Solution Providers Should Use the Technology They Tout
When it comes to optimizing their businesses using IT, a lot of solution providers act like the proverbial cobblers' children. They are all for customers using IT to improve their top and bottom lines using IT. But when it comes to using IT themselves to do the very same things, many solution providers are often at a loss.
Two notable exceptions are Forza Technology Solutions and Compugen. In the case of Forza, rather than simply running the Connectwise professional services automation (PSA) software as is out of the box, Forza CEO Joe Pannone had his team construct a business intelligence application that sits on top of Connectwise.
That application is not just something that the executive management team intermittently consults. Pannone set up a high display in the office that enable everyone in the organization to continuously see that status of individual accounts, including everything from service issues to pending projects.
Pannone said that the BI application that the company developed enables Forza Technology to automate the service dispatch process in a way that makes the organization more efficient and ultimately profitable.
Forza is now looking to commercialize that offering in a way that will allow other solution providers to make use of it, Pannone said.
Meanwhile, Compugen CEO Harry Zarek says his company combined analytics reports created on the Vartopia deal registration network and Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution to drive an analytic application to continuously audit the state of the business and better manage the vendor channel programs it participates in.
That analytics application makes it easier for Compugen to identify gaps between the deals it registers with vendors and actual deal closures, Zarek said. In the end, he expects to be able to increase his company's win rate for registered deals by as much as 20 to 35 percent.
The application helps Compugen create a more professional sales organization that leads to increased customer renewals, more rebates for the company and greater access to market development funds, Zarek said.
In different ways, Forza and Compugen are applying analytics to better manage their businesses. Rather than relying on a gut feel, analytics allows both organizations to make better decisions that ultimately optimize the profitability of their business.
When you get right down to it, there may be no substitute for channel experience. But supplementing all that experience with some real data creates a combination that simply can't be beat.
Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.