Acosta Sales & Marketing

XP3 Customer Spotlight

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Problems

What solution were you using initially?
Excel & PowerPoint (conventional, native functionality)

How long had you been using that solution?
18 months

What problems did you encounter? What was your motivation for change?
Using the traditional solution (Excel & PowerPoint), building & maintaining presentations was an incredibly manual, time-consuming process:

To create a typical presentation for a single retailer & a single time period, associates had to:

  1. Download all the necessary data from the appropriate data provider(s)
    1. Once downloaded, the data was dumped into an Excel document
  2. Analyze the data to figure out what they wanted to showcase in the presentation
  3. Create all charts & graphs that they wanted to appear throughout the presentation itself
    1. This had to be done one of two ways:
      1. Build the charts & graphs in Excel and then copy & paste those static charts & graphs into the PowerPoint presentation
      2. Build the charts & graphs in PowerPoint by copying & pasting the appropriate pieces of static data from the data dump into each individual chart or graph in PowerPoint
    2. ***Due to the static nature of all presentations, in order to update a presentation with more current data (databases updated at least once a month) or to simply change the retailer being showcased throughout the presentation, associates essentially had to start from Step 1 of the above process.  This made iterating presentations for multiple retailers incredibly cumbersome, as associates had to build each retailer’s presentation individually.

In short, the problems were as follows:

  • Since data providers’ method of data delivery is through Excel:
    • Creating a PowerPoint presentation demanded the use of Excel (i.e., no way to get your data delivered directly into PowerPoint)
    • PowerPoint presentations themselves were static in nature
  • Due to the static nature of presentations:
    • It was impossible to iterate presentations across several different retailers without having to essentially start from scratch each time
    • It was even impossible to just update presentations with more current data without having to start from scratch again

At ACOSTA, we service hundreds of clients and hundreds of retailers, all of whom work in PowerPoint and deliver data-centered presentations in that environment.   Given the problems detailed above, it became clear that far too many man hours were being spent iterating & maintaining presentations.  Therefore, our motivation for change was to identify a solution that would allow our associates to create more dynamic presentations that could be iterated and maintained more easily, thereby allowing them to focus less on creating presentations and more on providing our clients with more insightful analytics.

Solution Process

How did you learn about XP3? We were aware of XP3 and their capabilities from many sources

What other solutions did you consider? None

Why did you choose XP3?

We chose XP3 because it truly solved all the problems detailed in the previous section:

  1. XP3 delivers data directly into PowerPoint, making all charts & graphs in any given presentation completely dynamic in nature
  2. With the dynamic nature of presentations built using XP3, iterating them across different retailers or updating them with more current data can be done in just a few clicks and, more importantly, takes just minutes of hands-off time to complete

How did the implementation process go? (Training, replacement of other systems or processes, did it take long, etc.)
Interactive Edge has worked very closely with us during the implementation process, which has made it incredibly seamless.  Several individuals at ACOSTA have been trained so far and each of them has been able to understand the software with relative ease.  More importantly, every client of ours that has seen the capabilities of XP3 wants to use it as soon as possible, even if they currently use a different piece of reporting software.  Seeing this barrage of interest in XP3 at ACOSTA, Interactive Edge has continued to work closely with us to develop solutions along the way that will allow us to scale the software across our entire enterprise and add value wherever possible.  We could not be happier with the way XP3 has been implemented so far.

Results & Benefits

What business processes does XP3 enhance?
As stated in the previous section, XP3 truly solves all the problems we were having with presentation development & maintenance, allowing our associates to iterate & update presentations across several different retailers & time periods in minutes.  This ultimately allows our associates to focus less on creating presentations and more on providing our clients with the most insightful analytics & recommendations possible.  To be more specific, the processes enhanced by XP3 are as follows:

  1. Presentation customization & iteration
  2. Business reporting
  3. Insights & recommendation development
  4. Enterprise-wide reporting (via data set integration & consolidation)

What has the ROI been like? Has XP3 reduced cost to complete these business processes?
ROI has been incredibly positive just based on the number of man hours we have saved.  Our associates are now able to dig deeper into the analysis process, and take on additional projects from our clients, which only increases our service level for ACOSTA’S clients.

How has XP3 impacted your team’s results and the time spent?
The amount of time required to customize presentations for all our key customers and retailers has been drastically reduced and we are generating incremental business from our clients due to the quality of work and speed of delivery.

Tell us about any specific results you have seen from implementing XP3.
Using the conventional way of building and iterating a New Item Launch presentation for one of our key coffee-manufacturing clients, it has taken us at least 90 days in the past to complete the same presentation for each of the 93 targeted retailers, as each presentation is customized to reflect the retailer’s specific market dynamics.  Using XP3, however, this same process took us just 5 days to complete, saving a total of 85 days, or 676 man hours of labor.  With all that time saved, our team was able to dedicate more time to analyzing results within each retailer and generating more impactful recommendations.  This helped position ACOSTA as the premier consultative business partner and trusted adviser, as opposed to just another Sales and Marketing firm.

How do you plan to use xp3 in the future?
We continue to find opportunities for the implementation of XP3 throughout ACOSTA.  For example, given the amount of data we are leveraging and maintaining, we are looking at ways to use XP3 as a conduit for pulling & managing all of our data.  As it stands right now, across our entire enterprise, the exact same data is being pulled multiple times by several different people, meaning all of those people are just waiting on data to download.  To decrease the amount of duplication occurring across our data pulls enterprise-wide and ultimately decrease the amount of time people are just waiting for data to pull, we are looking at how XP3 can centralize everything in SQL so that we can pull all of our data for all of our clients once, import it into XP3’s back-end and then just have our associates utilize XP3 to get any data they may need.

What are three words that describe your experience working with Interactive Edge?

  1. Dynamic
  2. Mutualistic
  3. Transformative

Would you recommend Interactive Edge and XP3 to your peers?
Absolutely – without hesitation.

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