Monthly Archives: July 2013

Program Manager

Program Manager is a senior leadership position, having the responsibility to form and lead a cross functional team to bring innovative, high-value products to market, capture market share, achieve revenue, and profitability objectives.  The Program Manager identifies ideal customer industries, understands the customer needs, and aligns and drives the entire organization to deliver against the promise to optimize the customer experience.

Key success factors include:

  • Focus on ideal customer industries
  • Know the customer’s requirements
  • Forming cross-functional team with the charter to fulfill the customer’s requirements.  Where cross functional team Includes: Engineering, Manufacturing, Distribution, Marketing, Sales, Service and Admin
  • Driving the cross functional team to deliver against the charter to optimize the customer experience
  • Continuous monitoring of product market acceptance, taking corrective action as needed
  • Involving senior management in high visibility opportunities
  • Regular periodic reporting to senior management on the Program’s successes/failures, difficulties and next steps

Program Manager – once the organization has agreed to serve a customer community, the Program is chartered (operational plan developed and resource allocated), and then, the Program Manager takes on the responsibility for delivering the strategic objectives and operational goals.

Given these challenges, in order for a Program Manager to be successful, requires that the person:

1)    Owns the Vision and Program Execution Success, is the go-to-person who makes things happen… “The Buck Stops Here”

2)    Has the expertise to lead the cross-functional team in assigning stakeholders, gaining ownership to responsibilities, knowing team interdependencies, and committing to achieving the Program Vision and Execution Goals

3)    Has the following skills sets: excellent cross functional team member selection, team building, execution monitoring, root-cause analysis, corrective action, coaching/mentoring/training and communications

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Market Requirements Document (MRD)

Market Requirements Document (MRD)

What is a Market Requirements Document or MRD?  An MRD is the documentation of the homework that is needed by organizations to understand how best to serve a customer community, their ability to serve the customer community, and if the rewards for serving the customer community merit the investments that are required.

Organizations seek to serve customer communities based on their assessment of their capabilities and who they perceive might derive benefits from the use of these capabilities.  Therefore, the MRD is a hypothesis that is being proven or disproven.  For organizations, already serving the customer community, the hypothesis to be proven might be how better to serve the customer community by introducing new innovative products and/or services, or it might be to enrich the customer experience in doing business with the organization (i.e. more awareness as to who, what, why and how customers are and how they want to be sold products/services, making it easier to do business…).  Either way, the starting points are always:

  1. Assess what are our “Abilities” including engineering, market presence, access to channels
  2. Who are or what customer communities do we serve or intend to serve with our abilities

Once the decision has been made to attempt to serve a customer community, then the MRD process is undertaken to explore what:

  • What “Need” or “Problem” of the customer community can our organization provide a “Fit” the “Solution”?  Do we know the customer community: Business and operational model, Industry pressures (i.e. market maturity, government regulations, competition), Technological readiness, Solution readiness (i.e. how innovative / disruptive are potential solutions)
  • Why would the customer community want our Solution: What customer emotional need could we satisfy? What customer operational improvement could we provide? What would be the customer “Value” motivating them to avail themselves of our products/service? What would the operational and financial impact be to the customer organization be (i.e. provide competitive advantages, increase revenues, lower costs, mitigate risks)?
  • Why would they buy from us… does the customer trust us to provide quality solutions and does the customer feel comfortable and enjoy the experience of having acquired our products and/or services and want to continue our relationship?
  • Where would the customer expect to find our products and/or services to be provided (i.e. what sales, support, maintenance channel, what brick and mortar or online store)?

Once the MRD is chartered to discover the answers to these questions, where do we start?

We learn from Geoffrey A. Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm, that each customer community has those members that fulfill a role in the community based on their leadership traits.

It is valuable to look to this model to help us focus on the best ways to get the MRD answers.

Innovation Adoption Lifecycle

It helps to understand the customer community in terms of the leaders and followers.  The leaders (i.e. Early Adopters) have already recognized their needs and problems and are already looking for fit and solutions.  In addition, the industry looks to them to lead the way.  The Early Adopters are much better at articulating answers to the MRD questions, oftentimes want to have access to solutions “now”, are willing to be Beta test sites in order to obtain early access to solution capabilities… a competitive advantage, may wish to provide R&D funding, and are willing to share their customer experience story with others in the customer community (i.e. assert their leadership role).  They know that Early Major, Late Major competitors follow their lead.

Therefore, the MRD starting point is to focus on Early Adopters.  The Early Adopters are recognized by their customer community peers and industry profiles provide excellent starting points to identify Early Adopters.

Once the MRD is completed and the organization decides to go forward with the introduction of a new product and/or service, the next step is to develop the Go-To-Market plan, form the cross functional Program Team (i.e. stakeholders), get the stakeholders up to speed and committed to the program’s success, and provide the necessary Operational Plan resources to execute the program.

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If you would like to learn more about how Prism Market Requirements Document services can improve your ability to serve customer communities, contact us at or call us (720) 352-3407.

Sales Operations Director Services

Prism Sales Operations Director professionals are knowledgeable and highly skilled at representing sales to all members of the organization’s cross functional team.  We have successfully enabled sales organizations to sell highly innovative new products and/or services to new markets.  We have enabled sales professionals to focus on sales execution to optimize account penetration and growth, build a strong pipeline of qualified opportunities, execute sales processes effectively and efficiently, recover from competitive attacks and achieve difficult sales goals.

Prism’s Sales Operations Director consultants have proven track records in sales, sales management, sales support, sales support management, solution implementation professional services, system maintenance and support services.  Prism Sales Operations Director capabilities include:

  • Identifying Sales Business Objectives
  • Develop & Manage Sales Operational Plan
  • Developing and Communicating Sales Compensation
  • Assigning Territories and Quotas
  • Sales Teaming, Process, Methodology, Activities, Aids and Tools Enablement
  • Product and/or Service Enablement – What, Who, Why, Where, When & How with Industry Positioning, Value Analysis, Competitive Analysis
  • Establishing Performance Yardsticks and Sales Professional individual Performance Standards
  • Territory Management & Ideal Customer Targeting with Marketing Success Stories Collateral
  • Industry & Channel Specific Marketing Promotions Planned & Executed
  • Collateral Review
  • Lead Generation Follow-Up Monitoring
  • Sales Campaigns
  • Cold Call Activity
  • Account Management & Ideal Opportunity Targeting
  • Opportunity Management Sales Professional Perceives Winnable, Valuable Opportunity
  • Prospective Customer Engagement: Sales Process Execution: Verifying, Qualifying, Solution Designing, Closing, Implementing & Communicating to Customer Sponsor/Champion Promised Customer Results monitoring
  • CRM provide the sales professional with the tools they need to perform their tasks and ensure CRM adoption.  We assist our clients in the selection, configuration, sales professional aids & tools deployment, sale performance monitoring & management reporting.
  • Pipeline Monitoring, Sufficient Opportunities & Sales Engagement Process Loaded to Achieve YTD Quota
  • Performance Problem Identification & Sales Management Corrective Action
  • Real-Time Online Competitive Analysis Support – Strategies & Counterstrategies
  • Real-Time Online Value Analysis Support
  • Territory Reviews
  • Account Reviews
  • Marketing Reviews
  • Problem Escalation & Resolution
  • Channel Reviews
  • Channel Conflict Resolution
  • Major & Strategic Opportunity Reviews & High Visibility Management Reporting
  • Major Customer Implementation Project Review (i.e. milestone and completion monitoring)
  • Stack Ranking Reports
  • Skills Improvement Training
  • Business Objectives Review (i.e. not only revenue, but margin and expense guidelines)
  • Business Intelligence Analytics & Management Reporting Systems
  • Data mining sales transaction database to identify customer purchase patterns
  • Recognition Newsletter
  • Product/Service Offer Market Acceptance Review
  • Sales Team Event Management – Kickoffs, Reviews, Outstanding Performance Recognition
  • New Hire Fast Ramp to Productivity – Everything Sales Professional Needs to Know about their job, roles and responsibilities, business processes, how to access resources etc.

If you would like to learn more about how Prism Sales Operations Director services can improve your sales organizations performance, contact us at or call us (720) 352-3407.

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Key to CRM Implementation Success! – The Sales Operations Director

The Sales Operations Director is the Key to Ensuring CRM Implementation & Adoption Success

Getting the most out of your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) implementation investment is dependent on who is the CRM Initiative driver.  We have observed that those organizations that have Sales Operations Directors assigned the responsibility of implementing the organization’s CRM are twice as successful as those relying on others including IT.  Why is this?  The Sales Operations Director is already responsible for the collaboration between the entire organization’s cross functional team, including sales, support, service, marketing and administration to bring about Customer Experience Optimization (CEO).  The primary CRM Implementation has the same objective.

Modern high growth organizations know that their success is based upon optimizing the Customer Experience, which enables them to acquire new customers and retain current customers, better than the competition.   Given that Customer Experience Optimization is the responsibility of the Sales Operations Director, and the primary purpose of CRM database tool, it makes a great deal of sense to have the Sales Operations Director drive the CRM Initiative.

At one level, a CRM is a highly configurable specialized database.  When properly implemented, CRM is a database tool that supports all customer facing organizations (i.e. sales, support, marketing, service and admin) in performing their individual functions, as well as working together collaboratively as a team to serve customers.

If you do not currently have a Sales Operations Director, consider hiring one and/or hiring a Sales Operations Consultant to perform this function.  Refer to our Sales Operations Blog entry to learn more about this position, its responsibilities and benefits.

Here are the biggest, and most common reasons CRM Implementations fail:

  1. The CRM is not configured properly to support your organizations operational model
  2. The CRM implementation is driven by someone only interested in sales, or marketing, or service, or admin or IT, and the driver does not understand all the dimensions of the entire customer experience.
  3. The CRM is implementation is inward focused, and not outward customer experience focused

Having a Sales Operation Director as a Product Owner stakeholder, to work with IT’s Agile Project Manager and SCRUM Master, to configure and extend the CRM tool to support your organization’s operational model is the ideal scenario to ensure that your organization seamlessly achieves its growth goals.

Please join this and other of our blog dialogues: share your successes, failures, recommendations for:

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The Impact of Cloud Computing

“Cloud Computing” is the new way of getting more with less for each IT dollar.

In the past, distributed compute IT operations experienced runaway operational costs associated with under-utilized compute capacities, excessive power, air conditioning, network connectivity and hardware maintenance and software support costs.  To address these, and other issues, the there has been to shift away from the distributed compute model to a network connected centralized compute, or data center model, where the data center provides much higher service levels at much lower operating costs.  In addition, there has been an explosion of intelligent devices with Internet access that is changing the ways end-users access online applications.

The graphic of what Cloud Computing model includes has been provided by Sam Johnson.


Given the migration to the Cloud Computing model is undertaken in incremental steps, we believe that it should be viewed as a journey for organizations with different interim and end destinations.

“Cloud Computing”, in its current form, represents new approaches and ways of thinking about IT based operational improvements; some of the changes are reflected in the following areas:

Shift Away from Distributed Compute (i.e. servers in cross functional organizations individual operations) on-line applications to either:

  • Move Servers to a Centralized Modern Data Center or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) with customer owned computer equipment housed and connected to data center infrastructure (i.e. either customer “on-premise” or “Private” data center, or a “Public” outsourced data center, or a “Hybrid” equipment deployment partially in Private and partially in Public data center. Co-Located (Co-Lo) means to relocate a distributed server and operations to a centralized data center.  Typically Co-Lo customers provide hardware maintenance and software support services with their equipment.
  • Software Development & Deployment Platforms or Platform as a Service (Paas) – Migration of online application to a shared server (i.e. Virtualized Machine [VM]) in a centralized data center (i.e. either Private or Public) where the public data center charges only for resources actually consumed.  PaaS customers can easily avail themselves of dynamic allocation of additional computer power, storage, network bandwidth on an as needed basis.  Also includes database extensibility across Private, Public and Hybrid data centers, Content Management Systems (CMS) support, device level security and compliance services.
  • Software Subscriptions or Software as a Service (SaaS) – Migration of online application running on a customer owned and operated system, or running on a shared data center owned and operated system, to a completely outsourced online application service under a rented use or software subscription basis.  Also includes outsourced services to support PaaS environments with Disaster Recovery (DRaaS), Email (EMAILasaService), and Content Management

Shift in IT Responsibilities and Costs from individual organization’s operations (i.e. Planning, Engineering, Manufacturing, Distribution, Marketing, Sales, Service, Administration etc.) to one of the following:

  • Customer IT owned and operated equipment now being migrated to Private, Public or Hybrid data center
  • Public Data Center or Internet Services Provider, or Internet Managed Services Provider (ISMP) outsourced provider of data center services (i.e. space, power, A/C, network connection, software infrastructure, content management, security, compliance, maintenance and support, and managed services)
  • Software Subscription Solution Provider online application totally outsourced IT Operations (application branded i.e. Microsoft Office 365,, Promantek etc.)

Impact on End-Users

  • Intelligent Devices – end-users can continue to access online applications as they have done in the past.  Intelligent Devices have World Wide Web Internet Browser resident software and can display information graphically for better communication and ease of use.  Please note however that simultaneously with the migration of servers to Cloud Computing, users have been slowing down in the use of Internet Desktop and Laptop computers as their primary method of accessing online applications and are rapidly migrating to Internet connected Pads & Smart Phones.  Use of these new Intelligent Devices allows end-users to more easily access and update information remotely from any location, at any time.  When working for an organization and using your own personal Pad or Smart Phone, this is referred to as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).  The challenge has been to provide online applications with a variety of device formats (i.e. iPad, iPhone, Android etc.) to take advantage of the available screen sizes and shapes), as well as how to ensure customer information and intellectual property is secure. The demand for Pad and Smart Phone access to online applications has become a major Cloud Computing requirement.  Software Developers are specializing in Pad and Smart Phone application development to address this emerging requirement.
  • “Dumb” Terminals – end users can continue to access online applications as they have done in the past.  Dumb Terminals provide basic text only data inquiry and/or entry to an online application where graphical information is unimportant (e.g. retail store where sales attendants look up available inventory at a given store or other stores in the area)
  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) – is the support of low cost devices that can display graphical information, but where the support to draw the image is provided by the application server.  The VDI device has limited intelligence and is a step above the Dumb Terminal mentioned above.  The application server is burdened with the responsibility to draw the graphical image for the VDI device.  The VDI devices are lower cost and still provide much of the end-user experience associated with the Intelligent Devices mentioned above.

Impact on IT Operations:

  • Eliminate CAPEX – organizational operating units eliminate Capital Expenditures (CAPEX) because they no longer have to purchase systems and software licenses
  • Standby or As Needed Scalability – Dynamic access to compute, storage and network resources on an as needed basis rather than allocating resources for the worst case scenario
  • Improved Online Application Availability & Performance – The improvement of customer satisfaction by having data centers provide greater online application availability and performance
  • Lower Operating Expenses (OPEX) – Data Center economies of scale
  • IT Operations Utility Billing – Outsourcing of data center operations with a Pay-As-You-Go or Utility based highly managed monthly billing.
  • User Based Software Subscriptions – Outsourcing the online application operations completely and buying services as needed, on a monthly Software Subscription or application use basis.

Impact on Management 

  • Operational Units Still Need to Provide Necessary Services – where in the past each operational unit (i.e. planning, engineering, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, sales and administration) might have been able to make a decision to procure and implement an online application solution for their staff/customers, they now need to either bring in the CIO and IT Operations to provide system managed services (i.e. implementation, maintenance and support services, security, compliance etc.), or outsource the entire IT Operations to a SaaS provider… bypassing IT altogether (i.e. and becoming responsible for managing vendor relations with SaaS Provider for  (i.e. implementation, maintenance services, support services, tuning, security, compliance, and adoption management)
  • CIO and IT Operations – where they have struggled to gain control of distributed compute operations, now they are expected to provide IT Data Center class IT Operations where they may not have sufficient data center capabilities, and the shift to a Public Data Center to fulfill centralization of servers Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), or migrate applications to shared Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Virtual Machine outsourced, or outsource the entire IT Operations to a Software as a Service (SaaS) operation… and, be responsible or share responsibility with the organization’s operation units as noted above.  CIO and IT Operations are experiencing a disruption in their business model.  Each organization must determine if the CIO is still responsible for guiding the use of IT to improve operations.   Also, the Operational Units must determine if they are going to own the responsibility to manage vendors to provide the necessary Managed Services.  What about Intelligent Device access to proprietary information, is the Operational Unit or the CIO and IT responsible for driving the easy access support of the BYOD devices and/or the security of customer private information and the organization’s intellectual property?

Impact on Commercially Off The Shelf (COTS) Solution Provider and Local VARs

  • COTS VAR Old Business Model is Unsustainable – Application Resellers or Value Added Resellers (VARs) – represent the COTS Software Providers locally.  VARs traditionally provide application system selling, supporting, service and training services.  The VAR business model (revenues and margins) assumed that they would sell complete systems along with each application software licenses.
  • COTS VAR Add Software Subscription Capabilities – Application VARs still provide application selling and training, but must now shift from equipment selling, maintenance and support to the Software Subscription model and this dramatically changes their revenues and margins.  Where before VARs were rewarded with significant initial sale equipment and software license margins, they now must rely on a commission on either the monthly PaaS utility billing and/or the SaaS monthly software subscription recurring revenue streams.  The market still needs VARs to provide operational improvement solutions so the value-add in selling, configuring, tuning and training services become the entire business model focus.

Impact on Custom Software Developers

  • Custom Software Developer (CSD) Business Model May Not be Sustainable – CSDs have relied on their ability to assess requirements, design solutions, implement solutions, provide training and provide ongoing maintenance and support.  The CSD business model typically would include hardware, software infrastructure, extended warranty maintenance and support services purchases (revenues and margins)  all of which may be reduced and/or eliminated by moving to a Cloud Computing environment and if so, would necessitate a dramatic change in business models.
  • Custom Software Developer (CSD) Add Data Center Platform as a Service (PaaS) Capabilities – CSDs still provide assessment of requirements, solution design, implementation/migration/tuning services and application use training services, but must now shift from equipment selling, maintenance and support to the Platform as a Service (PaaS)  model.  This dramatically changes their revenues and margins.  Where before CSDs might have been rewarded with significant initial sale equipment and software license margins, they now must rely on a commission on the monthly PaaS Utility recurring revenue streams.  The market still needs CSDs to provide to assess requirements, solution design, implementation, migration and/or tuning services and application use training services as their entire business model focus.  In addition, there needs to be a tighter integration of Agile software development and IT operations deployment to ensure high end-user customer usability, performance and availability.

You might consider these other Prism services related to Cloud Computing that aid in the journey and destinations:

  • Enterprise Architecture is the process of translating business vision and      strategy into effective enterprise change by creating, communicating and      improving the key requirements, principles and models that describe the      enterprise’s future state and enable its evolution
  • Information Technology (IT) is the application of computers and telecommunications equipment to store, retrieve, transmit and manipulate data,often in the context of a business or other enterprise
  • Change Management is an approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations to a desired future      state.   In some project management contexts,      change management refers to a project management process wherein changes      to a project are formally introduced and approved
  • Initiative Program Management is the process of managing several related projects, often with the intention of improving an organization’s overall performance. In practice and in its aims it is often closely related to systems engineering and industrial engineering.  The Program Manager has oversight of the purpose and status of all projects in a Program and can use this oversight to support project-level activity to ensure the overall program goals are likely to be met, possibly by providing a decision-making capacity that cannot be achieved at project level or by providing the Project Manager with a program perspective when required, or as a sounding board for ideas and approaches to solving project issues that have program impacts.
  • Strategic Relationship Optimization– Prism is strategic partner with Silver Tree Solutions.  Silver Tree Solutions through its patent pending solution solves this problem by enabling organizations to build a core competency in Strategic Relationship Optimization (SRO). By successfully implementing SRO, organizations significantly increase the ROI from their relationships while reducing risk of failure.

Please comment, make additions, corrections and send to or for immediate attention call us (720) 352-3407.



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