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Why relationships are crucial: An interview with T-Impact CEO and Founder, Keith Stagner

“Just buying software doesn’t work,” says Keith Stagner, founder and CEO of T-Impact, an IBM Business Partner. “The majority of what we do is about working with a customer to identify precisely what it is they want to achieve and helping them to find ways of doing it better.”

T-Impact’s relationship with IBM began in 2009, when IBM bought Business Process Management (BPM) software and services provider, Lombardi. T-Impact had been doing a lot of work with Lombardi and were looking to expand their footprint at the time.

Initially delivering sub-contracted BPM services based around Lombardi, T-Impact’s exposure to the breadth of IBM’s portfolio and the impact of the IBM brand during the partnership onboarding process highlighted a wider range of opportunities.

“For us, it’s not about simply automating, but about mapping and understanding the processes that underlie an organisation—the steps that make them work. We model that, and then challenge their assumptions and the business to see and to implement new, more streamlined ways of achieving their objectives.”

It is at this point that digital products like process automation, rules management and robotics come into play.

“The size of IBM makes it difficult to tailor an existing solution to the specific needs of a client. Whereas we, as a small firm, are nimble enough to create custom solutions which meet those needs but which are based on the premium products we get from IBM.”

That same scale of IBM can pose a challenge to Business Partners. The success of T-Impact’s partnership with IBM is, according to Stagner, entirely due to the personal relationships that drive business between the two organisations. “Relationships,” he says, “are crucial to getting things done.”

Essential to that relationship is IBM’s annual gathering of Business Partners, which this year took place as part of Think 2018.

“Last year, we took one of our customers along. I went to a few sessions but I spent much of my time there sitting down with IBM executives, telling them my story, about the work we’re doing and how we want to drive business with IBM.”

The impact, says Stagner, was profound. “The challenges are the same for any organisation. The beauty of an event like Think is we can cut through those challenges and work on building the relationships we have, forging new ones and making it easier to do business together.”

T-Impact has itself undergone a fundamental transformation in the way it does business over the past 18 months and it’s aiming to expand its portfolio further.

“In 2017,” Stagner continues, “we decommissioned our last server. We are now 100 percent on the cloud and all our support systems all the way down to basic word processing and spreadsheets are entirely cloud-based.”

T-Impact’s offerings are now completely cloud-based too, and offer customers a subscription model that drastically reduces up-front cost and delivers an immediate return on investment. It has given the partner a significant competitive edge.

“Customers are being told by competitors that it’ll cost between USD 50,000 and USD 350,000 just to get started with robotics. At T-Impact, we can get a fully working system in market and run it for 2 years for the same price a competitor can offer a proof of concept. When we tell them it’ll cost £30,000, their jaws hit the floor!”

T-Impact is now looking to package AI services with Watson in future subscription services. “The ability to tap into AI of Watson’s calibre on a per-transaction basis is,” according to Stagner, “a game changer.”

Andrew Davidson,
Channel Communications, Europe

For more information about T-Impact, please visit http://www.t-impact.com/.


Andrew Davidson leads communications for IBM's One Channel business in Europe. With over 20 years experience in telling stories about technology innovation and the way it shapes our world, Andrew helps IBM and its Business Partners to share how they are working together to increase client value.

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