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HRx Radio – Executive Conversations: On Friday mornings, John Sumser interviews key executives from around the industry. The conversation covers what makes the executive tick and what makes their company great.

HRx Radio – Executive Conversations

Guest: Bonnie Tinder, Founder & CEO at Raven Intel
Episode: 317
Air Date: March 8, 2019




Important: Our transcripts at HRExaminer are AI-powered (and quite accurate) but there are still instances where the robots get confused and make errors. Please expect some inaccuracies as you read through the text of this conversation. Thank you for your understanding.

Host: John Sumser, HRExaminer
Guest: Bonnie Tinder, Founder & CEO at Raven Intel

Full Transcript with timecode

File Length: 00:25:24

00:00:13:18 – 00:00:18:21
Good morning and welcome to HRExaminer’s Executive Conversations I”m your host John Sumser

00:00:19:13 – 00:00:31:21
Today we’ll be talking with Bonnie Tinder from Raven Intel. Bonnie is founder and CEO of this brand new way of thinking about reviews of enterprise software in the HR Tech space.

00:00:33:24 – 00:00:34:02
Bonnie, how are you this morning?

00:00:34:02 – 00:00:36:22
I’m great John and so happy to be here.

00:00:36:22 – 00:00:51:07
Yeah this is gonna be fun. So why don’t you take a moment and introduce yourselve. And I don’t know how you’re going to do it in this short amount of time because you’ve been everywhere in the HR Tech landscape. You are a consummate insider.

00:00:52:28 – 00:01:42:28
I’ve definitely worked at a lot of places, that’s for sure. So, I have a twenty five year history in the HR Tech industry. I actually started my career out implementing payroll back in the client server days for a company called Ceridian and I’ve got some time at ADP. And then, you know most recently with Cornerstone as well. And you know, in the time that I have spent in the HR Tech space I have seen thousands of implementations essentially and it’s a process that I thought has a lot of room for improvement. And so I founded a company that really specializes in HR software implementation, Raven intel.

00:01:43:04 – 00:01:47:13
Oh, so I misunderstood, why don’t you tell me a little bit about Raven Intel, I may have the picture wrong.

00:01:49:18 – 00:01:56:29
Oh, well so Raven Intel is a B2B peer review site for customers

00:01:57:17 – 00:02:38:09
To research and find and hire the best HR consulting partner for an implementation. So if you think about like Glassdoor or Yelp, Raven Intel it is a similar product that customers can comment and it’s a free and open site to come in and look for a partner as well as review their partner. And you know our end goal is to help customers make a well informed choice about the consulting firm that they use for an implementation and hopefully improve the experience as a result.

00:02:38:11 – 00:03:25:08
That’s really interesting. How do you define the boundaries right. I have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how one would actually describe the difference between enterprise software provider and something else. It seems to me that the concept is sort of a scalar concept which is its enterprise software depending on the context of which you view it and that means something really big and that means something that’s maybe not so big. And this thing which is that software companies may not be the best way to get the software installed is sort of universal. So help me understand a little bit about how you found this thing.

00:03:26:04 – 00:04:38:08
Yeah. So a lot of the large enterprise software vendors. You think about a workday, success factors, Oracle and several others they actually do very few of their own implementations and largely rely on a partner network to actually get the software to build up. And it’s not just limited to those software. I mean there’s other smaller packages out there you know point solutions that use partners to help implement the software. And you know that gives partners are very good customers a choice and they choose. And we see the choice of partner consulting firm being used as a really critical one in ensuring that software performs as as the company would need it to. And so that’s that’s where the delineation that we make is and what we rate for them for the large part is based on these enterprise software packages that rely on a partner ecosystem for implementation.

00:04:38:20 – 00:06:14:19
So let me let me see if I can put a finer point on the question. The essence of the Wall Street valuation model of good me is Labor wrote with labor related revenue is value. Whether the short version is what we’re going to or software versus what we know is the value of a return. And so the net valuation of a company becomes apparent if not having an implementation of right. So everybody aspires to the public markets or aspires to venture valuations or who aspires to have equities are of some kind strives to shift they’re a software company they strive to shed their implementation. That’s the model and so what I’m asking you is how far down in scale the go in your in your due process. Because what you’re describing is a feat of free software product doing indeed in the commercial world. You know it’s not it’s not a feature of Microsoft Word. But once you get to that is used by organizations which show two or three observations. Is trying to get out from under the valuation problem with the. So. So it could be sort of the largest universe is all software social enterprise. I don’t think that’s what you cover but I remember that’s right.

00:06:14:28 – 00:06:45:13
What we cover essentially is implementations that that are managed by author led by a third party. And also as part and parcel to that a lot of times that includes the H.R. transformation effort as well. So it’s really those sort of foundational large scale implementations that we are we’re looking critically at so there’s some sort of shocked customer shows.

00:06:45:25 – 00:06:50:22
There’s a threshold. Is that a fair way to describe it.

00:06:50:24 – 00:07:23:03
You know we have customers that are as small as a thousand employees and we have customers that have hundred thousand employees. So it’s really more dependent on the the cloud software reconfigure itself and we have representation representation of really all sizes although we’re focused specifically on the six major software vendors that use or rely on our partner ecosystem for implementation.

00:07:23:18 – 00:07:27:20
OK so what’s moving the big question is the answer.

00:07:27:24 – 00:08:38:13
Essentially it’s what makes successful implementation and which partners have a track record of providing successful implementation. We measure every project. Things like overall customer satisfaction on time delivery and on budget delivery as well as we have other KPI as well. But what we’re looking to do is really provide these very independent metrics around project success and then be able to sort of draw correlations about you know how well a fit a particular partner would be for a customer. So the questions that we’re asking are very analytical in nature about the project but we also ask things about lessons learned and things like that at the end of the day what we want to do is provide customers with sort of these these online reviews that they can look at and see the experiences of their peers. You know at the same time we aggregate the information together to draw correlations about overall HCM software success you might.

00:08:38:14 – 00:09:02:21
Sometimes these are German or we did a fairly interesting study a couple of years 2016 about what makes a successful rotation. It might be impossible to disagree but we’ll do that. Another thing I’d like to get to. What are the things that you’re finding. You’ve published a small report recently about about Ebola patients. So what is it.

00:09:03:05 – 00:11:50:04
Yeah. You know we we just produced this report which essentially debunks six commonly held myths about implementation you can find that on our website. If you’re curious about it but you know what we found no one was that customers in. In general you know people always ask us Are they getting what they thought that they would during implementation. You know that that was being sold to them in the beginning. And what what we found is that in general customers when they’re implementing cloud aren’t getting what they signed up for and are satisfied with projects when no one the project was scoped. Well number two the consulting firm that they chose was the right fit for their organization. And those two things are what we call it. Those are the hallmarks of success is number one. Having a full scale project with a team that really stays together. And number two having a consulting partner that really fits the project that is being undertaken. And I think those are the the two overall conclusions. I would say you know we’re finding that we don’t see a correlation between the size of a consulting firm showed in and the actual customer satisfaction. So you know there’s there’s this idea out there if you choose one of the you know the big five that you recognize her name that that’s a safe bet. And what we’re finding is is that’s less correlated to project satisfaction it’s finding the right that there are other things to decide on a consulting firm or outside of the factor. They’re very large and well known but what are the elements of a good fit. So I think you know experience. Is everything. And the fact that a consulting partner can show that they have projects that are similar to the project a customer’s undertaking. So it’s things like Do you have expertise in this particular software in news the geography in the size of client and things like that. It’s really what we’re finding is is if the the firm can show references for like projects as a customer in terms of the complexity in you know factors like that that experience is better than you know all of the sort of marketing flex and process and things like that. What proof point do you have that you’ve done work like you have on my project.

00:11:50:06 – 00:13:00:03
Your research shows if I drop this right please correct me or all the people who my age or enterprise software and its implementation are generally always novel and they generally brush the details of the project in pretty idiosyncratic production so they’re trying to solve their problem in their organization and I’m really trying to figure out which piece of software to. That’s not the problem that is only solved micro organization. And it’s always a sort of a self-referential thing. My problem in my organization. So. So it sounds like a more intense position taken for the vendor to be able to come and see that and then generalize about their experiences of explain it back to the way that they manage to do something that’s relatable to you’re. That sounds like a walk and chew when a Trump acquisition approach is not right.

00:13:00:09 – 00:14:39:27
It is that’s exactly right. And you know customer don’t go through the process you know every year every even five years and a lot of cases maybe once in a career they make a decision like this. And so we always say there’s two aspects to it ensuring that you make the right choice and no one is choosing the right software. And I think customers really focus on that. They feature functions and they look at product demos and all of that. You know when it comes to choosing the partner which we feel is equally a lot of things were filed on that sort of just either go with who their software vendor recommended or they’ll you know flex to a firm that they’ve heard of before. Whether or not that’s the right fit for their particular business means. And so I think that’s where we can help customers is to create. Very easily a short list and identify the options the best options that they have independently and look up and sort of vet the partners at the same time with the same rigour that they have to selecting software. And really you know I mean that’s what we hope to provide is a tool for customers to do that really easily because they’re not they don’t know what you know they’re not doing this every day. So you know we’re sort of able to give them all the information in a single place to make that process really easy for you or you are.

00:14:39:28 – 00:14:48:27
We’re trying to make sure you vision your real message that people aren’t spending a lot time and money on the acquisition process to begin with.

00:14:49:17 – 00:15:20:23
I think that making a good decision up front is it needs to include a good process for selecting the partner at the same time. And the implementation at the same time as selecting a software. And I think that you know some more customers and more diligent customers are on the upfront election and building of their project or their transformation effort. The more satisfied they’ll be with the result.

00:15:21:08 – 00:15:47:23
So I that that was a long years. What are the key to successful implementation process is more time spent. Yeah you probably you probably kept your self reported data which makes all the search in the world imagine anybody who’s going to give you a review that shows this wouldn’t work better if we spent more time figuring out what the actual.

00:15:48:03 – 00:16:49:08
But we’ve gotten that feedback for sure. And we have and in fact because we asked customers how did you how did you make a decision about this implementation. And we’re finding when you know customers you know just sort of either look at maybe just a single proposal or don’t fully consider all the options that they have at the or independently sort of make that choice and feel confident in that what they’re choosing is based on knowing what the know sort of Plainfield looks like. We get we get people who have said I wish I spent more time figuring out the right consulting partner as opposed to just going with the guys that the software vendor recommended that we do hear that and you’ll see that that on some of the reviews on our site you see some people who seem to really understand how much time is within the problem definition under review and evaluation.

00:16:49:09 – 00:17:05:27
Those are my shows is the difference in cost to military required to get it right. It is not an extra hour it’s three four year process.

00:17:06:14 – 00:17:29:25
Yeah I would I would definitely agree with that. And you know it’s hard sometimes if a project hasn’t gone well to do a look back and we sort of would have could have showed up but I think I think that the clients that are spending the time in the upfront selection process ultimately are having a smoother more successful implementation on the back end.

00:17:29:25 – 00:18:07:16
So what we saw in our research was that the most successful implementation projects were tied to a larger group that you can solve this problem by either giving really clear upfront about what to do which is the essence of any good purchase or you can solve some of those shoes by having some some sort of higher order focus for people to get out and allowed into this was caused by not knowing what you’re doing to be sure. Or are you sitting there in your book.

00:18:07:18 – 00:19:21:06
We are and in fact you know we’re finding which kind of goes contrary to what conventional wisdom is is that complex projects are actually rated fairly well. Overall I’m on our site as are the super simple ones and I think the reason that complex projects are rated well is because customers you know understand the complexity begin with so maybe they’re part of a larger transformation effort or they’re part of a full ERP change. I think in those cases customers spend a lot of time in that due diligence upfront to make sure it’s both well and and all those things where we see more of the issues come up is you know in the mid size complexity projects that are you know let’s say in maybe two or three geographies maybe they’re implementing know more modular type of functionality. It’s those that customers seem to be rushing through the decision process and we see those projects overall being less satisfied than the complex one to us just. Kind of

00:19:21:20 – 00:20:06:28
Interesting. So to imagine that entails review database will get sophisticated to the point where where I might be able to do and find implementation is in the industry where there was additional shows maturity of the basic underlying telco infrastructure maybe something about how the organization understands what works is what works. And so those are five variables. Could you imagine that database doing so which the way to do a search based on those four variables would find somebody who wrote the book without question so we ask about all of those things in our customer reviews.

00:20:07:00 – 00:21:34:23
We ask industry demographic in terms of geography you know that the scope of the project that was completed and you know all of those individually are available so you can you can read all of those reviews out on the site. What we do for customers who are an active search mode is we’ll ask them a couple of questions about the project that they’re ready to embark upon and we’ll help them actually create their shortlist based on those things that they are you know telling us that’s most important to them and the scope of their project. What we’ll say is hey based on our review data here are that the customer here are the partners that you should consider and will actually bring those partners right to them make the process easy. And again that’s something that’s available on our website but it’s one of those things that we do for customers as well. Should they have a project that they want some greater oversight on. And you know we’ve been at this since 2018 and our data is growing richer by the day. So every every day we have a new customer who’s completed a project that’s writing a review out there. And so our ultimate goal is is to be a company that is going to allow customers to make a truly data driven decision about their partner based on the voice of the previous customers.

00:21:35:25 – 00:22:08:17
That’s quite a challenge I assume. What interesting things that I have to deal with on a fairly routine basis is that people aren’t necessarily alone. Talk about what’s going on in some companies. So it’ll be fascinating to see where are the limits of your data collection your. So that’s the first thing I think I understand and to be doing was firm assertion that the underlying business model they would entail is to become part of the process. Absolutely absolutely.

00:22:08:19 – 00:23:21:27
And you know one of the things about our site that’s different is that all of our reviews are actually anonymous. So we are never printing company name or a customer’s name. We hold that information 100 percent in confidence. With that said we only that every single review that’s on our site we know exactly who has written it. We’ve checked their credentials to be a Lincoln and ensure that they are a current customer and the software that they had implemented. So we do the checks on the back end. But what that allows the customer can do is be a little bit more candid about the project that they went through and to not have to necessarily hide certain types of information and things like that because it is not ever posted and attributing it to a particular customer or company Well obviously this is also rhetoric side is that you’re trying this experiment whether you know it seems like there’s some things you’re going to learn in the era where Facebook probably will never be it doesn’t deliver these people believe your claim but that’s that’s business of the century.

00:23:22:00 – 00:23:39:15
I’m sorry to hear the possibility that people will start to understand that it’s the implementation process of different solutions of these peoples of the globe. Are you worried that this would take away the conversation.

00:23:39:15 – 00:24:13:26
Really two things. Just to know that we are here to help you if you’re going through a selection process and you can look at Raven and tell that and you know use our site for free it’s a free service to the customer and the other thing you’ve gone through an implementation and want to help your peers and write a review. That’s also you can go to our site and write one as well. And really help others going through the process to know what maybe you wish you knew going you know going through your implementation. So both of those things then yes please use it we use what we have.

00:24:14:17 – 00:24:19:12
OK. Please reintroduce yourself and make sure people understand exactly how they can get in touch with you.

00:24:20:28 – 00:24:41:09
Thank you. Yes. So I’m Bonnie Tinder, I am the founder of Raven Intel you can reach me at Bonnie at Raven Intel dot com or the Raven Intel dot com on our site and you can chat right in, we have all kinds of chat bots that make it really easy for you to get in touch with us as well.

00:24:41:09 – 00:24:41:24

00:24:41:24 – 00:25:09:00
Thanks so much for taking the time to do this Bonnie, it’s been a great conversation. And I think you’re introducing a new level service standard in the industry and that’s great to see. You’ve been listening to HR Examiner’s Executive Conversations, we’ve been talking with Bonnie Tinder who is the founder and CEO at Raven Intel. Thanks for tuning in today and we will see you back here next week and thanks again Bonnie, it’s been great having you.

00:25:09:08 – 00:25:10:11
Pleasure. Thank you.

00:25:10:26 – 00:25:11:23
Bye bye now.

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