Reward Wall Systems (RWS) is a leading producer of insulating concrete forms wth headquarters based out of Omaha, Nebraska. They had been using Goldmine for over a couple of years to manage their leads and contacts but were finding out that it was not scaling up their needs and becoming cumbersome to use. Issues such as duplication of records, limited customizability, and non-intuitive query interface made the Information Management department of RWS realize that they need to either develop a custom solution or find a solution that can be customized as per their requriements.
Handling the Requirements
RWS approached Cyzap in mid 2003 through a referral. After the initial meeting it became evident to Cyzap's analysts that RWS did not have a comprehensive picture of their requirements. So Cyzap requested RWS to undergo a requirement analysis phase. RWS agreed to this approach and spent several months interviewing their staff and regional sales managers. They compiled a 20 page document listing what they currently had and what they would like to have.
In December 2004, they provided Cyzap that document and asked for a proposal. After the initial review, Cyzap's analysts felt that while RWS has done a superb job of listing down their requirements, there were still plenty of grey areas that needed to be addressed. One of the biggest issues was identifying the exact scope of the desired system. For example,
- The requirement document indicated that RWS wanted to automate their lead and order management process. Both these processes were quite extensive and it was not clear whether there should be one system or two separate but integrated systems to handle these processes. That decision had to be based on several factors such as access control, information noise level, and administration.
- RWS wanted the system to prevent duplication of data but did not indicate how they wanted to prevent that.
- RWS was sending marketing literatures to new leads manually and wanted to automate that process but did not indicate what level of automation was required (or even possible).
Based on this analysis, Cyzap requested RWS to undergo a workflow analysis phase with Cyzap's analysts. RWS complied and the end outcome was a detailed scope of work document that clearly laid down "how" the desired system needs to complete a specific task. An excerpt from that document is shown below:
The new business leads can have one of two statuses: Suspect, Hold
The “suspect” status represents a business lead entered into the system that has never been ‘touched’. The “Hold” status represents a lead with no phone number.
A ‘suspect’ or ‘hold’ record will be entered into CMS by either manual entry or a batch import process. During entry, CMS will perform an automatic duplicate check with existing suspect or prospect records based on the duplicate match algorithm listed later in this document. The duplicate suspect record will be ‘merged’ with the existing record with the goal that no information is lost.
If no phone number exists for a given lead, the system will automatically set the status of the lead to “Hold”.
Scope of Work Highlights
Other key areas that were covered in the scope of work were:
- Process to automatically generate Customer ID as per the business rules
- Batch import of leads from different sources
- An extensive duplicate detection algorithm to be applied to all new leads (entered manually or as a batch)
- Categorizing leads based on different criteria
- Automatic assignment of sales agent and customers/distributors to new leads based on territory
- Restricting access to sales agents to only records in their territory
- Tracking Lead Sources
- Automatically determing which introductory letter be sent to a lead based on its lead source, lead type, and other factors
- Attaching communication logs and followups with each contact
- Daily email of new leads to RWS customers based on areas served (as part of the referral service RWS provides to its customers and distributors)
- Complete management of marketing-related orders with inventory tracking
- Timing closing dates for prospects with on-demand executive summary reports
- Tracking marketing activities such as email promotions, newsletters, and Christmas cards
- Looking up customers by area (zip code, county, and state)
- Numerous mail-merge letters and reports
Award of the Contract
RWS requested Cyzap to provide a proposal to implement the system as per the workflow analysis. They also indicated that they had sent the analysis and requirements document to other vendors as well for competitive bids. After receiving all the proposals, RWS decided to award the project to Cyzap. Their general comment was that Cyzap's proposal was comprehensive yet cost-effective.
Timeline and Data Migration
Cyzap had presented a project completion timeline of about 4 months (end of December). A mock conversion was performed at the end of first month to ensure that all relevant data from Goldmine could be converted. The mock conversion also helped determine certain fields (such as comments) that could not be imported due to the way Goldmine exported that information. RWS unerstood the issues and indicated that they were comfortable referring to Goldmine for any historical information that did not permeate into the new system.
Resistance to Change
After about 2 months of development, it was determined that RWS staff was not able to provide sufficient testing feedback as they could not relate to the new system while it was in the development/test mode. In other words, the new system was requiring the staff to think from a different angle, which was difficult to do while the old system was still in production.
To tackle this "change resistance," RWS and Cyzap concluded to put the system into production in the next month itself (while it was 80% completed) and complete the remaining 20% of the tasks while the system stayed in production. The decision had a great positive impact as all the users quickly adopted the new system with the help of Cyzap's transition team. During this tranistionary phase, Cyzap's team made sure that it reacted swiftly to any issues raised by the users (whether it was a bug or a training issue).
In December 2004, all the regional sales managers of RWS had arrived for their annual meeting and were offered a detailed training session. Since most of the managers had already used the system, the training session was extremely productive. And now RWS and Cyzap are looking into completing the second phase of their requirements dealing with the entire order management process.