Wants to Get its Name Out on Broadband
E. Robins - March 30th, 2000
Inc. (NASDAQ: RAZF) was founded by Jeffrey Dachis and Craig Kanarick in
1994, and has evolved into a Digital Business Service Provider (DBSP).
It was Dachis's second creation following "In Your Face Inc.", a self-described
'guerilla marketing events firm'.
describes itself as is an international digital communications solutions
provider, and goes under the maxim "Everything that can be digital, will
be digital'. The company cut its teeth on animated web design in server-push
/ client-pull in 1995, working for the likes of IBM Personal Computers,
AT&T, and CMP Publications. From its beginnings, Dachis saw digital technology
as a means to change the way business works, though at the time most online
services were largely no more than web catalogs.
intentions were - and are - to lead the digital revolution rather than
be led. Its early success gave it the cash and share value to acquire
the strategic building blocks it needed to follow its vision. Recently
it acquired I-Cube to give it respectability as a systems integrator,
and TSDesign (Boston) whose main function is to provide quality assurance
to the user web experience.
Europe, it extended its reach into wireless by acquiring Spray Ventures
and recently opened up a wireless laboratory in Helsinki. Its acquisitions
in the U.K. of CHBi for broadband and Sunbather for web design in Europe,
and Fuel and Tonga for web design capabilities in the media industry have
enhanced its capabilities and strengthened its strategic positioning as
a complete service provider.
has also grown partly organically, but this is the lesser process, and
must pull together the many strands it has built through internal organizational
processes and infrastructures, something it is presently busily doing.
Razorfish management has recognized that in this game, you must aim for
the Holy Service Grail - providing end-to-end solutions (EES) to its clients.
To do this it has developed procedures and internal infrastructures to
share knowledge and integrate its diverse acquisitions.
In April 1999, Razorfish went public with a share offering, raising about
$45M to provide fuel for its expansion.
Strategy and Trajectory
from the creative side of web design, Razorfish holds no particular allegiance
to a specific technology vendor - in other words, it is a technology agnostic,
which is not an uncommon characteristic of vendors of this genre. The
advantages of this approach are that it can in theory better serve its
clients by providing the best and most appropriate technologies to specific
problems. The downside is that the company must have adequate resources
to cover all the technologies it will need. To achieve this, however,
means that internal resources - management, corporate knowledge and project
management, personnel training, and cross-office fertilization of skill
sets - must be efficiently utilized. Razorfish has adopted a number of
strategies and developing infrastructures to meet this challenge.
Structure and Culture
In general, as a technology agnostic, Razorfish personnel are divided
into functional groups rather than technology areas. This means that the
personnel focus on architecture, or design, or technology implementations.
People move up in these functions, though often the line between function
groups is blurred, enabling at least some to cross between the function
groups. In this way, at least some personnel can climb to be Client Partner
managers from a variety of backgrounds. A Client Partner is the senior
client management interface.
Razorfish is divided into two zones: North America and Europe, each with
its own managing VP. The two zones are linked through a basic knowledge
management and project information system called MOM. MOM allows users
on either side of the Atlantic to review current projects and project
skill requirements, to plan their agendas and interact with others on
the network. MOM is the beginnings of a comprehensive inter-office knowledge
dedicated high-level executive position currently manned by Bob Lapides
(EVP of Global Process, Methodology and Market Transformation.) provides
the means to sew management systems together and create a unified international
presence. Such issues as technology transfer across offices and efficient
utilization of skills for project planning and execution are addressed
with office group leaders who create skills communities among the offices.
MOM and the skills communities reduce travel and traveling costs.
philosophy is that good technical people are able to deal with many different
technologies, learn them quickly, and apply them. Within the organization,
mentor programs have been established, often across function lines. The
mentor can accept or refuse a request, but generally can take on four
or five 'interns'. Apprenticeship style learning means skills are learned
through osmosis and on-the-job practice more than by any formal training
program. However, Razorfish insists the quality of its people is high,
and formal training programs are not necessary.
Razorfish is a work-hard / play-hard organization. It is expected that
their people deliver quality work, since this is what keeps the customers
a personnel point of view, with a growing population currently at about
1360 employees, Razorfish has a billable force of over 900. Of these,
roughly 20% (about 180) are strategists ( usually Client Partners), 40%
technologists (about 360), and the remaining 40% (another 360 or so) are
designers, spread amongst its offices. Some 45% of its skill base - mostly
in Europe - are devoted to broadband and wireless solutions such as interactive
and enhanced TV, and the skill set includes the physical design (including
board level design) and branding of hand held devices. Roughly 25% of
the payroll is in support and executive management roles.
has a no sales group per se, largely because they are in the happy position
of having more incoming work than they can handle. The demand provides
Razorfish with the ability to be selective about its clientele as it tries
to direct the company into strategic directions. Some of the work is created
through responding to RFP's as well as from word-of-mouth references,
but most is generated from incoming requests. Business development experts
screen new business opportunities as they arrive. When appropriate, these
are passed on to a Client Partner.
is interesting to note that Razorfish claims it responds to few RFP's.
This complies with other vendors who have also experienced that demand
is high, particularly in the past year or two. DBSPs are becoming more
selective with their clients: in a recent survey all DBSPs reported the
same phenomenon. The results of this survey will be published at a later
of the marketing issue Razorfish faces is a branding issue. I-Cube clients,
for example, have to re-adapt to the new order since the sales approach
is quite different. Razorfish has switched from I-Cube Solution Managers
to Client Partners; the difference is that the Client Partners are more
business oriented than technical, often with MBA's in their background
rather than MS's, a move designed to drive Razorfish in the direction
of selling front-end strategic services, particularly in selected vertical
It is the Client Partners who provide the technical marketing skills needed
at client presentations and to close deals. The presentations to clients
are tailored to the client, and are not canned presentations. Razorfish
believes this gives it the edge over its competitors, as evidenced by
its high hit rate (85%). This is well above average for the industry.
Other personnel who will actually be doing the work on the project may
also make an appropriate appearance.
Client Partner oversees the engagement with the client. Under the Client
Partner is the project manager who is in charge of delivering the goods.
Deeper down, account developers keep track of internal resource time keeping
and internal workbooks to update the project progress.
stated long term aim of the Client Partners is to focus their efforts
in the development of strategic business consulting in the given digital
environment, and not be narrowed by either a vertical industry focus or
technical capabilities: in a sense they view the Client's business given
the context of the digital medium. The Client Partner oversees client
relations throughout the engagement. Hence if Razorfish can better get
in early in the game, it stands a chance at providing full End-to-End
does both T&M (time and materials) and fixed price contracts. In the latter,
Razorfish prefers very discrete chunks of work, well planned, before it
is willing to risk fixed price.
limited sweat equity position in dot-com's may be a possibility in exchange
strategic directions are based on three basic drives:
- First is to have adequate technological ability to cover the emerging
- Second is to have vertical market expertise where it can leverage
work done on one project into that of another
- Third is to cover all four functional areas of the digital business
service provider space in an integrated manner
satisfy the first of these strategic directions, Razorfish early on recognized
the importance of the broadband and wireless market. This market is exploding
in Europe faster than in the U.S., and will no doubt (probability 98%)
be the same in Asia, though economic development has been slower there
in general, ignoring pockets like Hong Kong and Singapore. It further
recognized that the U.S. was well ahead in another area - that of business-to-business
and business-to-consumer (B2B and B2C).
it became clear that having a presence in these two market places would
provide it with the skill sets necessary to address expected demand on
both sides of the Atlantic. To link all these together, however, meant
rapid growth, and the fastest means was through acquisition and rapid
integration of acquired companies.
In this respect, Razorfish appears to have been very successful, having
established a history of successful mergers in the U.S. This success is
marred only by a lawsuit in Sweden over its use of the name Razorfish
from a company that has the name Razor: in Sweden, it seems, Razorfish's
name may yet be blunted.
In addition, Razorfish is investing heavily in infrastructure, one example
of which is the building of a wireless laboratory in Helsinki. It remains
to be seen if this geographic diversity works, and how it will be utilized.
second objective to achieve vertical market recognition is, in our opinion,
much more difficult as this is a branding and experience issue. Though
Razorfish has probably a number of successful implementations in the target
industries, these implementations do not go deep enough into the industry
and in each individual engagement to have a major brand recognition effect.
This is not a problem that Razorfish is unaware of and is trying hard
to rectify the situation. To enforce this strategic direction, Razorfish
recently created internal vertical market focus groups under the leadership
of Barry Wolfield, VP of Startups, for which it is aggressively hiring.
Hence a future client might find an Industry Specialist showing up at
the presentation with the Client Partner. The vertical industries focus
is discussed later in this article.
As an example of implementation depth issues,, building the site for Schwab
may have only partly assisted in making it known as a full service provider
in the financial industry. However, its work for Schwab was largely limited
to building the website - the creative and backend integration - not necessarily
providing them with recognition as financial industry web strategists.
Again, we think it is a little misleading to think that building websites
provides this kind of experience. Currently, Schwab retains Razorfish
to maintain the website, which is a far cry from full partnering in the
digital business strategic planning sense.
is currently upgrading some features such as online training for bank
employees - essentially enriching the site. BankOne is another example
where Razorfish beat the competition to the punch in web design and execution,
but BankOne's strategy had already been formulated prior to Razorfish's
engagement. What BankOne wanted was a new look to the website and a focus
to integrate its financial services with First Chicago. The web development
provided the catalyst, and allowed the two banks to merge their offerings
far more efficiently than otherwise. Razorfish's consultants were brought
in early (along with KPMG) to assist in the strategic planning of the
site, not in the digital business strategy (i.e., answering the question
"what are we and what do we do in this new media?") itself.
add to its downside, Razorfish's involvement was ended after the website
went up and the creative work done, and it was made clear on day one that
maintenance was to be done by internal BankOne staff. However, the attraction
of doing 'one site after another' in a vertical industry where code re-use
can be as high as 60%-70%, is a highly attractive and very leveragable
industries Razorfish is interested in include Healthcare, InfoCom which
includes Wireless Communications, Media and the Internet, Financial, Consumer
and Retail, and Manufacturing.
for Strategic Consulting
strategy can impact the entire business operations of the client, and
hence a broader strategic (global) analysis of an established client becomes
necessary. To provide for this front end, Razorfish is slowly developing
the expertise and building its credibility through hiring, sitting on
industry panels, and developing processes to fit the new environment.
Bringing in industry specialists is always the good move, but it takes
referenced clients to help you (who often recommend you to others) really
move ahead, as well as an impressive procedure that delivers quick results.
Razorfish still has a ways to go before it becomes the natural trusted
advisor to CEOs and corporate boards. However, Razorfish claims to having
already beaten out the likes of Andersen on a number of occasions.
other aspect Razorfish brings to the table is its multidisciplinary approach
and 'fresh thinking'. In this day of fast changing business environments
that rapidly are becoming interlaced with cross-industry technologies,
there is a requirement for cross-fertilization of ideas, and hence a user
may look at Razorfish to get new perspectives in the digital realm. One
example given by Razorfish health industry specialist Mike Parker is the
use of wireless digital technology in healthcare: a dentist for example
may view a digital reproduction of an X-ray while simultaneously caring
for the patient, using a mobile device conveniently located for viewing
- the lack of wires being a great aid against clutter. The broader implications
of this technology can of course be seen in other areas of Healthcare,
health care service providers (doctors, hospitals etc.), heath care delivery
instrumentation industries, manufacturers, VARs, etc. to which vertical
industry specialists can provide insight.
proper processes and management tools need to be developed, proven, and
used in a number of engagements if Razorfish is to be a serious contender.
Their slow approach is reasonable given that they need to create these
tools as well as internal knowledge dissemination structures. Further,
as a transcontinental company, Razorfish has equivalent leaders on both
sides of the Atlantic who must coordinate their efforts.
is also a fairly broad line between proper digital business strategic
analysis and getting to know a client's business in order to create a
website, something the user should be aware of. Razorfish is aware of
this issue, and as such it is establishing internal business development
programs for its technical and managerial staff.
Razorfish's early successes have and will continue to hamper its ambitions
at least in the U.S. market: those successes were founded on their ability
to do neat websites, and website building - once done - that could be
taken over by less expensive and less sexy outsource organizations or
internal MIS departments. Another issue is the persona of the acquired
companies. Clients of these companies now have a partner with more to
offer than previously, as in the case if I-Cube customers. Hence the need
to provide an all round set of services - or at least give the appearance
of doing so - is paramount if Razorfish wants to move ahead. In Europe
it may have more success through its acquisitions, but in essence, Razorfish
has a branding problem of its own. Thus the first and fourth components
of the EES - discussed below - are currently out of Razorfish's reach.
However, we predict that Razorfish should be able to lay claim to the
strategy piece within the next year to eighteen months.
In another direction, Razorfish has a major desire not to be so dependent
on a few clients, but the reality is that it will continue to derive a
significant portion of its revenues from a limited number of larger clients
(probability 90%). However, as the company's revenues grow, the anticipated
dependence on single clients accounting for more than 10% of revenue should
decline. In 1998 one client accounted for about 25% of the company's revenue.
With a revenue growth of over 400% from 1998 to 1999 (due largely from
acquisitions), and the size of major contracts almost doubling, at least
more new clients are being added. USWEB, another DBSP, reports its contract
sizes have about doubled on average, confirming the market is tending
toward larger sized contracts requiring more services. However, part of
the revenue growth, - approximately 15-20%, was due to a 30% increase
in billing rates to some major clients in January 1999. This adds some
weight to the likelihood that Razorfish is having some difficulty in leveraging
itself into larger contract sizes, though the acquisitions blurs this
analysis as does its recent international acquisitions .
as a revenue generator is working well for Razorfish. The dramatic revenue
jumps (Figure 1) in 1998 and 1999 were largely the result of acquiring
I-Cube and Spray respectively, as well as through market growth (an estimate
shows about half the year-to-year increase). The larger acquisitions were
accounted for mostly through stock option exchanges and some cash. Razorfish's
earlier smaller acquisitions in 1998 were cash deals. Another troubling
trend is the rising cost of personnel shown in Figure 2. In January 1998,
Razorfish raised its rates by 30% to at least one major client, though
the apparent modest rise in relative manpower costs is masked by acquisitions
and expansions. Figure 1 indicates the impact on the bottom line of Razorfish's
area where Razorfish can have a major strategic development impact and
follow-up long term partnering is with new dot-com companies well funded
by Venture Capitalists (VC's). These companies often start with a good
business idea, often by someone well versed in the industry. Someone,
for example, familiar with the automotive parts industry realizes that
this is a perfect industry for an online auto parts mart. This happened
in the case of partsdriver.com for which Razorfish built the website and
the backend integration. However, translating the idea into a working
website means that the strategic concepts must be worked out as the business
model is translated into the digital medium. Razorfish's expertise shined
in this example, though it is a more confined problem than a complex pre-existing
brick and mortar company changing or adding spots to its current organization.
should also take note of the fact that Razorfish's culture is well suited
to dot-com's - it being one itself. The cultural match and relationships
forged from the 'raising of children' should never be overlooked in this
business. In this sense, a DBSP like Razorfish could spawn a network of
businesses that will grow as more business is driven to the net.
should be aware that typical projects can last 3-9 months. Razorfish's
preference is for projects in the $750,000+ mark or above - the mid-market
where most players believe the bulk of e-business building exists.
doubt Razorfish's strengths are in design, architecture, and technology.
All clients we spoke to gave them very high marks for these functions.
Skills: Among Razorfish's skill sets is a strong capability in UNIX,
C, C++, COBOL, and VB. As well they have moved to JAVA and are going to
combine and grow their skill sets. Further, Razorfish has built at least
one unique tool - an automatic translator from COBOL into SAP's language
ABAP, a fact that won them a translation contract with SAP. Likely as
not, proprietary tools built from internal expertise can provide Razorfish
with added advantages.
company does not have many technology partners, and this can be viewed
as a strength on the one hand, and a weakness on the other. On the strength
side it means it is not beholding to any technology. On the downside,
it means that it may not have the relationships with product vendors to
truly leverage their knowledge. Among the company's packaged solutions
expertise are Siebel - where it needs more people - Vignette, and Ariba
which is increasingly used to interface with installed systems.
The design side has without doubt won them many contracts. However, it
is like an actor who plays a role: once identified with the role, the
true character of the actor is never recognized. From the website perspective,
design and implementation are now even stronger - the Customer Experience
quality assurance has been enhanced with the acquisition of TSDesign in
Internal Organization and Infrastructure: Another strength is its
internal organization development and infrastructure. Razorfish seems
ahead of many in terms of its integrated approach to office management.
This is critical as companies expand overseas. Given the nature of the
Internet, the shortage of manpower and high cost of development in the
U.S. (and even parts of Europe), the ability to go offshore and still
manage, track, and retain a skill set will play an ever increasing role
in the success of a company.
gained from early acquisition and learning to integrate other companies
without killing the acquired organism (the Big 5 do so well at killing
their creative babies) is something that is more and more needed. However,
as Razorfish evolves into a larger organization, it may find this harder
Broadband and Wireless Focus: The early move into broadband and
wireless is a great move by Razorfish. This market is likely to explode
since infrastructures, deregulation, and the enormous mergers and acquisitions
in the telecommunications industry are setting the stage for real emergence.
On top of this, new technologies are arriving. Within the next five years
we expect the rise of the system on a chip - giving the computing power
of a desktop today to communications devices like the cell phone and PDA
(probability 85%). At present, it cannot be anticipated what this revolution
will do, but hand-helds are likely to become the major driver behind the
next generation of business applications.
wireless facility and early associations with the likes of NOKIA and ERICSSON
in Europe will provide backbone for Razorfish when this emergence occurs.
Meanwhile, there is plenty of work to do in the area, even if it is to
hook coke machines up with the cell phone so you can dial a coke if you
don't have the change!
is like most vendors in this space - trying to achieve the holy grail
of providing each client with an end-to-end solution (EES). EES is essentially
composed of four functions:
- Digital business consulting in which a business plan is translated
into digital business strategy; this can include marketing and branding.
- Architecture and Design wherein the digital business plan is turned
into a technological architecture: this can include website design and
structure, as well as the technological building blocks needed to execute
- System building and integration with back end systems.
- Extending the business relationship into a true partnership where
the client and the vendor continually re-invent the business and expand
/ improve the digital capabilities of the client.
these, Razorfish certainly provides (2) and (3), and has yet to prove
itself in the first and fourth for all classes of client, as argued earlier.
Razorfish has an uphill battle for recognition and needs to move away
from an image just as a creative player. It needs to be perceived as a
more stolid consultant capable of entering the boardrooms of Brick and
Mortar establishments - at least in North America.
indicated earlier, the ability of the company to make itself known in
a few vertical industries is also impacted by the vision of the company
as a creative website designer and builder, not the true digital strategist.
In order for it to be seriously taken as a player in the vertical industries
on which it has an eye, Razorfish will have to look for players that are
already present and respected. However, it is difficult to see who and
what: the large industries it wants to enter are governed by the Big 5
consulting houses or large media consultants, none of which Razorfish
can acquire (oops, but maybe the other way round?).
of quality is a key issue. As the company expands it must continue to
strive to hire the best, educate and distribute knowledge according to
need. This is a major internal challenge. It must strive to upgrade its
current MOM system into a true project management / knowledge-sharing
tool, otherwise its geographically distributed talent may not be able
to (at least as cheaply) exchange their knowledge pools efficiently. Acquisitions
also have to be absorbed and merged into the corporate culture. Luckily,
Razorfish's culture is similar to many new companies, but as it grows,
so will the culture change. PeopleSoft seems to have retained its culture:
maybe Razorfish should look around for examples so it can make sure it
can do the same.
employee retention rate is reasonable for the industry. Currently it has
about 15%-18% turnover rate. Employee retention in the U.S. is hard -
particularly in silicon alley/valley locations - and hiring has to be
directed at similar-culture organizations such as Cambridge Technology
Partners. SAPIENT is not as similar in terms of culture to Razorfish,
and hence Razorfish's headhunters do not generally target its employees.
to Razorfish, many consultants come from the Big Five looking for more
exciting work and larger pieces of monetary return from smaller dot-com
organizations. However, this also makes them the target for headhunters
as well as a breeding ground for new entrepreneurs intent on establishing
companies of their own. Dot-coms are breeding grounds for other dot-coms,
and perhaps Razorfish may need to look at how it retains its relationships
with the babies it helps create. The paucity of available skilled labor
in the US also means what it has here in terms of labor costs is expensive.
Going offshore for cheaper labor is possible; however Razorfish will have
to deal with the inevitable cultural and language barriers.
problem it may find relates to its attempt to provide strategic consulting
and get in earlier in the consulting game. It may find that the competition
resulting from Big X (where X is to be defined as the world changes) organization
initiatives will make it harder to compete for more established B&M companies.
However, nothing stops these companies from trying out Razorfish, if only
to corroborate or add value to the solutions from more traditional strategy
is a challenge to everyone. As a commerce web designer and builder, building
in the customer relationships for multiple cultures and languages will
be a major opportunity. A diversity of internal cultures and language
skills is an advantage for any vendor, as well as an internal challenge
in getting that diversity to work and play efficiently together.
a burgeoning marketplace for DBSPs, it is hard to see anyone going down,
and Razorfish certainly isn't one of them: its direction is certainly
up. The expansion of broadband and wireless services make it well positioned
for the new converging technologies marketplace.
Though net profits have generally been negative, this is not a sign of
bad management -au contraire, it is a sign of the right direction in terms
of grow, die, or be acquired. Internationalization is going to accelerate,
and cross-fertilization of knowledge from one continent to the next is
going to play an increasing role in the success of a DBSP. As well, as
the need to provide services over cultural divides expands, having an
international presence can only help.
will expand, revenues will expand, but investors are going to pay the
price for a while as the cost of the expansion eats the revenues. Razorfish
will likely acquire properties in Asia before long (next 12 months), since
this is the next wireless zone and we cannot see Razorfish holding back.
South America is another attractive apple to bite on - particularly Brazil
and Argentina with large and reasonably cell-phone populated cultures
in focused areas.
infrastructures are expanding rapidly, as is wireless coverage. The failure
of the Iridium satellite system is in fact a good sign: broadband systems
are required and Iridium unfortunately has paid the price for being too
little too late. However, some use for the system may yet be found to
provide some limited low priority bandwidth at some future date. Teledesic,
the broadband equivalent of GlobalStar (a digital cell/data satellite
system), is due for commercial use in 2004. These systems are best adapted
to developing countries and countries with broad expanses of low populated
areas. With these systems in place, cell and global roaming capabilities
will provide a boost for applications developers like Razorfish, but in
cross-cultural terms. This means modifications to existing websites, as
well as the creation of whole new lines of services such as language translators,
voice recognition and multicultural personalization.
question might arise: will Razorfish itself get eaten? As a high-end website
builder and integrator with facilities in Europe in an explosive market,
Razorfish presents itself as a nice target: problem is by whom? It's synergy
for merger and acquisition is with the likes of Cambridge Technology Partners
(probability maybe 50%), and maybe USWEB (this we doubt - probability
Big X would not want to eat Razorfish at this point - its culture is too
different and they would surely kill it. Of course, if the market becomes
tight it may be another story of Goliath killing David. The probability
of a market like this happening is low - 5% over the next two years. Our
guess is Razorfish will carry on feeding itself over the next two or three
years, and keep growing as long as its bankers can stand it. However,
if the break-up of the large accounting and consulting houses occurs,
they may well look for new blood and new ways to re-invent themselves.
the EES point of view, we believe that Razorfish will never quite make
the ranks of true strategy consultants to B&M's, but will be a strong
player in the digital strategy that may be the end reality of many B&M
companies. For newly created dot-coms it is another story.
will make headway in being recognized in the vertical industries it seeks
provided it can pull in respectable personnel in those areas. Part of
the issue, however, is that many vertical markets have interestingly common
backend needs of integration - where Razorfish is known to work well -
while the front end of how business is done in the vertical market is
exactly where the strategists are needed to win business. However, Razorfish's
'out-of-the-box' thinking is attractive if these industries find themselves
pushed into doing business in very different ways; if not, the more traditional
Big X firms (whatever or whoever they may be in a couple of years), will
be well placed to take advantage and could shut the door pretty tight
in several industries for the smaller newcomers.
Media and Entertainment industry has a high probability of making it (80%)
within the next year, while others will be a long slow climb over at least
two years and some hard won engagements. Areas where we think they will
have the most challenge (in order) will be in Financial, Manufacturing,
Healthcare, and Consumer and Retail.
believe that the major issues with Razorfish lay in its structural organization,
external image, and perceived capabilities.
name Razorfish conjures up the striking image of an exotic fish, and therein
may lie the problem: exotic fish do not do staid business consulting to
B&M's. Razorfish needs to change that image, and exciting marketing campaigns
are hard to devise for corporate bureaucrats. Further, the vendor must
create proper due business strategy processes for its digital strategic
front end and extend business practices at the backend by providing value
added services to at least extend its relationships if it wants the goal
of an 'annuity' business.
structural issues appear to be related to training. Razorfish has no formal
training facilities and dedicated trainers to cover technology areas.
To retain expertise, it is our belief that is must do more along these
lines; otherwise staff retention and quality will eventually suffer.
vendor is clearly capable of providing clients with excellent technical
help and its work is of high quality. However, you should consider carefully,
as with any vendor, the pros and cons of using the services of Razorfish.
prime importance is cultural match. One client referred to CSC, a huge
organization compared to Razorfish, yet a competitor Razorfish beat out
for the contract with a new dot-com company. The dot-com company stated
it had no desire being a microscopic piece to CSC. Razorfish made the
client feel more comfortable, largely from size and culture perspectives,
but also by the way it approached the engagement.
user should also be aware of the internal processes for knowledge sharing
and engagement practices that the vendor has at its disposal. These may
better suit you particularly if you are not clear on the digital business
you are about to create and need some flexibility. Large companies such
as CSC can be too rigid and difficult to make on-the-fly changes, while
Razorfish and others alike may (the emphasis is on may) be more flexible.
However, beware of costs and delays that could be incurred by these changes:
ask up front.
price / Fixed term contracting can work to the vendor and the client's
advantage. From the vendor's side, it means the availability of resources
can be better planned and thereby cut costs, as well as adding discipline
into project execution. From the client side it means getting what you
want when you want it. For this to work, however, a detailed and clear
project must be presented by the client, usually in phased segments where
there is room to learn prior to the next phase.
you are a B&M company looking to a DBSP for strategic services, you may
not likely be best served by the smaller DBSPs, and there could be interpretation
differences of what exactly is digital business strategic planning. However,
that aside, the translation of an existing strategic plan into digital
business is probably best served by getting the creative DBSP in early
on the discussions. They do have things to contribute, and are willing
to learn the whole shebang if you are willing to be the teacher and get
the reward at the end. You can ask what strategic management tools they
have in their toolkit: those that have proven methodologies may be the
ones to consider for an EES.
Proprietary programming language from SAP
Brick and Mortar - established companies with physical premises
Computer Science Corporation
Digital Business Service Provider
Personal Digital Assistant