ping-pong tournaments or racing to solve Rubik’s Cubes fastest. We work long hours to ensure our customer’s success because without them, we don’t have businesses. We’re not lifestyle companies, we’re people working to achieve our ideal lifestyle, because some of our strongest passions exist outside our open workspaces.

As such, our community of Colorado startups is bringing you the Built in Homebrew Challenge on Friday, May 30th, 2014 to benefit the Gabby Krause Foundation.

Gabby Krause was an amazing six-year old who died in September 2004 after a courageous 19-month battle with brain cancer. It was Gabby’s wish for all children in the hospital to have Bags of Fun, and to the delight of other patients, she always shared her games and toys. Today, the Gabby Krause Foundation delivers Bags of Fun to pediatric patients undergoing cancer treatment throughout Colorado and a growing network of affiliates. Bags of Fun are filled with educational, interactive and silly toys that give a child a better day, a smile and something to focus on other than their illness.

Please join us on May 30th to help their mission. Nine startups will each be bringing you their best homebrews for unlimited tastings, an outdoor tech party and Lucky Pie Pizza.

Participating Homebrewing Startups:

Plus, Wynkoop Brewing Company is also sponsoring the event.

Register at Eventbrite today for unlimited homebrew tasting and to support the best cause–making a difference for children with cancer and other long-term childhood illnesses.

We’ve been working with some customers who are exploring enterprise versions of consumer file sharing solutions. Mapping the enterprises’ needs back to existing functionality, we’ve come to the conclusion that some leading consumer solutions are still in their teen phase. They’re easy to use, convenient tools for end users, and their extensive developer communities have built hundreds of thousands of apps off their APIs, but they still need to grow beyond their fun, attractive UI to become enterprise-ready.

Enterprise File Sharing

Dropbox states a presence in 4 million businesses, meaning the individuals using their solution work for 4 million different companies. Similarly, Box touts that 97% of the Fortune 500 use their service. Of the nearly 1/4 million organizations with a Box presence, only about 15 percent are paying customers.

With such a low number of paying customers, it’s worth diving into the viability of the market. We’ll use Box’s S1 Filing for an IPO to assess the market’s current viability.

  • Revenue: Box is not profitable. The cost of goods sold exceeds their total revenue. 2013 realized $124 million in sales, but sales and marketing expenses were $171 million. Better way to think about this: Box spends $1.40, makes $1. The company has a history of losses and doesn’t expect to be profitable in the foreseeable future.
  • Growth: Box has had tremendous growth in their user base and has received some very impressive investments.
  • Competition: Box is in a competitive space, with few differentiators and minimal switching costs. In other words, there is no lock-in for the services from an end-user perspective, and most users use several interchangeably. Long term, Box will have a difficult time sustaining growth in a competitive market. Box’s costs cannot exceed revenue forever, and competitors will continue to evolve their offerings.

Moving beyond viability, let’s take a quick look at the functionality.

 

Where do consumer solutions currently excel?

  • Familiarity: Enterprises are indirectly using these tools. As mentioned earlier, enterprise-hopefuls market their presence in enterprises where employees have adopted the technology without an enterprise-wide decision. Such a presence does provide a competitive advantage when employees already use and like a solution.
  • Intuitive UI & Ease of Use: They’re simple, straightforward tools. If consumers didn’t find them the easiest solution to use, these tools wouldn’t have the user numbers being advertised.

Beyond these competitive advantages, some consumer solutions fall short on all other areas that define an enterprise file sharing solution.

 

What will it take for consumer solutions to become mature enterprise solutions? 

  • Administrative Controls - Enterprise solutions provide granular administrative controls such as setting permissions, access expiration, hierarchal permission override and visibility into the entire taxonomy of files and folders.
  • Group Management Capabilities - Outside an SSO integration, leading enterprise solutions offer group management capabilities directly in the platform. This makes it much easier to share a file/folder with the entire marketing team, for instance, rather than each person on the marketing team.
  • Advanced Organization and Search - Rather than only giving end users visibility into their own/shared folders, leading enterprise file sharing solutions provide visibility for end users to see exactly where their files sit within the entire folder taxonomy. Further, users have greater control over searching. In addition to searching file names, leading solutions provide the ability to search file text content and metadata.
  • Custom Sharing Settings - Leading enterprise file sharing solutions provide end users with the ability to temporarily share files via a link they can set to expire after a certain date or number of clicks. A vulnerability to open sharing discovered last week highlights potential risks of consumer-focused design to a secure enterprise environment. For ease of use in many consumer solutions, users aren’t required to authenticate themselves to access shared file links, enabling those links to be picked up by advertising servers if users paste shared links into a search engine. As a result, some Dropbox users’ files were exposed through Google AdWords campaigns. Dropbox has disabled previously-shared links and fixed the vulnerability.
  • Check In/Out - Leading enterprise file sharing solutions enable users to lock files while they’re editing to prevent files from being overwritten. Consumer solutions can roll back to a previous version, but why have that initial confusion?

There is no question that consumer solutions need to compete with enterprise solutions. The employees at these enterprises are already using consumer solutions. The consumer UI is simple, and therefore end users prefer it. Simplicity makes these technologies the ideal consumer solution, but it also means they lack the robust requirements of an ideal enterprise solution. The potential is great, and the consumer-focused solutions need time to mature.

 

Thinking about switching solutions or implementing a new solution? 

We’re ready to do the legwork for you. By gathering your stakeholders’ preferences and deal-breaker requirements, managing the RFP process and leveraging data for a better price, Ombud saves you time and money. Reach out to us today at success@ombud.com.

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.

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