Barbara Walters is perhaps the most notorious news interviewer in recent memory. She never shied away from asking the “tough questions”, and not letting the person she’s interviewing provide a “politician’s answer” and squirm out of the tight spot. She’s fair, and thorough. When you’re interviewed by her, you know it’ll be tough, but the issue being address will be explored from each side, and if you’re up for it, and your cause is worthy, it’s valuable to be in front of her.
When Spieker Point engages with a customer, we typically embark on a process of discovery about that customer’s business.
- We look at all of the different people who will be extracting information from the enterprise software we create for the business.
- We look at what the business managers tell us the employees do, and then we look at what the employees really do – straight from interviewing them.
Often, we see situations where a business has grown so rapidly, processes that were put in place a few years ago are unable to sustain the rapid pace of interaction between customers and staff. The staff have come up with “straw dogs,” processes that allow them to keep on top of the pile of work, but deviate from what their managers think is actually happening.
A dynamic workforce is a powerful, wonderful thing that needs to be celebrated! A group of people who can ebb and flow their routines to solve bigger and bigger issues as the business grows is something that every business owner/manager strive for.
Spieker Point often refers to “deterministic interaction” between customers and a company, meaning that every similar request a customer makes of a business needs to have the same result. Problems occur when a business grows to a point where there are many individuals or groups servicing customer requests, and customers are getting different answers/results/prices/service depending on who is dealing with their request.
When growth forces a business from the “wild-wild west” operating procedure into something needing to be more deterministic – to absolutely ensure that each customer is being treated with the same excellence that the business brings to the ecosystem of competition – that is the place where enterprise software comes into play.
Spieker Point first discovers how the employees are interacting with customers. A process map is built as a baseline. The process is then challenged for efficiency. Sometimes a fresh set of eyes (Spieker Point) is able to see efficiency improvements that the customer isn’t aware of. Other times, it’s only with interaction with the business’ “domain experts” where these efficiencies can be uncovered.
The new and old processes are documented and presented to management and staff. We find it best to start the “change management” process early with staff. If all key stakeholders (ie. staff) are aware early on of what we are building and why, the project is much more likely to be successful.
We use sophisticated tools that allow us to map out the current processes, and easily augment and change them in the software as our customer’s business grows and changes.
It takes a strong business owner to allow us to get to the root of the processes occurring down in the trenches. Asking the hard hitting questions at the start of the engagement is like being the Barbara Walters of the software world – while it may seem like an intrusive process, it makes for a much quicker return on investment for our customers.