Solution Storming Sessions

Detailed Discovery Sessions have typically been conducted prior to implementation of a customer solution after contracts have been signed for a certain product or solution.  These sessions allow the services representatives of a vendor to configure and tailor a contact center solution to a customer’s specific environment.  The typical sales-to-implementation process would normally include the following and usually in this order:

1.)    Prospects determine internally the requirements of a solution
2.)    They put out a request for proposal (RFP)
3.)    Various vendors respond to the RFP
4.)    Prospects short-list the vendors and ask them to present their solution
5.)    Sometimes a proof of concept maybe required
6.)    Prospects select a vendor after solution and pricing has been confirmed
7.)    Vendor’s service team conducts  detailed discovery prior to implementation
8.)    Solution is installed, configured, tested,  and cutover takes place

Several weeks ago, a new prospect made a request that effectively turned all of my preconceived notions of this process upside down.  At step number 4, the prospect wanted all of its short-listed vendors, including us, to conduct a detailed discovery session with its contact center teams.  While at first this idea seemed awkward and premature, I started thinking about the merits of this overhauled pre-sales process.  I had to rely on skills from my previous life as a technical trainer when sticky flip charts ruled the day. 

Here is how this model works as I see it now:  Pre-sales detailed discovery is a solution storming session where in every business unit that is expected to consume a solution is invited to the storming session to create their wish list and convey their ideas and requirements, for all to review and approve or deny.  We then explain how our solution meets or exceeds these requirements.  We conduct live product demonstrations to show how our solution could be used to meet these requirements, which gives our prospects a sense of immediate confidence about what we can bring to the table, kind of like an on-the-spot proof of concept. 

This solution storming session is mutually beneficial to our customers and to us.  The solution would inspire the customer’s faith in our solutions helping them select the best vendor as early as possible.  It would cut down on our discovery and implementation time and guarantees at an even earlier phase, that we will have a satisfied customer by the end of implementation.   This saves time, money and resources, not only for the customer but also for the vendor who gets selected.  Check out a couple of photos of one of our recent solution storming sessions in progress.

Abi Chandra

Abi Chandra

Abi Chandra

My career in telephony has unintentionally mimicked the life cycle of contact center solutions. In the 1990's, I was working on Rockwell's legacy ACD systems after which I then used server board-based systems at Aspect Solutions. Now, for the past five years, I have been working on IP systems for Interactive Intelligence. My primary background is in Cisco Systems data and voice networking and integrations. At Interactive Intelligence I am responsible for designing and architecting large-scale contact center solutions for strategic customers. I also regularly train our channel partners in systems engineering design methodologies. In my spare time, I enjoy making movies and the creative arts. People are surprised to hear that I am an avid Jazzerciser.