The One Missing Feature


Provider Evaluation

In approaching an evaluation of a new service provider, it is essential to not only detail out your requirements, but also to rank those requirements based on frequency of need and subsequently on how those ranked requirements can impact revenue or expenses.

An example - I sat in at a practice for a CRM discussion debating a final decision on service provider selection. The initial research had looked at four providers - and after due diligence had come down to a head to head comparison of two solutions. The staff had three core points they were wrestling with:

  • Could workflow be automated, at least in part, by staff without IT intervention
  • Monthly costs
  • Integration to tools for financial planning, forms and reporting

Price is always a factor - with the caveat that a business dig deep enough in their analysis to see if any of the following areas will provide return on investment for what may appear to be a higher up front price at purchase:

  • Automating manual processes - freeing up labor resources (redundant data entry, shuffling paper, searching paper files, etc) 
  • Expanded central view of client record - broadening service capabilities and analytics
  • Delivers additional service to clients - reporting, access to relevant information, new communication channel with your team, etc.

Is the Missing Feature Critical?

In this case - the staff ended up hanging over a single feature. Based on this they were going to make a provider selection that would increase their costs by 35% annually. I immediately asked the question: How often you do use this feature and how does it impact revenue based on the new provider?

A bit shocked with the response, I lobbied them to make the alternate provider selection. Why? They perform this single feature function once a month on average, and it has a 20% chance of increasing revenue. Not good odds considering the expense differential.

Perhaps by flipping the thesis here - the one core feature that drives this purchase - better illustrates the concept. After a lengthy discussion (they were really hung up on this feature), they chose the alternate provider. Not solely on price, but on the fact that it met all three of the key points they were wrestling with - minus only that small feature mentioned above.

Sometimes leaving one manual process alone, while automating many others is a shift in the right direction. You can make your provider decision based on one missing feature - just insure you have thoroughly proved out how critical that one missing feature is to your business operations. 



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