Every company exists for a reason, and it had better be for more than just making owners and shareholders money. Companies that exist for no other purpose than to generate financial returns become soul-less organizations where employees either have no motivation, or are easily motivated to do the wrong thing for short-term personal gains. We have all seen those Wall street firm movies too many times.
Technology companies exist to solve problems. Enterprise software companies like Openprise exist to create data cleansing solutions for organizations. When you look at enterprise technology companies’ vision statements, they usually consist of grand visions of helping customers be more profitable, efficient, safe, or socially responsible. Consumer product businesses are more about improving customers’ lives to become richer, healthier, happier, or more fulfilling. It is not very often that a company can strive to have a direct impact on both the corporate customer and the business users’ well being.
Over the last month we encountered many customer stories that remind us at Openprise that we are in a unique position to not only add value to our corporate customers, but to also make the lives of our users better in very direct ways. I would like to share some of these stories with you.
- You can’t give me 5 hours of my life back, but can you help me save 15 hours?
One Friday afternoon a user called me to see if we could help her with a specific lead data correlation problem. She had 2 contact lists, each with about 1 million records. The two files contained different data that she wanted to combine into a single file by correlating the records using email addresses. Like most business users, she instinctively reached for Excel. After 5 hours of staring at the hourglass cursor and 4 computer crashes, she managed to complete just 25% of the work. Within those 5 hours, she found out the limitations of VLOOKUP and pivot table and had to process 20,000 records at a time. After calling Openprise, we showed her how to configure a single rule to perform this “data splicing” task (check out the new cookbook for instructions). The rule took 1 minute to configure and processed the 1 million records in about 30 minutes.
What she said to me struck a chord. “I probably should have thought of Openprise first, but I went with Excel. You can’t give me back those 5 hours of my life, but I hope you can help me save 15 hours this weekend.”
- Did you say you solve the carpal tunnel syndrome problem?
A while back, a customer jokingly said that the problem Openprise really solves is carpal tunnel syndrome. Joking aside, I thought his observation was spot-on, given how we offer data automation tools for highly repetitive tasks associated with customers’ “Goldilocks data”. I often retell the joke when giving demos and explaining our product. One day I was demonstrating the product to a marketing operations manager at an enterprise software company, and I told the carpal tunnel syndrome joke at the end of the demo. To my surprise, she actually held up her right wrist and said she is having pain in her right wrist from doing so much manual data processing in both their data automation and CRM systems. Her sales team buys a lot of leads and adds them directly into the CRM, generating a large number of duplicate leads that require manual data cleaning. Due to lack of segmentation, every marketing campaign also requires a lot of manual work to build the right list. Clicks, clicks, and more clicks.
I promised her Openprise’s data cleansing solutions would help lessen the manual data processing she had to do and hopefully help her wrist get better soon.
- I could be doing more meaningful work.
Two of the companies that reached out to us last week had very similar stories although they were in very different industries. One is a digital marketing agency focused on the higher education market and the other is a shareholder services company. The digital marketing agency handles 500,000 student contact records on an on-going basis, helping their clients market student loan products. The shareholder services company helps financial services companies do telephone outreach campaigns, working with a large influx of shareholder contact data sent by banks, brokers, and transfer agents. Both data sets come in large spreadsheets from multiple sources, both need to be normalized, cleaned, and segmented, and they are all being done manually. Both gentlemen that I spoke to spend upward of 20 hours a week to manually process this data in Excel. They both said, “Half of my time is spent on doing the same manual data processing work every single week. I hate doing it, but our business depends on this data. I would like to offload this repetitive work to a machine so I can do more meaningful work. Can you help me?”
“Yes, we can.”
When a technology company can build a useful product for corporate customers, it helps move the world forward, but in a somewhat indirect way. If this technology company can simultaneously improve the quality of its users’ lives, it adds a whole different level of meaning and purpose. The team at Openprise is grateful that we have the opportunity to do just that. It’s nice to have customer stories that remind us why we love creating data cleansing solutions.