How the right Services provider helps you get to the finish line, fast.

As summer comes to a close, it’s time to get back to business. Fall brings a fresh opportunity to focus on what needs to be done and to make action plans for the last quarter of the year. This is especially relevant within the fast-paced and frequently evolving IT industry. New technologies are constantly being introduced and adapted into various business environments, so advanced planning and support is crucial.

The Services business plays a pivotal role in guiding the adaptation of the changing technology landscape. The resources, knowledge and expertise Services offers helps organizations consider the most efficient ways to deploy and optimize technologies within unique environments. To discuss how the right Services provider has a profound impact on organizations, the Advisor sat down with Softchoice’s Senior Vice President of Services, Paul Khawaja.

What are some common IT challenges that organizations will face over the next few years?

One of the transformational developments right now in IT is of course cloud computing. Many of our clients have some type of a cloud-based solution, but they also have proprietary self-hosted solutions to run their business. I believe integration of these applications is going to be critical. For example, how do you make sure a sales management provider and your sales reports are effectively connecting into your ERP or into your manufacturing system? You’re likely going to need consultants to come in and work with your IT organization to develop a road map. And when they do, they need to be able to address questions like “How do I work with those solutions in order to integrate them”, and “what is a reasonable timeline for me to integrate those solutions”?

What should organizations consider before choosing a potential Services partner?

First and foremost, organizations should only consider potential Services providers that offer end-to-end solutions. Organizations now recognize they need to shift their mindset from “I want to build proprietary solutions” to “I want to work with widely available IT assets” – and a responsible Services provider will help them make informed choices as they adapt their thinking. Lastly, knowledge and depth are paramount. Services providers need to know your business. They need to know what you’re talking about – and they need to care about it almost as much as you do.

Services engagements can be large and complex. What advice do you give to organizations looking to ensure their projects run smoothly?

Project management expertise is crucial for any Services engagement – and clearly defining goals and budgets is how we like to start. We also encourage clients to take their time and calculate a Return on Investment. At the end of the day, when you roll out a project, it’s about successful business solutions and business yield. It’s about how you can increase your productivity, increase revenue and improve service to your clients. So, when looking at a potential Services partner, you need to evaluate whether they are also as interested in the well-being of your business as you are.

Given your extensive background, what do you consider to be the most important value that a Services partner provides?

It’s all about trust. I cannot stress enough how important trust is to the success of a project. For example, we worked with one of our major clients that had about 1,100 virtual servers and 198 physical servers. We worked with them in order to optimize their entire operation. We consolidated 198 physical servers down to eight servers. The client trusted our recommendations and expertise along the way, and in doing so we were also able to save them over $6 million in maintenance fees. In all, a Services provider should have the depth, expertise and a solid record of delivery to help build that trust and meet a client’s needs.

How is Softchoice growing our Services capabilities to support customers?

We’re focusing on solutions that span three key areas; cost reductions, optimization/production and client retention. We want to be known as thought leaders in the marketplace, and in order to do that, we need to be able to look at our clients’ environments and educate them on how they can optimize how they’re running their business. Technology is not a ‘nice to have’ anymore; it’s a key part of every critical operation in the business environment. It can also be a large financial investment, and requires rigorous support. We provide that support, and will always deliver on our commitment to our clients.

 

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About Joel Marans

Joel leads our Digital Marketing efforts at Softchoice.