Thursday, November 27, 2014

Success stories series: 7/7 - Customer Scoring & Financial Evaluations

It's been an incredible ride validating Ranktab's value with key early adopters. We are excited to share our first series of success stories with our followers, here is our seventh and final case in a series of 7, we hope you like it, and if you do please share!

Case Study: Customer Scoring & Financial Evaluations

Organization profile – Equipment Leasing and Financial Services Company focused on small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs. The company provides equipment financing alternatives to commercial bank loans.
  • Founded in 2006.
  • Leasing amounts range from $500,000-$2m USD.
  • Contract terms range from 12 to 84 months, +40 Employees.
Business situation – The company has been as a leader in leasing due to its fast adoption of technology for expediting evaluations and approvals of leasing contracts to prospective customers.

Decision Making challenge – Although the company had a proprietary software to expedite leasing applications, their internal bylaws required the consensus of a committee to approve every application. This was a bottleneck as subjective discussions from the committee could last hours due to the high volume of applications.

Solution – Ranktab’s Private Platform allowed the company to expedite the Prospective Customer Evaluation Process, by allowing the committee to input their subjective evaluations in a fast and measurable way, and instantly visualize the group’s smartest consensus.

Benefits – Reducing the time and conflict frequently encountered in committee discussions made an immediate positive impact on the company’s main competitive advantage and their bottom-line results: Faster approval of new customers and smarter process to acquire them.

Services used -
  • Ranktab’s Private Suite
  • Private Sharing Options 
  • Instant Results Viewer and PDF Reports
  • Ranktab’s Proprietary Algorithm

Friday, October 10, 2014

Success stories series: 6/7 - Investor evaluation (Private Judging & People’s Choice Award)

It's been an incredible ride validating Ranktab's value with key early adopters. We are excited to share our first series of success stories with our followers, here is our sixth case in a series of 7, we hope you like it, and if you do please share!

Case Study: Investor evaluation (Private Judging & People’sChoice Award)

Organization profile – The first Lean Startup certified accelerator in Latin America, focused on creating high-growth successful businesses. The accelerator is part of the largest private university in Mexico, creating a unique ecosystem and resources for accelerated teams.
  • 21 week program.
  • 750+ accelerated startups.
  • Over 30 mentors and coaches.
Business situation – The accelerator’s main event is the yearly demo-day for accelerated companies. In the event, qualified investors evaluate startups using pen and paper, and if interested they approach startups after the pitching event. The process of documenting the judges’ feedback and event winner was very time-consuming.

Decision Making challenge – 19 projects, 12 high-profile investors, 5-minute pitches and only 2 hours for the complete event, including the winners announcement.

Solution – Using Ranktab’s Public Platform (open for the audience) and Private Suite (for judges), the event’s logistics reduced from a 2-day span into instant results. Our mobile interface allowed external participation using mobile devices with no app installation.

Benefits – Instant results and ease-of-use in an environment-friendly solution helped the event organizers speed up their demo-day. Accessibility and open voting enabled a People’s Choice Award, while keeping access private for the official judging of certified investors.

Services used -
  • Ranktab’s Private Suite
  • Ranktab’s Public Platform 
  • Mobile Webapp
  • Instant Results Display

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Success stories series: 5/7 - Recruiting & Hiring Process (HR Staffing & Outsourcing Vendors)

It's been an incredible ride validating Ranktab's value with key early adopters. We are excited to share our first series of success stories with our followers, here is our fifth case in a series of 7, we hope you like it, and if you do please share!

Case Study: Recruiting & Hiring Process (HR Staffing & Outsourcing Vendors)

Organization profile – Fortune 500 semiconductor company, a global leader in embedded processing solutions for the automotive, consumer, industrial and networking markets.
  • More than 6,000 patent families.
  • Invests about 18% of its net sales in R&D every year.
  • Approximately 17,000 employees in more than 20 countries.
Business situation – Semiconductor companies live in a constant struggle for the industry’s best talent, creating a scarcity environment in which speed and accuracy in the HR process is a key factor for success.

Decision Making challenge – One job opening, 10 applicants from 3 HR staffing vendors, 4 in-company-cross-functional managers involved in the decision. Adding the time factor to this equation creates a bigger challenge for the department in charge.

Solution – Ranktab’s Private Platform (RPP) allowed the management team to transform never-ending discussions and subjectivity into a step-by-step documented and collaborative process with an objective funnel to ease decision-making. While the platform’s nature is to share, RPP allowed keeping control and privacy in such a delicate matter.

Benefits – Removing ambiguity to a key process to make it faster and more reliable without the complexity of an expensive licensed system was outstanding. The customer was able not only to have all the relevant data for each applicant, but also to leverage previous interviews’ intelligence to save time.

Services used -
  • Ranktab’s Private Suite
  • Instant Results Viewer and PDF Reports 
  • Private Sharing Options
  • Ranktab’s Proprietary Algorithm

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Success stories series: 4/7 - Conference (Speakers’ Instant Feedback Platform)

It's been an incredible ride validating Ranktab's value with key early adopters. We are excited to share our first series of success stories with our followers, here is our fourth case in a series of 7, we hope you like it, and if you do please share!

Case Study: Conference (Speakers’ Instant Feedback Platform)

Organization profile – The largest entrepreneurship education conference organized in western Mexico. 600+ participants, 40+ speakers, 30+ workshops and 4 different stages.
  • Part of a global network of privately organized entrepreneurship conferences.
  • Speakers from leading companies such as Google, Intel, Spotify and others.
  • Exhibition area with 40+ startups from western Mexico.
Business situation – The event organizers required a live feedback tool for gathering attendees’ opinions and interact with invited speakers. Twitter hashtags were enabled but the conversation was highly erratic with comments from other subjects making it hard to communicate through the feed.

Survey & Polling challenge – Expecting over 600 people with 4 different stages and tens of workshops, the organizers required a centralized tool for each conversation, not only for the live event but for the event’s archive.

Solution – Using Ranktab’s Public Platform the event’s speakers were able to interact with the audience as a unified voice. Through a shared opinion repository for the crowd, each track and session had it’s own visual rankings and conversations.

Benefits – Through our solution, the organizers avoided additional headcount and budget for an internal solution. Having 600 talented people in one place, and being able to capture their knowledge and visualize it for everyone was an amazing feat.

Services used -
  • Ranktab’s Public Platform
  • Instant Results Display
  • QR & Short URL Auto-Creator
  • Mobile Webapp

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Success stories series: 3/7 - Corporate Decision Making & Project Prioritization

It's been an incredible ride validating Ranktab's value with key early adopters. We are excited to share our first series of success stories with our followers, here is our third case in a series of 7, we hope you like it, and if you do please share!

Case Study: Corporate Decision Making & Project Prioritization

Organization profile – Leading IT distributor with over 29 years of experience and nationwide reach through 400+ network of VARs. Some of its partners include Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, CA, McAfee, VMware and Autodesk, among others. The company provides software, hardware, consulting and training for medium-sized and large companies.
  • Founded in 1985.
  • Revenues: Over $100 million USD yearly.
  • Privately held corporation.
Business situation – As a multi-channel, multi-solution company, decision making involved several people distributed company-wide in order to prioritize projects and resources to them.

Decision making challenge – To expedite the decision making process with an easy-to-use, easy-to-implement solution that helps keep focus on current projects, reduces confusion and aggregates inputs.

Solution – Acquiring Ranktab’s Private Suite with unlimited users/answers, reporting, privacy options and white-label capabilities helped the company overcome the challenge.

Benefits – Through our privately access platform, the intuitive interface, and extremely straight forward decision making criteria settings, our customer’s users were able to reduce its process up to 70%, with a positive impact on strategy planning and ROI. Furthermore, they can now audit past decisions when needed.

Services used -
  • Ranktab’s Private Suite
  • Private Sharing Options
  • Instant Results Viewer and PDF Reports
  • Ranktab’s Proprietary Algorithm

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Success stories series: 2/7 - Open Government Advisory Board (Experts panel)  

It's been an incredible ride validating Ranktab's value with key early adopters. We are excited to share our first series of success stories with our followers, here is our second case in a series of 7, we hope you like it, and if you do please share!

Case Study: Open Government Advisory Board (Experts panel)

Organization profile – Government office in charge of promoting, expediting and nurturing the establishment of an innovative and competitive culture among its population.
  • The first ministry of its kind in Latam in charge of public innovation policies.
  • Co-organized the world’s largest Campus Party and Startup Weekend.
  • The office reports directly to the state’s governor.
Business situation – As one of its main responsibilities, the office dictates the  state’s policy on innovation and technology. This requires not only government officials but also to include the voice of industry and academic experts, in order to ensure optimal long term views.

Decision making challenge – After a few rounds trying to guide the advisory panel’s participants to reach a consensus, an easy to use decision-making platform was required, not only for idea ranking but also for documenting the group’s decision process.

Solution – Ranktab’s Public Platform allowed a centralized repository of ideas and suggestions that the advisory panel could easily visualize and prioritize. As part of an open audit requirement, citizens were able to access and share the results of the advisory group.

Benefits – Instant results keep everyone involved and engaged. In case of disagreement, every decision is documented and audited. Reducing the time of the overall decision-making process while increasing the quality of advisor’s ideas was a major milestone for the organization.

Services used -
  • Ranktab’s Public Suite
  • QR & Short URL Auto-Creation Tools
  • PDF Results Exporter
  • Social sharing for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Success stories series: 1/7 - Competition (Peer to Peer & External Judging)

It's been an incredible ride validating Ranktab's value with key early adopters. We are excited to share our first series of success stories with our followers, here is our first case in a series of 7, we hope you like it, and if you do please share!

Case Study: Competition  (Peer to Peer & External Judging)

Organization profile – Leading teaching-research institute in western Mexico, with the highest number of academics in the National System of Researchers (SNI) for a private university. Over 10,000 students in both undergraduate and graduate programs.
  • Founded in 1957.
  • The second largest private university in Guadalajara.
  • Highly focused on innovation and entrepreneurship.
Business situation – Having a group of 300+ students enrolled for the idea pitching contest of the Entrepreneurship & Innovation course, the institute needed a way of capturing and tracking judging results without increasing professors’ workload. In addition, having a project repository would help keep innovation thriving and avoid projects’ duplication.

Decision making challenge – With a projection of over 450 students evaluating 15 projects each, plus 16 judges, using paper or individual excel files to keep scores was no longer a sustainable option. Additionally, each year, the number of students was doubling.

Solution – Ranktab’s Public Platform (free for students) and Private Suite (for judges) solved the sustainability challenge. Our mobile interface allowed the audience access directly from any mobile device, tablet or computer to rank each other’s projects based on simple criteria.

Benefits – Through a simple interface that required no special hardware or software, 450+ students were able to easily and quickly qualify their peers. Instant rankings helped shorten the waiting time to announce winners, and the use of paper was completely eliminated.

Services used -
  • Ranktab’s Private Suite
  • Ranktab’s Public Platform
  • PDF Results Exporter
  • QR & Short URL Auto-Share

Monday, July 21, 2014

We Can Work It Out 2.0

Collecting the tacit knowledge of those around you is hardly a new concept: The process of listening to other people's opinions and developing an action plan is the cornerstone of effective management and even basic communication.

Unfortunately, subjective evaluation of these opinions and viewpoints isn't always easy. Although the collective intelligence of a group often arrives at the best solutions, sorting through that information and making a subjective evaluation that isn't clouded by personal beliefs or ideas can be a real challenge.

The Beatles even wrote a song on the topic, "We Can Work It Out." Although it's a song about communication within a relationship, its message can be applied just as well to crowdsourcing decision making and other aspects of business management.

The idea that people need to listen to each other and take the time to understand the other person's views in order to work out a solution is an important lesson to remember when communicating, whether that communication is taking place in a relationship, between friends or in the workplace. In fact, communication is of paramount importance in small business where everyone's opinion really counts toward the health of the company.

Of course, while collective intelligence can solve a lot of problems that arise in the workplace, you need a faster, smarter method for collecting that tacit knowledge than simply asking each individual and working through the answers. A more efficient method for crowdsourcing decision making is to use visualization software to help you assess the data. The results are provided in a graphical format that highlights trends and removes much of the confusion associated with trying to explain different ideas or viewpoints from many different sources.

Visualization software allows you to gather ideas and information and review the data at a glance, making it much faster than discussing it point by point. It's easier to get on the same page when you can quickly see at which areas your team has already reached a consensus. By using an app like Ranktab, you can utilize a smarter method for reaching a consensus. Just like the Beatles, once you know where everyone stands, you can work it out regardless of what problem you face.

Favorite Beatles | Ranktab - Collaborative Decision Mapping and Microsharing

Friday, April 11, 2014

Multi voting tools and the end of Excel

When it comes to making decisions in your small business, brainstorming for ideas is a common solution. The collective intelligence of your staff is able to come up with many more solutions than any individual, and crowdsourcing decision making relieves any single person from the pressure of coming up with innovative new solutions. However, brainstorming can generate a lot of solutions that must be considered, sorted and ultimately decided upon, and this can quickly get unwieldy.

For that reason, several methods of gathering and analyzing this data can be implemented. One of the most elegant solutions is multi-voting. Essentially, all of the ideas are collected into one document, and everyone votes on the best solution. After votes are taken, they're tallied. The winning idea is then implemented.

While the multi-voting system can work well, some methods of tracking votes and collecting information are more effective than others. A basic Excel spreadsheet can be used, but it takes time to set up and manage. Every item must be manually input and assigned a number or letter designation. Votes must be manually entered and tallied. The resulting information is a jumble of data that must be analyzed; it's not easily shared or intuitive to understand.

A more efficient solution might be visualization software, which gathers and analyzes data in a visual manner that can be instantly assessed and shared. Converting data into a visual format makes it much easier to share results with a team, and a dedicated multi-voting software is far superior to simple Excel.

Ranktab is one such visualization program that can be put to use in your business. When crowdsourcing decision making, anything that can streamline the process is a valuable investment.
Priorities | Ranktab - Collaborative Decision Mapping and Microsharing
By utilizing software that can gather, track and analyze information from all of your staff, you can arrive at decisions that tap into the team's collective intelligence without draining your own valuable resources of time and energy.

Monday, February 24, 2014

3 Ways the Brain Creates Meaning

It's no surprise that visualization can help to make complex ideas easier to understand, but science is just beginning to understand the reason for this. As discussed in a TED Talk by Tom Wujec, vision actually plays a critical role in understanding meaning: The way people interact with images affects their subjective evaluation of the concepts they portray. 

After your eyes take in images, signals are relayed to as many as 30 areas of the brain. Among these areas are the ventral stream, which recognizes and classifies objects, and the limbic system, which is responsible for emotional responses. Images that are interactive trigger engagement from the brain and stimulate deeper thought. This is why visualization is such an important element of crowdsourcing decision making, and why it enables people to make smarter and faster decisions about data. 

Rather than seeing the world directly, the brain gathers information and sorts it into models, similar to what modeling software might do with data. These models are then used to provide the brain with information about the topic. Ultimately, the brain creates meaning in three ways: 
  • Interacting with a visual to create engagement.
  • Using images to clarify ideas. 
  • Augmenting memory with mental persistence. 
Together, these three actions are what make images so powerful to learning and remembering information. 

Because the human brain is heavily geared toward visual data, many of our critical thought processes are tied to images. This is why graphs, charts and other images provide a faster way to analyze data, and it's also why images are so effective at tapping into a group's collective intelligence. By putting key concepts into images, you can help get everyone involved on the same page and gain access into a group's tacit knowledge on the subject. 

When it comes to crowdsourcing decision making, using visualization technology is a smarter method of tapping into a team's collective intelligence. By gathering data and displaying it in a visual medium, you'll have easier access to the tacit knowledge of your staff. Your brain's natural inclination toward engaging with visual data makes subjective evaluation of information much faster and more efficient. 

By using images, you can engage with data much more effectively and come to a decision far more quickly than if you were dealing in more intangible data. A solution such as Ranktab can tap into the 3 ways your brain creates meaning to help you understand the information you need to assess.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Improving meetings with visualization SaaS

In any small or medium-sized business, problems will arise that must be solved. Although the final decision always lies with the business owner, coming up with creative solutions is a task that is usually shared among a company's valued employees. 

Tapping into the tacit knowledge of your employees is a valuable part of making business decisions. By crowdsourcing decision making, you can tap into the collective knowledge of your staff and arrive at a wider variety of creative solutions than would ever be possible alone. However, tapping into this collective intelligence can be a challenge. In order to help your meetings accomplish their objectives faster, you need to tap into a smarter method of gathering and evaluating ideas. 

Scientific evidence supports visualization software

A recent scientific study conducted by The Institute of Marketing and Communication Management at the University of Lugano sought to identify the best methods for crowdsourcing decision making. The study provided two groups with the task of identifying problems and arriving at solutions. One group used visualization software while the other utilized hand-drawn charts. 

The study found that the group that used visualization software was significantly more efficient. Not only did these participants arrive at solutions faster, they also generated more ideas and retained more knowledge than those using hand-drawn charts. The software-using group was better able to apply subjective evaluation to the ideas generated and recorded in this manner. 

You can apply these same principles to your own business when tapping into the tacit knowledge of your employees. At your next meeting, consider using visualization software to help your team gather and present their ideas more clearly. Not only will this make the process faster, it's also a smarter and more efficient way to gather information. 

One software that can aid in tapping into your team's collective intelligence is Ranktab, which allows you to gather and assess information and ideas in a visual manner. The visual interface makes subjective evaluation simple: Rather than needing to discuss each idea or suggestion at length, you can tell at a glance which ideas are most effective or have the greatest support from your staff.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Collaborative Decision Making in Small Businesses

Decision making in small business can differ substantially from making decisions in a large corporation. In a corporate setting, no individual has the freedom to make major decisions that impact a business's growth and development. All ideas must be filtered through the appropriate channels and considered by upper management. 

In a small business, decisions can be made instantly. While this provides substantial freedom, it also brings its own problems: Specifically, reaching a consensus can be a challenge when multiple business partners each have a say in what happens next. It's important to take the collective intelligence of your staff into account when making decisions that affect your business, but smarter decision making doesn't have to be time-consuming. 

A Swift Solution to Gathering Information 

The tacit knowledge of your partners and treasured employees is a valuable resource, but taking the time to individually discuss every decision is not always the most efficient choice. It's possible to come to a standstill easily when too many opinions are discussed and considered. A smarter and faster solution is crowdsourcing decision making, which allows you to take advantage of the team's tacit knowledge without spending time deliberating over every decision. 

When crowdsourcing decision making, you call upon the collective intelligence of your group members. They pitch ideas, which are then gathered and submitted to subjective evaluation. In this way, you can get a clear survey of exactly where everyone stands without actively debating a question. Subjective evaluation allows you to sort through the responses given and quickly see where a consensus is reached. 

Tools to Expedite Information Gathering in Small and Medium Businesses

To make this process faster, our app Ranktab will aid in collecting and assessing information. It will provide a visualization of data to make it easier to see at a glance where a consensus lies. Visualization tools can streamline the decision-making process and allow business owners to pursue the best course of action without spending hours tied up in meetings. This frees up more of your time to implement these decisions and mind all of the other important aspects of running your business.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Suffer from decision fatigue? Tap the wisdom of the crowd

Decision fatigue refers to the mental exhaustion that occurs after making many choices. This mental fatigue occurs when the mind becomes drained by strenuous thinking, and it weakens willpower and critical thought. As a result, people suffering from decision fatigue will often act impulsively, without taking the time to think through the consequences, or may fail to act at all. 

Despite having thorough tacit knowledge of a subject, even an expert can miss important information or arrive at an erroneous conclusion after facing decision fatigue. In a business setting where any decision can impact a large group of people, this type of fatigue is even more damaging. 

Fortunately, it's possible to avoid decision fatigue by crowdsourcing decision making tasks. By appealing to the collective intelligence of a group, you can often make faster and smarter decisions than if you had worked on the project alone. Coming to a faster decision saves everyone from the mental anguish of fatigue, and a group with a diversity of ideas will often yield far smarter suggestions than any single individual. 

Of course, crowdsourcing decision making isn't always easy. Anyone who has attempted to conduct a meeting democratically will soon realize that it can be impossible to get a group of people to come to an agreement. This does not mean that collective intelligence cannot be used to make business decisions; it simply means that you must be more organized about how you tap the tacit knowledge of others and use it most successfully. 

You must gather opinions from many different people and evaluate them to determine which course of action is the best. This sort of subjective evaluation can be mentally taxing in its own right as the ultimate decision about your course of action still falls on your shoulders. However, tools exist to make gathering, and evaluating this data easier by translating ideas into visualizations. 

By utilizing the tools offered by Ranktab, you can collate data gathered from many sources and create graphs or charts to aid in your subjective evaluation of the results. By creating a visualization of data, you can easily spot trends and pick out the best possible solution to any problem your business might face.