Professional Development

Demand Chain Systems Managing Partner Chris Dahlberg, Chief Innovation Officer Mike Paradis and President Ton Morse. Photo by Joel Schnell.

Innovating Relationships

Salesforce partner Demand Chain Systems expands focus to corporate culture

By John P. Palen
03-25-2016

Innovation only comes through trial and error. Every true entrepreneur knows this and is willing to risk failure in the pursuit of innovation. Once success happens, the key is to keep risking and exploring.

Perhaps the best places to look for innovation today are in the ways companies apply technology to work faster, smarter or more profitably. There are passionate technology specialists exploring their own path to help them do that.

In 2001, one such entrepreneur left his executive position with General Electric to form a consulting practice around a new customer relationship platform called Salesforce. Mike Paradis had just finished a major CRM rollout at GE and believed that “software as a service” CRM was just a part of supporting an end-to-end customer experience. He formed a partnership with W. Duncan MacMillan, a member of Cargill’s MacMillan family. Their consulting practice, BenNevis, was the first certified Salesforce.com Partner in the region by 2002.

Four years later, MacMillan died. The consulting practice dissolved. By that time Paradis had spun off the technology part of the business, focused on CRM implementations, with two new partners, forming Demand Chain Systems. In the ensuing years, Demand Chain Systems continued to represent Salesforce to design, deploy and integrate the evolving applications with their customers’ existing systems and processes. Tony Morse was brought on as president in 2014 to focus on operations and sales while Chris Dahlberg, one of the original partners with Paradis, serves as managing partner to oversee client service and delivery. With the leadership team in place, Demand Chain Systems now has 25 employees and is growing rapidly.   

Paradis saw something else. After implementation, Demand Chain Systems had no way of predicting the success of an application launch if the culture of the company didn’t support it. Paradis started a new consulting company he called CAMMI Logic with investors in 2008.

“Many companies now have Salesforce in place, but we find that it works best when it is applied to how and why people use it,” Paradis explains. “Some people customize it too much. Some do not utilize it enough. Others don’t align it properly to their business model.”

Enter CAMMI Logic. It’s a relationship algorithm that diagnoses the capabilities and maturity of an organization. In essence, it’s a personality profile of a business rather than a person. Demand Chain purchased CAMMI Logic in November 2015 to add an organizational consulting piece to its business model. They anticipate it as a competitive advantage when helping companies optimize CRM.

“I had to shelve CAMMI Logic in 2013 due to some philosophical differences on what to do with it,” Paradis says. “But now the timing is right to deploy this approach as a way to help our clients be better organized around the results of how employees work together and serve their customers.”  

It doesn’t hurt that Demand Chain Systems has experienced top line growth of 60% as companies adopt Salesforce as their CRM of choice. Margins are good to roll out their vision with the knowledge that well-organized, profitable companies are strong enough to explore new frontiers.

“We see this as a way for us to improve client outcomes, helping them make better decisions as our tools and team challenge the reasons why they are doing something rather than simply doing what our clients think they want us to do,” says, Morse. “Now we can better guide their CRM investments or any other business decisions.”

Time will tell how companies respond to CAMMI Logic, but that’s the nature of innovation. It has to be tested and proven.

Bio

John P. Palen is CEO of Allied Executives and works with CEOs, business owners and executive leaders on leadership development and business performance improvement through peer groups, coaching and educational workshops.

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