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by Matt Manning

Starting a new information service is hard. Customer expectations are sky high and they’ll pay top dollar only if the information is unique and timely and the software tools bundled with the information are top notch. That means a lot of upfront expense and a significant gamble on the part of information entrepreneurs.

IEI has worked with a lot of entrepreneurs over the years and, in our experience, the keys to their success are as follows.

1) Design: New services need to be laser-focused on solving problems (i.e., meeting unmet needs).

  • Determine what people in an industry need to know.
  • Find (gather license, overlay, enhance) hard-to-find data.
  • Build highly useful/valuable tools around that data (e.g., compliance tools).

2) Execution: Reducing the risk of investment means using a tiered business model and carefully executing of the business plan.

  • Get revenue to flow quickly by having product tiers starting with an initial minimally viable service.
  • Keep expenses as low as possible.

3) Improvement: Renewal rates for the service are dependent on the ability to meet the ‘unmet needs’ of customers.

  • Continuous improvement of the service’s scope, depth, and functionality.
  • Usage monitoring with customer service interventions when usage dips.

IEI is very pleased to count so many major successful information service entrepreneurs as our customers. This success is no coincidence. IEI reduces our customers’ entrepreneurial risk via efficient and cost-effective processes. And our flexibility with customers who need to adjust their business models on the fly is also something that is simply not an option at other BPO firms.

Of course, it’s up to the services themselves to deliver on their value propositions to their end-users, but we think it’s easier for these customers to keep their eyes on the prize (their customers’ satisfaction) when they know IEI has their back, keeping their data accurate, deep, and compelling. No other firms have been designed to accommodate these commonplace realities of start-ups because other firms weren’t built by information industry pro’s. Our experience is our differentiator.

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posted by Shyamali Ghosh on October 15, 2019

by Matt Manning

IEI works with some of the world’s most successful company and executive information services. Our in-house research teams work on our customers’ projects via custom applications and we embed as many rules as we can into this software in order to prevent errors.

Some examples of the ways we embed rules include:

  • Preventing the submission of an alpha character in a numeric field and vice versa.
  • Alerting operators when they enter values that are not of the proper character length.
  • Not allowing certain text strings to be entered (e.g., if a research source is not allowed and a URL from that source is entered then a ‘validation’ routine rejects the value).

This approach to embedded rules can be used when designing the functionality of information services as well. Generally, this involves automated enforcement of the ‘terms of use’ and subscription agreements, but other types of routines can be triggered by particular usage patterns.

For instance:

  • If a user shares their UN/PW (evidenced by two concurrent log-ins from devices with different machine addresses) their account’s access status can be set to ‘off,’ requiring the subscriber to call the service to un-lock it.
  • Downloading a suspiciously large amount of information in a short period of time can trigger an alert or suspension.
  • If product usage is low prior to a subscription renewal period, then the customer retention team can be alerted to schedule training sessions to spur usage.

The most significant difference between rules enforced in a commercial product and those used by in-house workers is that external customers need to be handled with a firm but gentle touch. Scolding a customer for an inadvertent mistake can easily affect subscription renewal rates, so the messaging accompanying the functionality has to be positive. Internal communications with staff users of applications, however, can be more basic and direct.

But while the ‘messaging’ aspects of these applications (alerts, recommendations, etc.) do vary significantly, the software mechanics of using embedded rules to make business processes more efficient are virtually identical. So whether it’s a matter of protecting your data’s integrity or improving your renewal rates, automated rule enforcement plays a critically important role in the design of all modern business processes.

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posted by Shyamali Ghosh on August 27, 2019