As a startup, it is useful to write down the benefits of your offering from a customer’s perspective: it’s a great way to spot assumptions, errors and omissions, as well as ensuring that the company itself is completely clear on what it is offering, to whom, and why. So, here is our attempt:
Until recently, if a finance or leasing house was looking for a front and mid-office consumer credit application system, it had three main options:
- purchase a system from a traditional software vendor, hosting it in house;
- the same but hosted by the vendor; or
- building a bespoke system itself.
Quotevine adds a totally new fourth option, by providing a fully managed software service with no upfront investment, low running costs, excellent functionality and the flexibility to scale up and down as demand varies.
Buying a system from a traditional vendor usually goes something like this:
- Spend 3-6 months writing and reviewing RFIs/RFPs and entering into contractual negotiations.
- Spend a further 3-6 months on a gap analysis between the system’s standard features and your organisation’s dream specification. The outcome of this will determine the cost of the system, the length of the project and the likelihood of the project being delivered on time and to budget.
- Enter into a 9-12 month build and test process. This is where things can go very badly wrong. Lack of clarity in the specifications, miscommunication between different organisational functions or the organisation and the vendor, optimistic estimates given at the RFP stage, or simple vendor quality problems can easily double the length and cost of this process.
- Finally: the system is live! After a well-deserved project party, you can sign the support and maintenance agreement (20% of the project cost per annum, with annual rises of around 5%) and get back to business.
Total financial outlay is likely to be £2-5M depending on the amount of customisation requested, and assuming nothing goes seriously wrong. Support and maintenance, licence and running costs will be £250-750K per year (maybe less, maybe more, depending on whether you host in house or outsource this to the vendor and whether you require any major functionality changes post go-live in response to market forces or legislation).
Total time spent designing, managing, worrying about, reporting on etc. the project: 18-24 months. And all the while, you know that in 6-8 years you have to do it all again when the system can no longer keep up with the technology or business demands of the marketplace.
Building a bespoke system in-house on the other hand:
- No time on RFIs and RFPs. 3-6 months saved, excellent. Of course, you still need to write a whole ream of documentation detailing what each business function wants the system to do. Again, allow 3-6 months for that.
- If you’re building your own system in house, then your organisation might already have its own IT function. If it has, and assuming they have the necessary skills mix, then your project will have to be prioritised against the existing demands on your IT team. If you need new IT resources then allow 6 weeks to 3 months to recruit and induct them. Of course, these new recruits will either be on your permanent payroll, thereby increasing your organisation’s fixed costs, or contractors at between £350-£1000 per day depending on role.
Allowing 9-12 months for build and test, you could have a new system in around 14 months. Total cost should be between £1.5M to £5M. Running costs should be 50-100K per year cheaper than options ½, as you will have no ongoing licensing costs.
If you choose Quotevine as your new system, assuming 3-6 months for RFIs/RFPs and internal discussion you can be up and running as soon as you like.
There are no design, development or build delays as we have already built your organisation a class-leading system with world-class security and comprehensive functionality.
There is no capital investment: your organisation only has to pay a monthly bill based on the number of proposals processed, meaning you don’t pay for capacity you don’t use. If your business has large seasonal variation this alone could greatly improve your profitability: instead of specifying and paying for the system you need to cope with your peak volume, and having all that power idle most of the time, with Quotevine you only pay for capacity when you need it, not when you don’t.
While you don’t get a system with absolutely everything on your wish list, the flexibility of our solution will contain everything you need and more. Quotevine constantly develops in response to customer feedback and legislative changes, meaning no unpleasant surprises cost-wise, but the definite ability to influence the development of the platform to better fit your organisation’s needs.
So, that’s our customer offering in 750 words. If you did the same for your startup, what would it say?