The Importance of Value in an Evolving Business Climate
As signs of Spring start to boom around us, I can’t help but think of the exciting opportunities ahead especially after coming through a gloomy business cycle for the past several quarters.
Those opportunities only become recognized if we are willing to confront the sometimes brutal realities of the current business climate.
And that reality is this: Businesses [across all industries] are looking closer at their budgets and questing spends. They’re asking hard questions and examining new projects and, quite frankly legacy partners, with a heightened level of scrutiny.
While the accompanying uncertainty that looms as a result can certainly keep business leaders awake at night, I can’t help but think, for some very specific reasons—it’s about time.
While cost cutting alone is sometimes a necessary reality, the larger thrust is really about driving more value, rather than simply lowering expenses. After all, work still needs to get done.
Having led a business built on driving value for most of my career, here’s what “value” questions sound like, according to direct conversations I’ve had with many of our customers:
- Are your customers on the business side pleased with the outcomes?
- Can you demonstrate a return to management?
- Has paying more yielded better results, other than convenience?
- Has paying less yielded any results, other than savings?
- What is the return you are getting for the investment you’ve made?
- Are you reaching your goals?
Let me be more specific, without naming names of course. I’m referring to the large professional services and consulting companies that work with many Biotech and large Pharma companies for strategic and then operational services. Ok, let’s call them company A and company D. Then there are also the large multinational outsourcing companies that offer low-cost/low-value staff augmentation. We will call them, well, there are too many to list.
Please tell me the last time you said: “Wow, company A or company D did such a great job! They finished on-time, under budget and actually did what they said they were going to do! Let’s give them more projects (and overspend more money next time)!”
You can sense my sarcasm, of course. But the truth is, many providers in this space are doing Biotech and Pharma companies a disservice in the way they scope, execute, and hold themselves accountable for the outcomes of services that are mission critical to companies in the business of advancing science. In fact, a large pharma customer of ours recently shared, and I quote, “We only use D because A is much worse.”
Take some time to let that sink in.
On the low-cost, outsourced side, we see much of the same. Poor service. Inconsistency and turnover within the support team. Lack of accountability. And the inability (or worse, an unwillingness) to evolve and learn more about business in favor of following a dated and static runbook.
I find myself asking, how much lower can the bar go? And further, why do companies continue with these vendors for any critical scientific computing projects?
The Way Back to Better
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why companies continue a relationship with partners that either overcharge or underdeliver (or sadly, both). I’ve asked our customers as well. And what I’ve concluded is that it’s about mitigating risk—or rather, the perception of mitigating risk.
But the question then becomes, what happens if you stay with these providers? Why would you expect the outcome to be different? In fact, I wrote a piece last year on the inherent risk of doing what you’ve always done, and expecting different outcomes. You know what they call that ….
Of course, I have an answer. My answer and solution is based not on what we believe at RCH but what our customers tell us and what they have done.
Our customers are challenged with the market dynamics of having to do more with less—and they’re looking for greater value out of the support engaged to support them.
In fact, several of our large enterprise customers recently cut their spend on the large PS/Consulting companies and transitioned or are in discussions to transition those projects to RCH as their partner of choice. Why? Because the bar has been elevated and these customers, now more than ever, recognize who has the skills, service model and specialization to rise to the occasion.
For those that have already pulled the trigger, we continue to earn their approval and trust through results that speak for themselves.
And for those who haven’t yet made that wise call? Well, we’re here, we’re proven and we’re ready to add value where the others have not, whenever you’re ready.