Beating the Big Players with Embedded Analytics
- Customers use self service analytics to optimize business processes such as onboarding
- Analytics serves as a key differentiator and helped increase ASP
- Symbox effectively reduced the large quantity of adhoc requests for custom reports
Deciding When to Add Analytics to the Roadmap
Three years ago, Symbox Director of Product Management Paul Gibbons was at a critical juncture. The company’s Digital Business Platform application focused on helping large enterprise teams orchestrate and automate complex business processes such as management of global mobile asset, or on-boarding and expenses.
At the time, about half of the service requests that came in from users were for custom reports. “A lot of our professional service time was being billed for custom reports instead of building out and offering expertise in business process management, which is our core product,” Gibbons recalls. “We are very customer focused, and the large volume of service requests made it clear that we weren’t empowering our customers to get what they needed or fully leveraging our talented team.” After doing a lot of research, Gibbons noticed that once his team started working with one department, they were able to increase their scope across multiple departments very quickly—and all wanted their own custom views of the data.
Competing applications only offered end users a standard view with out-of-date information. If a customer wanted a custom report, they would have to pay an additional cost and wait about two weeks to get information. “It dawned on me that we needed to create something that gave customers data in real time and served their various reporting needs. It was very different than what we offered, and it was risky, but I saw an opportunity to better serve our customers,” Gibbons said. He realized that if Symbox was going to completely redefine its focus, they would need to execute quickly and go to market in just eight short months.
Symbox's Build vs Buy Philosophy
Once Symbox decided to integrate analytics into their core value proposition, they faced another tough question: to build or to buy? “I abide by a core strategy,” said Gibbons, “Stick to what you are good at, stick to your core, and focus your development efforts on that.” With analytics as a main part of their value offering, the Symbox team calculated the cost of building a solution themselves. How long would it take? How much capital would they need? What would maintenance look like? What sacrifices would they have to make to their core IP?
“After we evaluated everything in detail, we realized analytics wasn’t our core IP. And it makes sense—we aren’t an analytics company,” said Gibbons. “When we thought about the core skills on the team, we knew we could create a nice-looking front end, but we would have to devote a lot of resources and make new hires to deliver a solid back end.” In addition to the obvious skills gap, the Symbox team also knew it would take much longer to build out the analytics themselves—making it impossible to go to market quickly.
“The nail in the coffin was when we started looking at what it would take to maintain a homegrown solution,” said Gibbons. It wasn’t just the technical support, but the ongoing investment needed to update and enhance the analytics down the road. Considering the required skills, time, and resources, Symbox ultimately decided to buy a solution. “It’s always tempting to build something like this yourself, especially when you are a growing company with very smart and talented developers,” Gibbons said. “But when we really thought it out, analytics wasn’t our expertise—and therefore wasn’t something we should build.”
In choosing an analytics solution, Symbox wanted a vendor who shared their high standards of product quality. They talked to half a dozen companies before choosing to partner with Logi Symphony. Logi provided just what they needed: a flexible platform with a focus on quality and customer success.
Beating the “Big” Players and Expanding New Business
The greatest value for any product manager is to deliver something that users love and can’t live without. With analytics, Symbox delivered a product that immediately identified weaknesses and holes in business processes, translating to real business value for their customers.
The cherry on top? None of Symbox’s competitors—even the biggest companies—could offer the same capability. The team immediately saw an uptick in user engagement. “We had a very large market-leading client who found it was taking years to fully onboard new enterprise clients. It became both an operational and customer experience priority for them,” Gibbons recounts. Using the analytics embedded in the Symbox application, the client was able to identify the problems plaguing the onboarding process and implement a solution, resulting in a 97 percent improvement. Now, it now takes them an average of just 24 days to onboard a client.
In the past, the Symbox team would spend a significant amount of time building reports and retrieving data for this type of project. “Now with Logi, we have access to any information we want at our fingertips, and our customers can build their own reports with the self-service capability,” Gibbons said. “Customers love that the data is in real time and they can easily get to their information.”
While Symbox always maintained strong customer relationships, they are now able to better compete against some of their biggest competitors. “After embedding analytics, we have a strong competitive advantage,” Gibbons said. “We’ve closed a number of new deals in the past six months, and we’ve seen an exponential increase in new business from years past,” Gibbons said. In securing those new deals, Symbox beat out market leaders, including two of its biggest competitors.
The new strategy helped Symbox reposition themselves in the marketplace. “We’ve always had a customer-centric approach, with a strong focus on delivering quality. Now, we also have a strong competitive advantage and deliver an even more valuable product. Logi helped us achieve that with analytics,” Gibbons concluded.
After realizing the long-term investment required to maintain a homegrown analytics solution, Symbox decided to buy an embedded analytics solution. With the help of Logi Symphony, they have saved 50% in operation costs compared to building analytics in house, and their average order value has increased by 25%.
The nail in the coffin was when we started looking at what it would take to maintain a homegrown solution. It wasn’t just the technical support, but the ongoing investment needed to update and enhance the analytics down the road.