Many companies exist in traditional industries that evolve little over the years. In such industries the major players all compete with each other on fairly level terms. These conditions can lead to an undifferentiated landscape and sometimes a race to the bottom as price becomes the only remaining key differentiator. To stand-out, a company must look forward and adapt.
Occasionally you meet companies with a drive and vision to be the very best at what they do, but that’s not always enough to stay ahead of the competition. A visionary company needs people with the courage to try something so different it may cannibalise their existing business model. This is a story of working with such a client who understood the value of design and the power of software to turn their industry on it’s head and dared to try.
Software is the new engine driving our service-based economy and much like steam engines in the industrial revolution, software could lead to massive shifts in employment as roles performed by people begin to be automated. There are many posts out there covering the topic and we suggest you read them all. What’s unique is when you find a company who sees the writing on the wall and decides to actively accelerate into this future.
Evalueserve are a knowledge management company delivering research, analytics and data management services in the form of documents and reports.
The traditional business model involved having prearranged corporate accounts with orders taken over the phone and the end product being delivered as email attachments. More importantly the research was done entirely by hand using online research and specialist databases – a time intensive process that was reflected in the price of the end product. Evalueserve are one of the world’s top companies in this sector, employing thousands of researchers and analysts in locations spread around the world. But they saw how automation has the potential to increase efficiency and to offer their services faster and cheaper than anyone else could afford to.
At the heart of their new vision was software.
Clever machine-learning software that was designed to do the initial part of the research using API’s to import trusted data sources that aggregate the salient points into a template. This process outputs structured sentences laced with accurate data about the research target giving analysts the raw material to begin the writing process. This process compresses what was previously 6-8 hours of initial research and drafting into minutes. The rest of the report writing process can then proceed as usual. The savings are passed onto the customer allowing a dramatic increase in service and reduction in cost, making the offering more compelling and competitive.
But good software, no matter how innovative is nothing without a good user-experience to go along with it, especially when it comes to software that is used by the employees providing the client service. If the new thing is harder to use than what came before it or is perceived to be hard work, it simply won’t get used.
The improvements went beyond the technology behind the scenes; Evalueserve had identified that the customer user experience of getting their service needed attention too. To make this vision possible the end-to-end UX needed improving along with it. In this situation the creation of a new product and brand were necessary to differentiate the offering and reduce confusion with existing customers.
InsightBee was born.
The user experience was modernised to be totally self-service, liberating previously phone and account driven processes. We achieved this by making the order flow simple and intuitive. We user-tested the process with real customers to identify friction points and optimise for ease of completion and conversion. The software can deliver price and time estimates immediately allowing orders to be placed anytime from anywhere in seconds. This all had to be achieved whilst preserving a sense of trust and professionalism in the experience. The report delivery system was reimagined to become a cloud-based document repository for all your ordered reports so that they can be accessed at any time. Of course the whole platform is fully responsive and has since expanded into mobile apps too.
As the product has grown, so has the service offering.
Several new business areas have been targeted, delivering data and analytics on a subscription basis to specific business niches in order to empower customers and provide more context and reasons for ordering even more reports. Some of which have since won industry awards for their innovation.
As time goes on the volume of automation possible is only going to increase as they continue to invest in the mind+machine™ philosophy, evolving the technology and user experience to new levels.
So why should companies embrace the future and invest in better experiences?
Evalueserve saw the writing on the wall. They foresaw a future where a lot of what they do today could be automated by computers, and instead of doing everything they could to delay that transition, they decided to accelerate head-first into it.
By being the first in their market to take these steps they are pushing the entire industry forwards and are able to offer the same product at unparalleled speeds and efficiency. Savings made are passed onto their customers and in doing so differentiating from their competitors and taking more market share. They’re hitting the nirvana of reducing costs without reducing margins.
Such a transition doesn’t need to mean loss of jobs – no analysts have been made redundant as a result of this transition. Instead the increase in business means the same number of staff are able to deliver more reports, faster. The most monotonous parts of the job have been removed – leaving the skilled labour force to concentrate on the tasks that deserve their talent and attention. The net result is employees and clients are happier.
What learnings can you take away from this for your business? Not everyone has to use machine learning or automation to make business improvements. Every business is different and can differentiate in ways their competitors are not. The key here is to do so using good design and a user-centric philosophy to ensure that the products or services you provide improve. Make sure you’re investing in the right places for the right reasons.