Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Problem Is Not Really A Problem Until The Symptoms Are Realized

I worked with a large financial institution that had been delaying a prospective retention and ediscovery project for almost two years. The project was something their executives knew would eventually have to addressed but the priority level was deemed lower than other projects as they had not had a formal ediscovery request thus far so no tangible realization of pain.

The CIO had been approached by many solution providers taking the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) approach. The consequences and risk that could be associated with potential litigation in the future and not being prepared were interesting enough to get it listed into the potential project pool where it remains to date. He knows that he will need to address it eventually but he is in the banking business so focusing on solutions that help generate revenue, streamline processes and enhancing the customer experience impact how he is evaluated and take precedence.

At this point most of the other solution providers had put them on a follow up list and he would receive emails periodically asking if the timing was better to reconnect. This is not an uncommon approach especially when an abundance of opportunities exists in the marketplace. Salespeople that sell products rather than address business issues disqualify prospective opportunities against a narrow qualification list rather than interpreting the situation from the clients prospective and in alignment with how they conduct business.

Interpretation of the Discussion:

The CIO knows they will have to address it eventually but the potential risk of future litigation is not significant enough to move the project up the priority list but if it can demonstrate how this type of solution could also help generate revenue, streamline processes and enhancing the customer experience then he would have an incentive to move the project forward.

The Solution that Won the Business:

Reducing Costs and Streamling Operations - As an email archiving solution at its core stores email to be searched at some future point against defined criteria to identify relevant content when needed. We identified how the system would allow for self-services retrieval of accidentally deleted email by users, reducing cost of expense storage by reducing the volume of email on the production email system which intern increased the health of the email system resulting in fewer system restorations due to the server being down. The loss of productivity, IT staff man hours to restore the system and impacted communication between internal resources and customers alone was more than the cost of acquiring the solution.

Enhance Customer Experience - Leveraging the search capabilities provided by the system allowed the bank to search corpus of legacy email to find patterns of successful communications to augment the customer experience. The reverse process was run to identify inappropriate content used when communicating with external parties and the scope of the problem.

Dollarization of Impact within the Customers Environment - The search tools were used to identify the degree of liability that exist within their email environment based on common HR related case types leveraging lexicons to flag content across the organization. This allowed them to strengthen their email policy and provided internally generated statistical evidence to support a liability business case.

As we prepared the business case for the CIO based on current operational issues, inefficiencies in the support process, ineffective use of IT resources relative to email, and the enhancement to customer experience resulted in a ROI of 4 months.

Based on the finding he was willing to spend the money to resolve these issues. The report identified the issues, symptoms and their financial impact. He purchased an archiving solution as a byproduct of resolving these issues.

You need to understand the business issues that are important to the customer, their evaluation process, and how they make decision. Until the decision maker realizes the symptoms of an ailment in his environment he will be hesitant in spending money or allocating resources. People don't normally take cold medication before symptoms have been realized indicating that they may have this ailment. The same applies when solution selling. Surface the symptoms, expose a problem, and provide solutions.

The selected points from the solution are incomplete as they are intended to help visualize the process and not to provide a how-to on selling email archiving and ediscovery solutions. Those individuals who have asked for additional detail on the solution that won the business, please send your questions using the "Contact the Daily Executive" form. (http://www.thedailyexecutive.com/p/contact-me.html )

Thoughts to ponder!