Held accountable

By Channel Insider Staff  |  Print this article Print

Return-on-investment calculations may have been more about marketing than substance in the past, but increasingly customers want solution providers to produce provable numbers.

To make ROI matter, more and more customers want solution providers to take responsibility for results. Some customers are even asking providers to agree to take a hit to their pocketbooks if proposed ROI goals aren’t met.

"Customers own the ROI conversation," said Bobby Grisham, chief sales officer at Electronic Data Systems. "Some are more confident that they can measure and hold partners accountable for results."

However, as relationships become more established and one project grows on top of another, this long-term measurement gets harder to perform, especially in large organizations.

"These customers sell divisions, bring in new leadership, launch new projects, take work in-house [and] give us more scope, so that at the end of three years into a relationship, it is rare that we can point back to … exactly where we were and where we are now and then connect those dots," Ingram Micro’s Fago said. The conversation then turns to an annual review process to measure the relationship, he added.

Some solution providers add tools to provide visibility into results. For example, MasterIT requires each customer to engage in monthly wellness updates and an annual review. The results can surprise the customer: A commercial real estate company found it had saved 25 percent on IT expenses, while an independent insurance agency realized 11 percent in hard-dollar savings, MasterIT’s Drake said.


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