We’re super excited to have recently launched a fixed-cost guaranteed-value Discovery Project option – a fairly unique innovation in New Zealand.
And when we say guaranteed value, we really mean it. We know it’s hard to figure out whether you’ll get value from a strategic review-style process, so we’ve launched this model so you don’t need to take a risk.
But what is it and why do we put everything on the line for every client?
Our industry has some challenges
There are some amazing people working in the digital and tech industry – people who really know their stuff and have a track record of delivering results. People who have spent years building up experience have kept ongoing learning at the front of what they do and genuinely care about professional practice.
However, sometimes our industry also has a reputation for the opposite of that.
While many of the “less than ideal” operators have been weeded out over the last few years, some do sadly still remain and it’s often hard for those outside the industry to figure out who is who.
This is especially a challenge at the strategic level.
What CIO Studio does is highly specialised and involves significant complexity. Developing digital and tech strategy and then overseeing the transformation of companies is not something to be done lightly – yet it's not regulated and the certifications available aren’t widely taken up.
So, who do you trust?
Explaining Strategic Tech
It’s hard to sum up strategic tech in a sentence, but in essence, we have a very experienced team of strategic thinkers who work with companies to sort out their digital and tech infrastructure and architecture, ensuring their technology enables their business strategy.
Sounds great, but what does that actually mean in English?
Lots of companies we work with haven’t necessarily thought about technology at a strategic level. They might have old legacy systems, thrown-together systems, or no systems at all – and aren’t necessarily aware of how they could be using technology to really move forward.
Often, they’re spending significant amounts of money to get people to do fairly repetitive administrative tasks that could be automated, which would free up those people to do much higher-value work for the company. Often different systems don’t talk to each other, and often they’re not really keeping track of their own customers or using technology to build a customer journey that gives their customers a really great experience.
For some it’s a size and complexity thing – just throwing things together works fine when you’re a startup, but as you grow, technology can start to hold you back rather than drive you forwards. They have often outgrown both their technology, and tech itself changes as well of course.
When things just aren’t quite right, most people know it – even if they don’t know why or how to fix it. And that’s where we come in.
What we actually do
We normally start at the end, and the first thing we look at is what a business is trying to achieve – what its overall business strategy is. How it works, where the value is, and what would it look like if it was using technology to do it perfectly.
Sometimes businesses don’t have a formal strategy and that’s ok too.
This part of it often involves research on potential solutions to specific problems.
There isn’t a “one size fits all” solution, and we’re not tied to any vendor or product. From there, we map out what “good” looks like, then put together a high-level roadmap to get from the current state to the ideal future state – subject to budget, timing and other constraints of course.
Then it’s execution time – we lead, oversee, drive or advise on the transformational change needed to get there. If a company wants to handle much of it in-house, we operate as an advisor. If they want expertise to lead it, we lead it.
Then afterwards we stay involved as strategic tech advisors – essentially virtual CIOs, allocating a portion of a highly experienced CIO to ensure things stay right, and the company is best positioned to take advantage of future technology opportunities as they grow.
The Discovery Project
The Discovery Project, as we now call it, is the first part of this equation – a full strategic tech review, figuring out what makes a business tick, how we can help make it tick better, and creating a high-level digital and technology roadmap to get there.
The cost depends on the business size and complexity but is very reasonable and based on an agreed up-front fixed price. We run it as a standalone project, normally over 2-3 months (again, depending on size and complexity), and it involves a whole heap of research and understanding.
The outcome of the Discovery Project is a plan on a page:
Outline of where things are at now
What’s going right
What’s going wrong
What the opportunities are
What the future could look like.
Most importantly, it gives an indication of the projects and initiatives, and approximate timeframe and cost, to get from the current state to the desired future state.
At that point, customers can either finish it there or look to implementation. Most choose the latter, but that’s their call. Our customers are always in control.
Our team know what they’re doing...
Here’s a little flex: Our Founder, our CEO, and most of our Core Advisors hold the industry’s top-level professional certification, Chartered IT Professional NZ – a claim that very few other companies can make. Some might have one or two Chartered IT Professionals, we have most of our core team.
In fact, we even include two past Presidents and the past CEO of the tech industry’s peak professional body in our ranks – the body that represents and looks after thousands of tech professionals across New Zealand.
Most of our team have been doing this for a while. They understand business and they understand technology and most importantly, they understand strategy.
... but you shouldn’t take our word for it.
To finish where we started, we’ve gone one step further with our Discovery Project – we've made it fixed-price and we’ve put a 100% guarantee around the value our customers get from it.
Value is subjective, I hear you say (as you look around for the fine print).
We don’t mean a guarantee* with 20 exclusions, or some sort of long-winded mealy-mouthed vague assurance. We’re really clear: If you don’t get value from the Discovery Project of at least what you paid, we’ll refund 100% of the cost. No tricks or gimmicks.
We’re frankly sick of seeing companies struggling with their tech but not knowing what to do. Companies that don’t know who to trust, are worried about the cost, and are concerned that they won’t get anything much of value for the money they put in.
So, we fixed that – a fixed-cost, value-guaranteed standalone project to figure out the plan. We’ll take the risk, so you don’t have to.
We have client testimonials, references and all that jazz. But the best thing you can do is just jump in, knowing that we’ll stand behind our work. Drop us a note.
Paul Matthews is Chief Executive of CIO Studio and loves helping businesses succeed using tech. Drop him or any member of our team a note if you want to talk through the Discovery Project or the challenges your business is facing with tech.
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