CIBER Inc.'s Lawson Practice Projects Annual Multi-Million Benefits from Newly Implemented Qvidian Solution
“Qvidian shares everything they know, so more than just selling us a proposal automation solution, they helped us create a whole new proposal paradigm that drives our business. As a direct result of these efforts we have developed a degree of professionalism in our proposal processes that have made tangible differences in the way we do business, winning us more than $3 million of new business almost immediately.”
With $40 million in annual revenues, CIBER's Lawson Practice business unit generates more than 500 proposals each year with an average dollar value of $180,000--and with some exceeding $5 million. All target a very defined marketplace: users of Lawson ERP Software. With limited numbers of prospective clients, and a great deal riding on repeat business, CIBER's Lawson Practice has a clear need to ensure that all proposals are best-in-class, accurate, and support their corporate image and outstanding reputation. With only 15 sales representatives, productivity in the proposal creation process is also of paramount importance.
To meet all of these requirements, the business unit recently began implementing Qvidian Proposal Automation—as well as a range of consultative services that have helped re-shape the entire proposal process. Even before rolling out the software solution, these services are credited with winning more than $3 million in new business. Furthermore, in a single month after going live with Qvidian Proposal Automation, this application has cut development time for proactive proposals from more than two hours to just 15 minutes. Equally important, all proposals now contain pre-approved content and meet CIBER's standards for accuracy and presentation.
CIBER's Lawson Practice is projecting even more impressive results once the entire Qvidian solution is completely implemented, including a 25 percent increase in win rate that is expected to yield an increase in annual sales approaching $4 million. The business unit also expects an increase of more than 30 percent in sales productivity which will result in annual savings of 57-man-days for the sales team and 31 man-days for the sales operations team. With more time available, the sales team will be able to uncover more opportunities, make more sales calls, and generate even more proposals.
"Before deciding to implement the Qvidian solution, our biggest challenge was understanding how to put together proposals that completely reflected the robustness and comprehensiveness of CIBER's solutions, and that were completely accurate, up-to-date, and did not create reputational or lost revenue risk to my business unit," explains Bill Geddy, Director of Sales at CIBER's Lawson Practice.
Ensuring that proposals met this high standard was difficult because Geddy's business unit did not have the proposal development staff required to monitor and standardize each of the more than 500 proposals issued annually. Instead, individual sales representatives had to create their own proposals. Pressured for time, sales reps often took the easy way out, re-cycling earlier documents. Unfortunately, these re-writes did not always contain current information, were not always tailored to the current scenario, and were not always approved by the appropriate managers. As a result, errors could occur that had the potential to negatively impact CIBER's reputation and that could unnecessarily add to the cost of winning a sale—and of executing a contract.
In addition, because the proposal process was labor-intensive, the cost of sales was unnecessarily high. And, since proposals were not best-in-class, win rates did not meet expectations. Finally, with no standardized approach to proposal development, getting new sales representatives up to speed was both time-consuming and difficult. "Proposal development is the single largest area of effort and roadblock to on-boarding new sales executives," Geddy says.
After considering several alternative proposal automation solutions Geddy determined that the Qvidian solution would best meet his requirements. But it remained to convince upper level management at CIBER. "This process was really quite straightforward," he says. "I prepared a detailed business case, submitted it to the appropriate executives, and then, when I met with them I also presented a two-page benefits summary. Within five minutes I had my approval, as well as an interest level in extending the solution enterprise wide if my business unit's implementation was successful."
The cost-benefits that CIBER management found so compelling included the fact that with an increase in sales staff productivity of just five percent, full payback would be achieved in the first year. But Geddy projected a productivity increase of more than 30 percent, a boost that would yield almost $1 million dollars in additional selling time for sales representatives. In addition, with improved and standardized proposals, win rates are also expected to increase substantially, with a potential bottom line gain of almost $4 million dollars annually. "My conclusion was clear," Geddy recalls. "After one year, I believe the Qvidian solution will provide a return on investment of almost $5 million dollars."
In addition to these quantitative benefits, CIBER's Lawson Practice was also impressed by Qvidian's commitment to, as Geddy says, "make sure we had the best possible proposal processes associated with implementation of their solutions. They share everything they know, so more than just selling us a proposal automation solution, they helped us create a whole new proposal paradigm that drives our business. As a direct result of these efforts we have developed a degree of professionalism in our proposal processes that have made tangible differences in the way we do business, winning us more than $3 million of new business almost immediately."
Currently, the Lawson Practice has only rolled out the proactive proposal generating piece of Qvidian Proposal Automation, an application that is enabling sales representatives to complete proposals in 15 minutes by providing fast access to a database of approved content. They select the content required for a compelling proposal and the system automatically generates a completed document that meets corporate presentation standards.
"Although we've experienced significant time-savings and cost-benefits already, the really big benefits will be seen when we start using Qvidian Proposal Automation for our high value, complex, multi-million dollar proposals," Geddy says. "And these will only set the stage for the benefits we expect when we [utilize Qvidian Proposal Automation] later this year to streamline and standardize the responses we create to RFPs."
The Future with Qvidian
In addition to adding Qvidian Proposal Automation to their Qvidian environment, the CIBER's Lawson Practice will also add ProSearch. This application will give sales representatives the unprecedented ability to quickly respond, on the fly, to customer requests for specific information.
In addition to the internal uses for Qvidian Proposal Automation and ProSearch, the business unit is also planning on providing licenses to these applications to their partners who they collaborate with on projects. "By giving partners secured and controlled access to our Qvidian solution we can leverage our content database and the workflow engine associated with these solutions to dramatically shorten response time to complex RFPs," Geddy says.
According to Geddy, his business unit also plans on using their Qvidian database to store not just content used in creating proposals and responses to RFPs, but the actual completed documents as well--along with supporting documents, such as statements of work, and project documentation. Geddy also expects to use Qvidian Proposal Automation to create statements of work and possibly other legal documents such as non-disclosure agreements.
About CIBER Inc.
CIBER, Inc. (NYSE: CBR) is system integration consultancy and outsourcing provider offering services globally on a project- or strategic-staffing basis, in both custom and enterprise resource planning (ERP) package environments, and across all technology platforms, operating systems and infrastructures. Founded in 1974 and headquartered in Greenwood Village, Colo., CIBER operates in 18 countries, with more than 8,500 employees, and annual revenue of approximately $1.2 billion. CIBER is included in the Russell 2000 Index and the S&P Small Cap 600 Index. For more information, visit www.ciber.com.