I got so frustrated hearing about people’s poor sales and service experience with their incumbent IT service providers, that I felt compelled to team up with my marketing department and write my first blog.
As an IT leader, no doubt all you want to know is that you can provide reliable, flexible services that offer great value to your organisation. Allowing your people to do more meaningful things with their time means IT is seen as a true business enabler.
I recently read an article from McKinsey which found that a staggering 70 per cent of IT change programmes fail to achieve their goals. I began to think about ONI’s customers who, I’ll boldy claim, experience a far better success rate. And it’s the ONI engagement method that helps to achieve these improved outcomes.
Transformation is typically a 3–5 year journey which must have a clear destination: key business objectives. Are you aiming to reduce your total cost of ownership? Increase services and business agility? Enhance the internal and external customer experience? Or maybe all of these?
Once you know where you’re heading, you’ll need an IT partner that’s able to support you all the way. Our tried-and-tested approach to business transformation involves six stages, each requiring specific expertise. Before signing up with a partner, ask for tangible evidence that they can deliver all of these stages:
In a world of constant change look for a partner who can advise on how new and evolving technologies could benefit your organisation. This not only requires skills and knowledge in all the latest IT developments, but also an in-depth understanding of your operating environment, your business objectives and the future direction and strategy your organisation wishes to pursue.
Check that a partner’s audit capabilities cover the required areas of need. A comprehensive report should analyse your status today and recommend how to maximise availability and performance, address security issues and develop a clear roadmap for the future. It should also understand investments you’ve already made and look to reuse as much of this as possible, to offer you best value and not just rip and replace.
I find that most customers require something specific to achieve their goals. Be it critical application integration or flexible service requirements, too often I see service providers ‘shoe horn’ their off-the-shelf solutions that don’t quite fit, as that’s all they have to offer.
I therefore believe it’s important to find a partner with the capability to offer a more flexible and tailored approach, with in-house expertise to design a solution that’s right for your organisation. It’s also important to work with providers that can offer multiple delivery models. Yes, Cloud can offer great benefits, but often a hybrid or staged approach can be a more cost-effective and risk-averse strategy. So ensure they can deliver in multiple ways – Cloud, on-premise and hybrid – to offer you the solution that’s right for you, not them.
Complex deployment of business-critical technology needs professional management from start to finish. Talk to project managers, delivery engineers – not just the sales representatives – and ask if they’re qualified in methodologies such as MSP (Managing Successful Programmes) and PRINCE2, and have the right experience to deliver for you.
The right people, with the right expertise, using proven methodologies will ensure your project is delivered on time, within budget and, most importantly, achieves your required business objectives. Finally, talk to their customers, look for providers who can demonstrate long-term customer relationships, as this is often a great indicator of successful business outcomes.
Ask for reassurance that once the new solution is live, your partner won’t walk away but will stick with you to deliver a true end-to-end service. Choose a partner committed to ongoing regular reviews, including gathering service/experience feedback. Technical reviews will show if everything is working optimally and being used to its full potential. Look at how they manage continuous improvement and if they are willing to offer terms and conditions that offer comprehensive service levels backed with meaningful service credits.
Regular structured business reviews with your Account Management team will also demonstrate a desire to come with you on your journey and continually improve the solution and investment you’ve made.
How will you ensure your IT infrastructure continues to keep critical applications running and your business operational and profitable? We take a proactive approach to monitoring and analysing systems. According to ONI’s customers, ‘The sign of a good partner is that we don’t have to keep calling you, because potential issues are identified and fixed before they cause a problem.’
As I always say, I don’t profess to have all the answers, but hopefully this gives you some food for thought. It would be great to hear your views – watch this space for my next blog!
About the author:
As Sales Director for ONI, Phil is responsible for client relationships and business development across the organisation. He joined the company in 2008 and leads a dedicated team of vertically-aligned sales professionals who are experts in their chosen fields.
Phil has almost three decades of experience in the IT industry, where he has held a variety of senior sales and sales management roles. He spent 16 years at BT and was Group Sales Manager for the BT indirect partner business before joining ONI.