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In this Channel Insider’s Partner POV, host Katie Bavoso chats with Craig Diggs, the IT director of Fresh Thyme Market, and Munu Gandhi, the CEO of ITsavvy, about their successful partnership and the key takeaways from their collaboration.

The conversation delves into the application of IT strategies in business and the strategic partnership between Fresh Thyme Markets and ITsavvy, exploring why Diggs chose ITsavvy and their impact on Fresh Thyme’s operations.

Fresh Thyme Markets: A blend of tradition and innovation

Diggs introduces Fresh Thyme Markets, a chain known for blending traditional farmers’ markets with modern retail offerings. Fresh Thyme is a traditional farmers market, but with the addition of high-tech infrastructure to enhance the customer experience.

Fresh Thyme Markets employs the unique strategy of combining traditional elements with technology to create a distinctive customer experience.

The lesson here is twofold:

  • Understand and emphasize your core brand identity. For Fresh Thyme, this means focusing on their traditional farmers market appeal with local, fresh products to build trust and loyalty.
  • Embrace technology to improve efficiency and customer experience. Combining traditional appeal with modern advancements can create a unique market position that resonates with customers.

Listen to Part 1 of the podcast:

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Building partnerships and choosing ITsavvy

When Diggs joined Fresh Thyme, he sought to revamp the company’s technology approach. He held a planning session to outline a new technology division’s goals and challenges. Diggs realized the existing IT partner relationship had deteriorated, emphasizing the need for a new, dynamic partner. This led him to ITsavvy through a recommendation from a trusted colleague.

Diggs describes the initial engagement with ITsavvy as diving in “headfirst.” ITsavvy’s team conducted a comprehensive review of Fresh Thyme’s technological needs. This approach impressed Diggs and his team, as ITsavvy provided multiple solution options tailored to Fresh Thyme’s specific challenges and objectives.

As a business leader, you must recognize when your current partnerships and systems are no longer serving your organization’s best interests. When an existing relationship deteriorates, it can hinder your progress and operational effectiveness. A fresh perspective and new partnership can bring innovative solutions and renewed energy to address your specific needs.

The ITsavvy approach

Gandhi highlights a key differentiator for ITsavvy: many of their leaders, including himself, have extensive experience on the client side of IT. This background allows them to empathize deeply with their client’s challenges and goals. When approached by Fresh Thyme, ITsavvy brought in their top experts and spent considerable time understanding the company’s vision and pain points.

One of the first significant projects was overhauling Fresh Thyme’s network infrastructure with Juniper Networks, which ITsavvy facilitated. This project involves upgrading everything from SD-WAN solutions to access points, significantly improving the network’s capacity and performance.

 “They came to us with several options and helped us make an educated decision,” Diggs remarked, pointing to the importance of vendor-agnostic advice and thorough option evaluation.

Similarly, ITsavvy introduced Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s GreenLake solution for server infrastructure. Again, ITsavvy presented various options, helping Fresh Thyme make an informed decision that aligned with their long-term goals.

Transparent customer experience

In the second part of the conversation, Gandhi and Diggs emphasize the value of partnerships built on transparent communication, mutual understanding, and a shared commitment to achieving business outcomes. They stress the need for IT partners to act as trusted advisors, offering solutions, guidance, and support through challenges.

Listen to Part 2 of the podcast:

Watch the Part 2 video:

Seamless technology integration at Fresh Thyme Market

Diggs highlights the importance of maintaining Fresh Thyme Market’s natural, farmer’s market environment while seamlessly integrating technology. The provision of open, free, and easily accessible Wi-Fi has enhanced the customer experience without being intrusive. Diggs underscores the balance between incorporating technology and maintaining a personalized shopping experience. Technology integration should enhance, not detract from, the customer experience.

The challenges of finding reliable IT partners

Gandhi shares his past experiences from the client side, noting the numerous challenges IT leaders face, from aligning teams to managing financial constraints. According to Gandhi, many partners claim to support but often fail to deliver sustained assistance beyond the initial deal. He stresses the importance of partners understanding the client’s business strategy, technology goals, and objectives.

Additionally, Diggs emphasizes that CIOs and IT leads should prioritize open, transparent communication when choosing a partner. According to Diggs, it’s crucial to find a partner who is willing to candidly discuss ideas, offer honest feedback, and provide unwavering support throughout the process.

He highlights his experience with IT Savvy, where he could rely on immediate and dedicated assistance from various team members, underscoring the importance of having partners who are ready to collaborate transparently and effectively.

The recovery paradox: Managing failures together

Gandhi introduced the concept of the “recovery paradox,” where the response to failures can strengthen the client-provider relationship. He explains that during significant transformations, failures are inevitable, but how the service provider responds and resolves issues is crucial.

Diggs highlights the need for partners who act as trusted advisors and are willing to navigate challenges alongside the client. Gandhi echoes Digg’s sentiments, stressing the importance of partners willing to run into the fire alongside their clients when challenges arise.

Key takeaways

The partnership between Fresh Thyme Market and ITsavvy highlights the importance of transparent communication, understanding client needs, and providing reliable support. Diggs’s positive experience with ITsavvy is a testament to the value of choosing the right channel partner for your businesses.

Watch or listen to the video or podcast above for valuable insights from Katie Bavoso, Craig Diggs, IT Director at Fresh Thyme, and Munu Gandhi, CEO of ITsavvy. Make sure to like and subscribe for future interviews with solution providers and industry leaders, along with special episodes and opportunities!

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