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How to Obtain a Competitive Edge by Outsourcing IT Services

December 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm PST

Learn how Proserv gained a competitive advantage from outsourcing IT Services and watch how amazing things happen by connecting people, process, data and things.

Last month, I had the opportunity to visit Proserv Property Services, a customer of Clark Integrated Technologies based in Aberdeen, Scotland, who recently implemented a Cisco Unified Communications solution designed for small business. From the moment that I arrived in town, I had a feeling that the trip was going to be an eye-opening experience. First of all, the weather condition was just a drastic change especially coming from California. Quickly, I had to adjust to the freezing temperature in Aberdeen and some light rain during the entire trip.

I  pre-arranged a meeting to visit ProServ early the next morning so I could learn more about their business and the reasons why they’ve become so  successful. I also wanted to know more about their day-to-day operations, their challenges and how they are using technology to serve their customer better. Walking into ProServ was like a breath of fresh air. I quickly understood where their true success lies… which I’ll come back to it as I wrap up this blog.

As planned, I was greeted by Morgan Cooper of Proserv and members of her team who were all eager to discuss their experience using Cisco technology. They shared how it helps them to be more productive such as- rerouting their calls directly to the technicians on the road– a process that used to take multiple steps to complete. Now, the calls are automatically sent to the technicians on the road informing them of their next customer visit. All of this was great for me to observe because being at the customer site offered me some perspective that is usually hard to grasp otherwise.

Next, I met with Austen Clark, Sales Director at Clark Integrated Technologies – a very successful IT solution provider who is a Cisco Select Partner. Austen and I started working together earlier in the year so it was nice to finally meet him in person. He quickly reinforced the benefits Proserv is gaining as a result of the new IT network. Additionally he explained how Cisco OnPlus allows him to monitor the devices on the network proactively and alerts the client of any issues before they affect the business. Again, a plus for me to aborb this in the real customer environment! Obviously, Austen is a great business partner of Cisco.

As if this wasn’t enough, Morgan arranged for me to visit one of their clients, David Lloyd Gym & Tennis Club. What an amazing club! Top notch facilities, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, studio, gym, state of the art cafeteria and best of all, Ross, the Managing Director, extended us such a warm welcome. He shared that when businesses like ProServ and Lloyd, that are focused on serving their customers, implement IT solutions that helps them provide an efficient and reliable service, it becomes a win-win situation for everyone.  

Now, I’ll come back with my conclusion on what I think makes Proserv stand out from their competition. Of course, choosing the right IT solution provider who can give them  the best advice on the technology they need to meet the business challenges- is always a plus.  But in my opinion, their true success lies in the quality of the service they provide, their  management, having a proactive mindset and most importantly the people who work at Proserv–they truly are all super stars!

Check it out for yourself. Watch and enjoy the video! And don’t forget to share it with others too!

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8 factors to consider when moving offices

A technology checklist for determining whether prospective office space will meet your needs

Relocating to a new office presents an exciting chance to enhance your small business. An office with robust technology infrastructure and capabilities can boost employee productivity and quality of life, minimize your move-in and set-up costs, and create an opportunity to leverage new technologies. Every business has its own unique needs and priorities, but a technology checklist can help you find the office that’s right for you.

Here are eight factors to consider when vetting office space: Read More »

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Has Your Company Outgrown Your “IT Guy”

By Ken Presti, Contributing Columnist

It starts with a nagging suspicion that things aren’t in synch, and kind of grows from there.  Symptoms include long response times, an inability to scale, and sometimes just an all-out failure to keep things working.  At one time or another, every company faces the question of whether they have outgrown their IT guy.

The causes can be many, but typically fall into one of two buckets.  The most obvious one is the inability of said IT guy to keep up with the changes of the industry and grow with the job.  In these situations, the answer may be as simple as getting some additional training, as opposed to looking for someone new.  But very often, it’s far more complicated than that.  In some ways, Moore’s Law has now been applied to human resources.  Managers are expected to get more from the people they’ve got, and next quarter they are expected to get more still.  And if you think that’s bad, just wait til the quarter after that.  So very often, it is not a lack of ability or a lack of willingness on the part of the employee, it is simply a matter of trying to get too much done with too few bodies.

When faced with such difficulties with your IT support, there are a couple of different ways you can go.  The least advisable option is to keep bumping along with the situation you’ve got, due to the budget requirements at hand. Unfortunately, a lot of companies go this route, and they do so at substantial risk. The best choice, of course, is heavily dependent upon how much wiggle room there might be for that line item.  For example, you may be able to bring someone onto the team, either as a full-time employee, a part-time employee, or a contractor of some type.  In many cases, you may find channel partners in your area who are ready, willing, and able to either meet your IT needs, or at least add additional resources to the equation without increasing your headcount.

But the important part is that management recognizes the critical role that IT plays in the organization, and is willing to provide the extra support, and least as a defensive maneuver to help protect the company’s ability to deliver on business-level objectives.  In this situation, it may be necessary to make some pretty difficult choices.  But assuming that IT is mission-critical to the company, making such a choice is critical to the bottom line.

The good thing about working with a channel partner is that you can usually find some level of supplementary service that suit’s your company’s budget, whatever that might be. And sometimes the effects of just a little bit of help can far exceed the incremental cost.

Thus, with a little bit of planning, and a little bit of flexibility, you can bring a higher degree of IT efficiency, and oftentimes accomplish that goal while leaving your primary team intact.

Ken Presti has extensive experience in channel program analysis and development.  He is the founder of Presti Research.  His company  focuses on channel and go-to-market programs and strategies in order to help our clients build successful and profitable partnerships with compatible companies.

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People Plus Technology Equals Superior Customer Service

There’s a great ad out right now for an online insurance company. The tagline is “Technology when you want it, people when you don’t.” I like this tagline, because it captures the conundrum most folks face when they need customer service: people or technology? This company’s answer is: both.

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