Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I’d like to propose a new word: “Encrispen” and suggest defining it as “the process and action of making something crisp, clear and focused”. It is the essence of a Great Demo!

If you were trying to communicate this idea to others, what words or images might you use? Here are a few starters:

- Crisp
- Concise
- Pointed
- Quick
- Focused
- Clean
- Swift
- Short
- Get-to-the-Point
- Brief
- Succinct
- Terse

- A camera lens (expressing focus)
- A crisp handful of paper money folded in half
- Origami items, similarly crisply folded
- A raft of razor-sharp pencils
- Potato chips (“crisps”, in the UK)
- A raptor focused on its target
- A vanishing point (an empty subway tunnel that vanishes to a point…)
- The business end of an X-acto knife
- A dart about to strike a dart-board dead-center

What other words, images or ideas might you suggest?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Buying an ERP System – Recommendations for Customers

A recent checklist from Inside-ERP (“ERP To-Do Checklist: Things to Ask Before You Write That BIG Check To A Vendor”) included four items that really resonated with me:

“What are the specific business problems you need to solve with ERP? For instance, do you need to shorten product lead times or improve communications with your suppliers? Are there industry regulations to which your company must adhere?”

Sounds very much like statements of CBI’s (Critical Business Issues) or underlying Problems/Reasons, used in creating Situation Slides for demos.

“What are the goals and metrics that you will use to measure the business benefits of your organization’s new ERP solution? A good starting point for these metrics are the KPIs — such as inventory accuracy, cost reductions and month-end closing processes — that your company is already tracking.”

Wonderful examples of possible measurements of the Delta – the value of making the change.

“What features and functions do you need from a new ERP solution that will help increase users’ productivity and provide access to the business data users most need?”

Simple statement of the Specific Capabilities needed.

The fourth recommendation promoted the idea of an implementation timeline – Transition Vision – and the concept of Early Wins “to allow you to implement them in phases... Taking the implementation in prioritized steps gives IT managers and ERP users a chance to learn new processes.”

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

“That’s Too Bad…”

A number of years ago I was part of a sales team presenting a demo to a large prospect in Houston (no names…). Things were going great – the end-users were loving the software and management heads were nodding in agreement.

The prospect’s IT manager asked, “Can our users store their data locally, in addition to on corporate server?”

Our presales guy, who was presenting the demo, quickly responded, “Yes, absolutely. Users can download and save datasets locally on their laptops in a few simple steps. Here – let me show you…” And he did.

The IT manager then said, “That’s too bad… We have a strict policy of no corporate data on local machines. We won’t be able to use your software…!” [Ouch!] A sad example of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory… What should the presales person have done?

Before jumping to answer “Yes!” (and rushing to demo the feature), he should have asked, “Why do you ask – what are you looking to accomplish?”

Friday, November 19, 2010

Making the Complex Seem Simple

In many demos, vendor software offerings are perceived by prospects as being “too complex; too complicated”. One of our objectives is to avoid this perception: Instead of making the simple look dangerously complex, we want to make the complex look wonderfully simple (while having great potential depth).

This is a key idea in Great Demo! methodology – and the “Do It” pathway is one example of how to achieve this. Another is to avoid words like “if” and “or” when presenting demos. What else can be done to help improve the perception of being wonderfully simple, yet with depth when needed?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New YouTube Great Demo! Videos

We’ve posted 4 new videos on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/PCohan.  The first three are testimonials from our recent Great Demo! Public Workshop (September 2010) and the fourth is an interview done by DreamSimplicity (www.dreamsimplicity.com) at the same event.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Remote Demos – What If the Host Isn’t There?

What if you have been scheduled to join or present in a Remote Demo, but find that the host is late and has not started the online meeting on time? (Has this ever happened to you?)

One simple solution is to ensure that the host grants alternative host rights to a second person (e.g., you) so that you can start the meeting even if the host is late. This is a current capability in many of the online collaboration tools (e.g., WebEx, GoToMeeting, etc.).

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What Happens If You Peel Back the Layers Too Far?

A colleague once noted that Peeling Back the Layers is like peeling the layers of an onion – if you peel it back too far, you cry.  At a recent Great Demo! Workshop, a participant added that if you continue to peel, you not only cry but you’ll find you have nothing left!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Great Demo! Example of Using Prop/Technology

A recent Great Demo! Workshop participant presented a demo to a large audience using a wonderful prop/technology combination – she used a webcam to show the live use of an iPhone application.  While there are very nice emulators that could have presented the app, using a webcam from her laptop to show the live video of her hands and fingers running the iPhone was very compelling.  It had everybody’s attention riveted!