An interesting question is surfacing in the Claromentis world – what should the correct sales department response be to the question of “How much Intranet Consultancy will I need?”
Many times I am in meetings with potential new clients, and we get that question ‘Is that available out of the box?’
Well yes, many things are. Massive applications. But then they need configuration.
For example – yes of course we can connect to many disparate data stores and display dashboards on any required permissioned basis within the intranet. We do that all the time.
A management KPI area, an IT status dashboard – you imagine it – we can deliver it. But not out of the box. You don’t need to buy anything – all Claromentis applications are included in the system – but someone has to make the connections, configure the output to match requirements – drill down multi level bar charts by month, next layer down to show days, graphing only data points with values over £x – yes of course. Its just a data gatherer – but someone has to write it and configure that dashboard.
The client gets all the application, the admin panel, but at the end of the day they probably don’t want to actually do the work. So what should the honest account manager be trained to say?
I think I am coming down to that answer we developed a long time ( in intranet terms ) ago, which is for now, lets focus on Phase 1. Our obligation is to describe to you, the potential customer, the art of the possible – you prioritise it, with or without our help as you wish – you make definite decisions on whether you want us to do that or your own staff that we will train – and then we can sensibly give you a year one budget.
I can hear you say that this is all obvious. But I think it is just not clear to most companies looking to leverage permissioned collaboration to make a difference to their business. There is just too much information to absorb, to many requirements to gather from departments where I know, once they talk to us, they will be inspired in the art of the possible and dream of this or that great functionality – they will immediately want phase 3 – before they have even selected a vendor.
I was going to conclude that ‘walk before you run’ springs to mind, but this is I think not correct. We need to work together to help clients run, and if running is what they actually need then I believe they don’t have to walk first. But they need to understand that going from a standing start to winning the race is not a matter of installing Claromentis code – someone has got to make it happen, and with the best will in the world, if that enabling resource works for Claromentis not your own company, they will need to be paid for..