A typical IT technology purchase process for many companies begins by building a spreadsheet with a list of required features. The list consists of your understanding of both the features your current solution offers, along with the additional items you wish your current solution offered. It might also involve some level of begging the CFO and other company leaders for their input with mixed success.
For some organizations, this might more closely resemble an RFP (request for proposal) process with an enormous list of questions requiring an entire army of employees at each vendor to complete. Good luck getting a timely response.
The next step involves a Google search or perhaps a desperate plea to your LinkedIn network to find out the solutions others use. From there, time is spent pouring over feature lists, both on vendor sites along with popular technology review sites to figure out which vendor is the best fit. This can be incredibly frustrating because no vendor will ever post what they can’t do on their website, and there’s often inconsistent formatting or nomenclature across the industry for certain features. And they almost never share their pricing publicly.
Next comes demos with highly motivated salespeople. And while the aim during the conversation is to check off all of the items on the requirements list, the salespeople either don’t know answers to certain questions or are motivated by their sales quota rather than your success.
What a fruitless exercise this is, all too often leaving you to make an educated guess and hope for the best. And how often do you spend the next several months second-guessing your educated guess?
Purchasing through an IT solutions broker
As you may have suspected, there is indeed a better way to go about this process—and it all starts by partnering with an IT solutions broker like Agility Communications. True technology partners have relationships with all of the top vendors—not just one or two, creating a truly unbiased approach.
As opposed to direct reps or sales consultants, a Technology broker has technical design, implementation and support resources to truly partner with you on a project from start to finish. The partner also forges partnerships with dedicated teams at each provider so that you get double the technical support and expertise.
Keep the above definition in mind as I highlight the various steps for finding an IT solution with a trusted partner.
Step 1. Needs assessment
- What sales and support channels do you offer to customers? In order to find the best solution its important for us to understand how you do business with your customers.
- Is there any new technology you’ve seen that caught your eye? Maybe you’ve decided it’s time to move on from a premise based phone system to VoIP. You may also be interested in chatbots or virtual assistants you’ve seen on another company’s website. Or maybe you read an article about SD WAN and wondered if your business would benefit from it. Agility has experience and top vendors for all of those technologies.
- What metrics are critical to your success? We don’t want to just sell you a bunch of bells and whistles. We want to understand what success looks like from your point of view as our starting point to ensure we deliver the solution you’ll love.
- What are your security requirements? Think PCI Compliance, HIPAA, SOC 2, single sign-on, two-factor authentication and more. We will help you with all of those.
Your answers to questions like these will help us design a solution that perfectly aligns with your needs. Those answers can also be an invaluable resource for understanding industry best practices to ensure that you’re considering the right options.
Step 2. Identifying Best-Fit Vendors
- Based on your needs and requirements, and our understanding of what’s possible in the market, we will introduce you to a handful of vendors that make the best sense. Keep in mind that we have implemented many of these solutions with other clients recently. A salesperson, on the other hand, may know their own solution fairly well, but they will rely on hearsay and oft out-of-date competitive intelligence for their understanding of the market.
Step 3. Negotiate Price
- Partnerships and pricing with all vendors Because we have relationships with all the top vendors we have access to up to the minute market pricing which can be a valuable asset in negotiating rates.
- Vested in your long term success When selecting vendor solutions to solve your business needs, we work with vendors we know can support you. You actually pay the technology vendor directly, and then we are compensated by the vendor on a monthly basis for as long as you remain a customer. This means that we have a vested interest in your long-term success and have no problem helping you move to a new vendor should the need arise.
Step 4. Implementation and Ongoing Support
- You are signed up, and now it’s time to implement the service. Remember that we as your technology partner have a vested interest in your long-term success, so if were not aren’t happy unless you’re happy. This means that we are your partner through the entire implementation process and beyond.
- Should the need arise for ongoing support You could reach out directly to the vendor, but good luck getting their attention as a 20-seat customer when the vendor is focusing much of their support and development energy keeping their 1,000-seat customers happy. As your technology partner, on the other hand, can reach out on your behalf and, by sheer volume of deals we do with these vendors, we will secure the care and attention of a 1,000-seat customer on you’re behalf.
Change your analog buying experience from Analog to Digital
As you consider two contrasting technology buying experiences, it’s important to point out that what we’re witnessing here is a true transformation and shift from analog to digital.
Consider the RFP or talking to 10 different direct sales reps mentioned earlier and the spreadsheet. That’s a truly analog, and painful, endeavor.
Instead, we recommend using the digital tools and partnerships that technology partners like Agility have, allowing you to enjoy this new digital purchasing process. And don’t be surprised if partnering with us boosts your customer experience, fueling a digital transformation by bringing together unified communication, improved data connectivity, reporting, analytics and more.