- Purchasing decisions among customers have drastically changed since the onset of the Internet
- For large enterprises, finding the right technology to address their business’ needs is increasingly challenging
- Olive’s platform streamlines the technology evaluation and selection process for enterprises and has been a pillar of support to A&W’s Business Transformation team
When it comes to running a business, identifying the needs of all internal and external stakeholders can be intricate. Analysts and management can pull together previous data, conduct research, and interviews, but all of this takes time and more often than not still ends up in low user adoption.
Fortunately, for those at the helm of enterprises, a golden age of technology has crystallized in the last 10 years, disrupting numerous industries with new tools.
This automated technology is changing many businesses — recently, automation, AI and other digital innovations have been created to help medical teams, customer service representatives, and more. Automation is now increasingly moving into the world of knowledge workers. Many roles not traditionally associated with automation, such as consultants and sales teams, are seeing this impact.
A wave of digital disruption
One of the most prolific changes in recent years has stemmed from the restaurant industry. Here, the arrival of third-party ordering software like Uber Eats and Doordash has given rise to an explosion of digital solutions. This transformation is reminiscent of the impact e-commerce had on the retail industry 10 years ago. Now, as was true then, technology leaders find themselves suddenly thrown into a world of digital disruption, often with little more than their own personal network and the vendors themselves to help guide them.
Moreover, review engines are quickly becoming a significant influence in B2B transactions. But, the main issue with using these engines is the question of credibility. Trying to decipher if a review has a vested interest in the promoted solution can often leave buyers confused about where to invest their money. Despite the dependence on engines, consultants and resellers, tech-minded entrepreneurs have come into the space to enhance B2B infrastructure to better cater to the need for more reliable and unbiased recommendations.
With the software market growing at an incredible pace – ChiefMartec predicts that there will be 1 million software companies by 2027. This exacerbates the problem for IT leaders in both the retail and restaurant industry, as they struggle to make sense of numerous options.
"One of the main reasons that tech implementations go south is that the evaluation process is riddled with bias and inefficiencies.”
— Chris Heard, CEO and Co-Founder, Olive.
Olive connects the vast community evaluating and selling technology and organizes this broad data so that it's concise and accessible. The system breaks down industry, roles, and company size, among other factors, and presents users with real-time insights from their community. The result is that businesses can find ideal solutions from all potential options within a few weeks rather than many months. All of this data is now reusable and by using machine learning, Olive is always getting smarter.
A&W — a success story
So, who is currently working in the space to provide companies with software recommendations for their business?
Olive is combining the community aspects of review engines, the productivity aspects of a SaaS platform, and layering on machine learning to drastically improve the technology evaluation process. In turn, this is driving previously unavailable customer insights for solution providers.
Companies like A&W — Canada’s original and fastest-growing burger chain, are using Olive's SaaS platform to drive a 40% efficiency improvement in IT evaluations along with a 10x increase in due diligence, significantly reducing implementation risk.
"One of the main reasons that tech implementations go south is that the whole process is riddled with bias and inefficiencies. By bringing the siloed worlds of IT evaluations together in one place, Olive allows buyers to identify how to select relevant solutions quickly,” states Chris Heard, CEO and Co-Founder of Olive.
Tariq Chaudhry, Project Manager of Business Transformation at A&W, explains how his team has been using Olive’s technology for nine months and how it’s been instrumental in determining the steps the company needs to take to reach their desired outcome.
“We input our desired outcome, the summary of the project we are currently working on, and then utilize Olive to define our requirements with the collaboration of various stakeholders within the organization. Then, based on those requirements, we can narrow down our search and find the top vendors who can meet and deliver on our desired outcome.”
Chaudhry explains that prior to Olive, A&W’s Business Transformation team didn’t have any tools at their fingertips to find solutions for their needs. He goes on to say that the team used spreadsheets and forms to try to capture their requirements, but this wasn’t a practical approach to consolidating data.
“Without knowing what we don’t know, it’s hard to define what features are important to us, and what’s not. Before, all we would be able to do is find out a list of some requirements, but this would only be high level — we wouldn’t be able to go in-depth of what we’d need and which vendors could provide us with our desired outcome,” Chaudhry notes.
By using Olive, A&W was able to dig deep, quickly identify the needs of its entire team, and build simple, repeatable processes to deliver robust due diligence for projects of all sizes. The software service also provided the company with a library of data on specific software categories for the A&W team to look through and better understand what they would need.
Chaudhry commends the app’s traceability feature and explains how, during their implementation stage, they found out that a specific vendor was not meeting one of their requirements, despite what had been offered in pre-sales conversations. Rather than scouring through email threads to look for who said what, Olive made it easy for A&W to pinpoint what was missing and what still needed to be done. The vendor was then obligated to provide the promised service and the implementation continued with success.
There’s no question that the restaurant industry is going through paramount digital changes. Still, the problem remains that there currently isn’t a standardized way to assess technology concerning to how it would be used for various enterprises. Olive is looking to change that.
A knowledgeable team making smarter decisions, faster
Olive's founding team has spent much of their careers experiencing the time, effort and money wasted during software evaluations and seen first-hand the effects of imperfect evaluation processes on user adoption and ROI. Seeing a huge gap in the market and an opportunity to truly disrupt one of the largest industries in the world (B2B software), they decided to build a solution.
The inspiration for Olive came to Chris Heard after he had just finished a sales call. He faced a realization that what he was selling at the time was likely not the right fit for his client and that his ability to bias decision making was great for him in the short-term but terrible for buyer/vendor relationships, long-term. It was from this realization that the idea for Olive was formed.
"We've been involved in enterprise IT evaluations for most of our lives, so we're well versed with both sides of the transaction. Knowing the inefficiencies that both parties face so well, is what inspires us to fix them."
Within the next year, Olive envisions itself becoming the go-to for any large restaurant chain evaluating technology solutions. Through the company’s partnerships with companies like the Restaurant Technology Network, they can connect with a large number of IT leaders in restaurant chains, all of whom struggle to solve the challenge of identifying relevant solutions for their business in an increasingly crowded market of options.
With several large restaurant brands already using Olive to regularly evaluate technology, the company has seen a great opportunity to drive significant value in this space. This challenge is, however, an industry agnostic one. Olive’s true vision will be realized when all enterprises shift from the inefficient and biased methods they use today to a future of transparency and simplicity.
“Olive has been an excellent partner. They are very responsive and are ready with any request we have.” Chaudry boasts.
Learn more about Olive by visiting their website here.