While at IDC, I was involved in 100s of projects - sometimes leading teams and sometimes as the principal consultant. Below are some of my favorites…
Creating the Business Case for Infrastructure Investment
Client Challenge - Create compelling policy and practice roadmaps for improvement of IT infrastructure performance for management at various stages of IT maturation and sophistication.
Approach - At the time, there was no body of rigorous, use-based research from which to quantify the actual business impact of the adoption of IT best practices and policies.Ralph Finos led a team of analysts and researchers to meet this challenge.Using in-depth executive interviews and rigorous data analysis, we were able to quantify and compare IT costs, service levels, help desk metrics, and deployment metrics for shops emplying best practices and policies vs. those which did not.
Results - Our client created a series of rigorous, research-based white papers articulating a clear and compelling value story and road map for phased policy and practice adoption for their customers and prospects.This enabled more consultive, client-centric selling that improved customer value and increased sales.
Ralph is smart, creative and a real professional.The consulting business is unfortunately littered with mediocre players, but Ralph is the real thing.Having worked closely with him for 15 years, he brings a wealth of experience and innovative approaches to his consulting methodology, but most importantly, he always puts the customer first. Debra Goldfarb, President, CEO, Tabor Communications, Inc
I worked closely with Ralph Finos for more than a decade.I found him to be an exceptional consultant, project manager, and business person.Ralph is someone who is able to deliver consistent results of very high quality and I would highly recommend him for a wide variety of engagements. Dave Vellante, co-founder and CEO, The Wikibon Project
Ralph Finos achieved the highest level of professional achievement as head of the consulting practice at IDC.He grew IDC’s consulting business by over 20% a year.Such rapid growth in a consulting business can only be achieved when the clients are highly satisfied! Pat McGovern, Founder of IDG (parent company of IDC)
Ralph Finos brings deep industry experience combined with a thorough methodological approach to provide fresh insights into business problems. Rich March, Management Insight
Ralph and I have worked together on technology market research projects for 22 years. He is an exceptional manager - blending leadership skills that guide collaborators and staffsto reach beyond their potential with a clarity of vision enabling resolution of the most difficult research problems. Steve Daniel, President, Daniel Research Group
Strategic Fit – Positioning Against a Disruptive Innovation Client Challenge – Vendor challenge was competition with an emerging platform in production applications that was a threat to disrupt their leadership position in their core market.
Approach - We gathered installation and performance metrics on a common workload from users of the client’s and competitor platforms.We established and measured the conditions for optimal business solution performance as a function of cost and the scale of the application between the two environments.
Results – Our work showed that performance varied as a function of scale and complexity – and that as the workload characteristics grew more demanding, the client’s platform performed increasingly better compared to its competitor.Over the years, the extent of the advantage diminished as the disruptive innovation improved.But our client was able to effectively buy time and alter customer expectations and requirements for solutions in this performance class.
Locating the Opportunity for Grid Computing
Client Challenge – Our client was providing grid products and solutions and needed to understand the market segments where this technology would be successful in order to guide investment.
Approach – We determined that research with current as well as high-potential prospective grid users would point us to the usage dynamics where grids would have the highest level of appeal.
Results– Our research uncovered the industries and applications with the highest potential for grid usage – as well as the underlying factors and dynamics that pointed to emerging and potential application of this technology.Our client re-adjusted its strategy for this market and re-focused its efforts on the high growth potential segments.
Measuring Product and Service Market Opportunities in a Key Emerging Market Client Challenge – Our client's strategic plan required a forecast for a key emerging market, segmented by application, geography, e-size, and product types.
Approach - we integrated syndicated forecast data, enterprise demographics, and user-research-driven product configuration and consumption data into a multidimensional market model focused on uncovering higher potential product and service segments. Results – Our analysis and direction enabled our client to align their overall scale of investment appropriately by focusing on key opportunity segments where they could develop offerings with high appeal to the growth segments.
Measuring Web Infrastructure Trends
Client Challenge - Client had a strategic goal to create a lasting infrastructure play in e-business during a period of rapid market expansion and market volatility.They needed an outside source to calibrate their progress and the velocity of changes in market requirements to steer investment in a winning direction.
Approach - We used a combination of syndicated research as a foundation coupled with a global survey of recent and expected purchasing, workloads, and applications. We used an innovative analyst tool to view and incorporate survey data to estimate market share and trends.
Results – We were able to inform our client how they were doing relative to their competitors in key segments and how those segments were changing relative to each other.This enabled the client to understand its current position – but more importantly to adjust marketing strategy accordingly, to exploit the opportunity.
When Customer Satisfaction is High, but Disruption Looms and Cannot be Countered Client Challenge – Nurture and sustain strong customer relations with an annual on-site customer satisfaction survey.At the same time, drive their value proposition to smaller scale customers and solutions. Approach - We interviewing their top 100 clients in depth and analyzed their satisfaction and as well as their emerging requirements.While taking the temperature of their key accounts and providing gap analysis was an important outcome, the focus was on how to create value when the client’s customers were increasingly solving problems with less expensive solutions. Results – With our help, this client was able to maintain a high level of satisfaction among its largest key accounts, but was not able to adjust its business model to drive its value story to prospects in the broader market. These latter customers preferred to exploit lower cost, good enough, alternative technologies.While our work together provided good short term results, this client was not able to alter its business model and eventually succumbed to these alternative, disruptive solutions.