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Engaging with IBM: Why partner with anyone else?

Maybe it’s like this in all walks of life, but for those who work in technology, there is always something new being introduced, hyped or inserted into one’s consciousness. There is value in what is new, for sure, but let’s not lose sight of traditional, common-sense values that have served the world of commerce well since … well, forever.

When I ventured into a sales career, my father’s advice was, “Always offer your customers quality, value for money and good service.” He was right—this mantra holds true in the workplace and beyond. Our company is a software developer in the IT Service Management sector and our clients usually hold us accountable on those terms. They don’t very often ask, “What are you doing about Devops, SIAM, ITIL 77.333?” or whether we have a pretentious mission statement.

Other values that clients ask us about are pretty traditional as well: security, stability, continuity and performance. These things are understandable, can be measured and that matter—which is why we switched to an IBM platform in the first place.

Our previous SaaS platform partner wasn’t providing value for money nor particularly good service, and wasn’t on the same page as we were in some other areas that were important to our clients and therefore, to us. Additionally, their idea of a “partnership” was for us to be a paying customer and a reseller of their services. IBM’s partnership has been different. It has been based on “What can IBM do for you and what can we do together that will enhance your business?” In truth, this was not what I was expecting from IBM, but it has been the case and consistently so, whoever we have met.

Partnering with IBM

Talking of which, winning new clients is critical to our business (and most others). This is usually a consequence of the new client experiencing something in their incumbent relationship to make them want to change partners. Of course, this can be costly and disruptive, especially if the new relationship doesn’t work out. Concluding that a change is required had best be made on the back of some firm facts and data. But informative, business-critical data can be hard to come by, can’t it? You wouldn’t want to base all business decisions on what you read in a “review” website, would you?

Sunrise client Castleton Technology plc provides Software and Managed Services to both public and not for profit sectors. Quoting their Professional Services Director:

“It’s quite simply much more of a business driver than a help deskpeople know what they’re accountable for and managers use the [Sunrise] system-generated information whether in sales, finance, contractsto tell us what needs to be actioned. It’s the lifeline giving key information on our client base across the business.”—Castleton Technology, plc

So, high-performing Castleton is making business decisions based on live, empirical data drawn from their operational and customer support environment, contributing to their high client retention rate. Regardless of which side of the line you are on—customer or supplier—good decisions are normally based on good data as well as sound judgment and strategy. Are you capturing the real-life data that you need on your customers to measure those old-school mantras such as quality, service and value for money?

Simply put, don’t give your customers reason to engage someone else and become their next “new-win announcement.” Because the right partner can make all the difference. You can let me know what you think by using the comments feature below.

Geoff Rees
Sales Director, Sunrise Software

Geoff Rees is Director for Business Services and Sales at Sunrise Software. Geoff has overall responsibility for all aspects of Sunrise that affect its customers, such as Product Development, Service Delivery, Customer Service and Support, and Sales & Marketing. 2017 is Geoff’s thirteenth year at Sunrise—he joined in 2004 as a Business Development Manager, having previously held a number of sales and sales management positions at larger organisations over the previous 20 years.

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