Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Luck Isn't a Strategy

By Brian Kopack


The VP of Something Super Important walks into your office and asks for a muti-year, cross-departmental analysis of important trends affecting the business.

You, as the keeper of the company’s information architecture (a) run a quick query to produce the information from the tightly-integrated content management system you’ve created, or (b) panic and hope you can piece together enough morsels to distract the VP while you scour the systems all weekend to get real answers.

Feeling lucky?  Not county fair-carnival game lucky.  I mean being able to access perfect information and deliver it to the right people at the right time lucky.

If you are the typical business, the reaction is closer to (b).  An AIIM survey report, “EMC at the Crossroads” details that in more than 60% of the companies surveyed, one-half or more of their content is housed in non-enterprise content management systems.  Additionally, more than 25% of those companies use 4 or more disparate systems in their operations.  

Unorganized information = missed opportunities.  

A long time ago, somebody smart said that luck favors the prepared.  In 2014, luck favors the connected – the integrated.  Information is currency.  Whoever can get it first usually wins.  

Business has access to more information about everything than at any other time in the history of the universe, but it’s never been harder to organize it all to make meaningful decisions.

What are you supposed to do?  Even if you had a strategy to capture the information your business needs to make critical decisions today, you have to be adaptive to changing needs tomorrow and navigate around an IT staff that is perpetually overbooked and try and squeeze one more task out of department heads that spend all of their time in the day-to-day.  Good luck with all that.

Or, you can find a partner who knows content management and business – a partner who understands that your information strategy should be simple but dynamic – a partner who knows process automation can tap into unimaginable efficiencies – a partner who believes you can’t integrate systems without integrating people.

Lucky for you, I know that exact partner.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Soap Opera Close Up

By John Trimble

You have all seen this, with or without sound, on every soap opera: a close up on a couple seemingly in love and embracing. The camera then zooms in on the woman’s face who secretly – her emotion shielded by the hug – shows distrust, unhappiness or even queasiness. It is a great device and is used so often simply due to its economy. A complete assessment of a relationship from one side is captured and revealed in two seconds.

How valuable would it be if that type of revelation, that same economy, that honesty (OK, forget it’s a cheesy soap opera and focus here) could be arrived at in the business world with clients? Or even a prospective client?  Understanding, in one quick reveal, how they really feel about your company when they were relieved of having to be fake friendly or politically correct? How they really feel about a current provider whom you are hoping to displace?

When one asks sterile questions like “Are you satisfied with our services to date?” before that last syllable even hits the air you can hear the auto response of “Yes, we are.” Of course in no way is that answer bankable, the answer is pre-determined by the poor phrasing of the question. Similarly, “Is there anything else we should be doing” brings forth the automatic,”No, we’re good.” Maybe that’s true but maybe not…or the common, “Are you happy with your current provider?” You can already hear the “Yes” because again it’s a programmed response.

Bad questions, bad language = bad information

Here is how IOS does it; we ask them if they are in love.  Seriously. We ask our clients if they are in love with IOS.  We ask “what would we have to do to lose you as a client?” We also ask prospects if they are currently in love with their current provider.

We use extravagant language – non business language on occasion because we have to know if we are fulfilling everything we promised in their eyes. We think we are – do they? Not knowing is negligence and like every advice column ever written for couples, quality communication is everything for a happy long term relationship.

Test it yourself: ask a prospect in any field if they are satisfied with their current vendor. You will undoubtedly hear “yes.” Then follow up with, “Are you in love with them?” Then the honesty begins – usually with “Well, I don’t know about that” or “I wouldn’t go that far.” You are now quite possibly in a real conversation.

So, we ask current and prospective clients if they are “in love” because the simple use of non –business speak encourages honesty and full, less careful responses. It avoids the automatic programmed response, responses that do not get anywhere near the truth.

No one can improve what they cannot touch and no one can fix what they allow themselves not to hear. Besides, everyone deserves to be in love.

Cue the closeup.