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BizReport : Research archives : December 15, 2010

3 questions with Cherwell's Vance Brown

In 2011 one of the expected trends is the increased use of Software as a Service (SaaS). As businesses push farther into the online space, as new businesses are formed from the soft economy and downsizing of the past two years and as existing brands branch out into new territories, one way they're expected to do this is through software which will grow with their business.

by Kristina Knight

I had the chance to chat with Cherwell Chairman and CEO Vance Brown about his company and the future of SaaS.

Kristina: "What are the benefits in software products such as Cherwell's?"

Vance: "Service Management solutions enable management to gather the right metrics to proactively make the right business decisions and thereby truly align IT with business objectives to become a true business partner. Unfortunately, most IT professionals feel like the firefighters of the organization, only being called on for a crisis and in a perpetual state of being reactive. Or they are perceived as the "Rodney Dangerfieelds" (I get no respect!). The lack of respect comes from the conception that IT is only called upon when there is a problem, much like a utility company, and is not an essential ingredient to the success of the company's overall business strategy.

Software like Cherwell's allows management to act upon the right information--at anytime, from anywhere. We are in the midst of a technological wireless and real-time data revolution. This enables people with sound processes to make the right business decisions.

Organizations must no longer "collect data for data's sake"--nor even for information's sake. In order to make right, or "RITE" decisions, management must have data and information that is:

• Relevant to the mission, strategies, and objectives of the organization;
• Integrated across all department "silos" and geographic locations;
• Timely, so that the issues can be addressed and resolved before they become crises; and
• Efficient, so that with the mounds of data, organizations can "manage by exception" and the automated best business processes can be enforced.

A good Service Management solution like Cherwell's offers the ability to gather the data and make the 'RITE 'decisions.

Kristina: "Small businesses, especially, are plagued with smaller budgets, what does this type of software offer smaller brands/businesses?"

Vance: "In reality the issue isn't about's about making sure that the they are not collecting data for data sake and having the information to make 'RITE' decisions. I've met customers that have spent millions of dollars on the highest-end product available in our industry and still can't give you the most basic metrics that would improve the quality of their IT department or customer experience.

What this software should do, regardless of cost (and there are some inexpensive solutions out there), is four-fold:

• Make their IT department more efficient by automating some of the business processes that are being done manually;
• Make their IT department more effective so they are collecting the data that they need (not what the vendor dictates) to improve their organization;
• Integrate data so that 'silos' don't exist and;
• Gather the metrics needed to make real-time course corrections to the business."

Kristina: "In ecommerce studies have shown that the deal aspect is important, but that customer experience is more you agree?"

Vance: "Absolutely. C.S. Lewis once said, "Put first things first and we get second things thrown in: put second things first and we lose both first and second things." So what's the "one thing" - i.e. the "first thing" - to a company? The "one thing" and the "first thing" better consist of listening to and serving the customer. If a company cares for the customer, listens to their needs, and is responsive - then it will be able to build a great product and the company should be financially viable. If a company merely builds a great product but does not care for the customer, then the company will not be world-class - and the customers will be very frustrated. One of the best indicators of a company's success is whether or not they follow the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Tags: Cherwell, cloud computing, SaaS, Vance Brown

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