NOTE: This is Part 1 in a 3 part series comparing CorasWorks Work Management to a CRM database system. They all relate to the same customer story. See part 2 and 3 that follow on the same blog day.
I was in a demo today where a business user within a customer was showing IT how they use CorasWorks. The business user was showing and explaining how CorasWorks helps them be productive. The IT folks were used to a CRM database. So, I provided them with a comparison of CorasWorks Work Automation vs. what someone has to do using a database. Below I’ll share the particular example I used. I’ll detail the productivity numbers and scale them for a broader perspective vs. other ways of getting work done. The numbers really add up to make a sizable impact on your business.
The scenario is simple. In Federal Government Contractors, they manage responses to RFPs through a process that is a set of Stages. At a stage often known as Pursuit, the Contractor needs to make an Initial Decision to Bid or Not to Bid. Then, the decision needs to be recorded, people informed, next steps initiated, etc.
In the meeting I asked the business user what they would have to do if they were using the CRM system. They said it would work like this:
- The decision is made.
- A user then goes to the CRM system and locates the opportunity.
- They then need to manually update at least 5 fields (Bid Decision, Decision Reason, Decision Date, Who/How Decided, Stage When Decided, Next Step).
- If it is a No Bid decision then they need to update some more fields to close out the opportunity like End Stage, No Bid Date, Reason for No Bid.
- In general, they will then go to email to send an email to the Capture/BD team informing them of the decision.
- If a partner is engaged, then they will send them an email.
- If it is a big deal, they may also inform management via email.
- If it is a go-forward bid decision, they need to go to another system to create a task or send out an email for users to then begin the next steps to work on the bid.
- Somehow, they should record the activity – that they actually took the action and what they did, by making a comment.
On average, getting the above steps done (say 1 to 2 emails) takes about 5 minutes of work. In addition, this assumes that they get it all done in the first pass.
I then asked the business user to show how they did it in CorasWorks. It went like this:
- The decision is made.
- They then goes to the CorasWorks BD app and locate the opportunity.
- They run the CorasWorks action called Bid Decision, a simple form pops up with 2 fields (Bid Decision and Decision Reason) that they modify and then click Okay.
This action takes about 10 seconds. CorasWorks does all of the work. It updates fields of information. In understands what emails need to go out to whom and does that. It knows what related tasks need to be created. It documents the activity.
Time Difference 1 Item
NOTE: In my comparison, I am assuming in both cases the time it takes to go into the system and locate the record is the same. However, in CorasWorks you have all of the opportunities in this stage already at your fingertips.
- Manual CRM Database/Email – 5 minutes.
- CorasWorks – 10 seconds
- Productivity Improvement – 30x.
Impact for this One Task During a Year
Well, you might say that this is just one little task – exactly!!! This little task is done about 1,000 times a year for most of our customers. Using the comparison for single items the numbers are:
- Manual CRM Database – 5,000 minutes (83 hours)
- CorasWorks – 166 minutes (2.8 hours)
Impact on Average of 50 Tasks
In a normal Capture and Proposal Management process for Business Development there are at least 50 “little” tasks like this. Things like promoting from Stage to Stage, assigning writer tasks, scheduling reviews, recording release of RFPs, creating requests for contract administration, etc. So, let’s multiply the above times 50 to see the impact for this one process.
- Manual CRM Database – 250,000 minutes (4150 hours, 518 days of work)
- CorasWorks – 8,300 minutes (140 hours, 17 days)
But I have 10 Processes like this? That means…
Yes, it does. Your people are constantly switching between apps or doing things manually. This assumes they even know what they should be doing. If you apply the math the impact of CorasWorks across 10 apps/processes like this one are:
- Manual – 5,180 days of work (20 people)
- CorasWorks – 170 days of work (.7 people)
The upshot is that there is a tremendous amount of manual “work” going on in your organization that is costing you a tremendous amount of time and money.
What about consistency and data quality?
The productivity benefits are really important. But, the consistency and the resulting data quality are very important for your effectiveness. Bad things happen when the data is bad. In the CRM scenario, we are assuming that each user is trained really well and does all (100%) of the things required (a mess occurs if they forget to update that one field with the Bid Decision date). They also need to follow the business rules on who to update with what information. In general, this does not occur.
With CorasWorks, the system gets it right the first time and every time.
But it’s not apples to apples…
Ah, you caught me. You might say that you could go into a CRM system such as Salesforce or MS CRM or Deltek GovWin CRM and program workflows and build custom forms and you might be able to accomplish something similar. We use Salesforce. To accomplish this one task, partially, would probably take 40 hours of development by an IT professional. Assuming you the skills, time, budget, requirements, etc.
With CorasWorks, it would take about 30 minutes – all done with our magical configuration wizards. And, the work could be done and modified by a business user. They can also change it when they need to.
So, here is what happens. In a CorasWorks world all 50 of those work automation tasks for this process are automated because it is so easy and cheap and fast to do. And, the 9 other specific processes are also automated. Whereas in the CRM world only a few special items are automated, if any at all.
So, the “developer” productivity of CorasWorks means that 1) you get automated whatever you need to and 2) it is really easy and fast to change so you stay current and innovate.
It is the reality
The above numbers reflect what is actually happening. Most of us think that because we have some database system or custom app we are more productive. The reality is that we often don’t have enough time and resources to take it to the right level. These legacy systems aren’t really designed for Work Automation like CorasWorks. I cannot underestimate the positive impact that CorasWorks has because of the ease of automating the work of the business user.
Usually, it is not a question that something is not technically feasible. It is the cost, skill and time it takes to innovate. If the bar is too high, as it is with most other legacy software, it just never happens. Thus, most organizations numbers actually look like the ones above.