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The Automation Game - How partners can boost internal processes

The Automation Game - How partners can boost internal processes

As the front-line operates in a rapidly changing market, partners remained challenged by manual processes and legacy systems clogging up time and resources

L-R - Barry Assaf (Nexon); Mike Morgan (Insight); Jim Stockwell (iasset.com); Eoin Coghlan (CCNA); Josh Watts (Harbour IT); Andy Hurt (NEC); Scott Frew (iasset.com); Dan Danielli (Arrow); Ronnie Altit (Insentra); James Henderson (ARN); Lucy Knowles (iasset.com); Nick Russell (Katana1); Cam Wayland (Channel Dynamics) and Richard Mitton (Atlas Plato)

L-R - Barry Assaf (Nexon); Mike Morgan (Insight); Jim Stockwell (iasset.com); Eoin Coghlan (CCNA); Josh Watts (Harbour IT); Andy Hurt (NEC); Scott Frew (iasset.com); Dan Danielli (Arrow); Ronnie Altit (Insentra); James Henderson (ARN); Lucy Knowles (iasset.com); Nick Russell (Katana1); Cam Wayland (Channel Dynamics) and Richard Mitton (Atlas Plato)

“We could never impact the price of a sale because manufacturers or general market dynamics dictate that,” explained Frew, who spearheads a team with over 70 years of combined channel experience.

“The only way to make more money out of a sale was to drive costs down and improve efficiencies.”

According to Frew, the strength of the platform lies in the automation of a renewals process, backed up by the ability to build accurate installed base information to drive greater efficiencies across the organisation.

“Efficiency is a core value of our business,” Insentra CEO, Ronnie Altit, observed. “As a services business, you can’t increase your rates in the same way that you increase your salaries so everything comes down to efficiencies.

“But the challenge the channel faces is the ‘we’ve always done it that way’ mentality. It’s an industry problem and finding a pain point that is so significant is key, because that is what will trigger a change.

“You can’t sell a solution to someone if they don’t believe they have a problem yet improving partner efficiencies is crucial.”

Echoing Altit’s assessment of the industry, iasset.com vice president of sales, Jim Stockwell, recognised that deeper levels of awareness are necessary to articulate the benefits of pursuing automated internal strategies.

“Everyone encounters the same problem but getting the message to resonate is key,” he explained. “There’s certainly a willingness to adopt an engine such as iasset.com but before we reach this stage, it’s staggering how little a managing director or CEO knows about this aspect of their business.

“The consequences of not renewing result in a lack of customer satisfaction and lost opportunities to drive revenue growth. But automation is in place to address those problems.”

James Henderson (ARN) and Barry Assaf (Nexon)
James Henderson (ARN) and Barry Assaf (Nexon)

Operating as a specialist network integrator across Australia, Matrix CNI has been in business for more than 15 years, with customers across education, health, government and enterprise organisations.

Since 2017, the provider has started taking on support functions internally, sparking a discussion around the added value of automation.

“We’re not selling TVs here,” Saupin said. “Our customers expect us to tell them when their service has expired and advise them to buy more - that is our role and our responsibility now we have brought our service capabilities in-house.

“Because if something goes wrong then guess what? It’s all on you as the provider. This has triggered deeper discussions around how we better service our existing customer base.”

From a supply chain perspective, iasset.com also allows distributors to take control of valuable data via a single platform, in a bid to boost revenues by proactively processing renewals.

“Business leaders are guilty of spending more time doing as opposed to thinking,” Arrow ECS ANZ general manager of sales, Daniel Danielli, added. “In distribution, data provided through the iasset.com platform offered actionable intelligence for our business.

“The engine goes so deep into the data on a daily basis which helps us cut through the numbers to provide more value back to the channel.”

Opportunities

In holding the front-line position, facing the customer on a daily basis, partners play a critical role in supporting the deployment and upkeep or new technologies and services.

Jim Stockwell (iasset.com)
Jim Stockwell (iasset.com)

Coupled with ensuring IT environments are both compliant and secure, the tangled web of assets continues to expand as product lifecycles across hardware and software stack up, while cloud assets explode.

“The complexity of managing an IT environment is growing not shrinking,” Frew observed. “Partners have thousands of assets to manage and struggle to ensure each and every one is compliant and secure for their organisations.”

During nine years of operations, iasset.com has evolved from being a small application custom built for the needs of one company, to housing a dedicated team of software developers supporting multiple customers across the global technology channel.

Targeting partners, vendors and distributors, the cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform has also been built to manage hardware and software maintenance renewals, alongside cloud consumption contracts.

With 2018 now underway, Frew said the engine can help partners grow transaction values and sustain customer engagement, in addition to implementing win-back campaigns and keeping customers compliant.

“Partners are not isolated islands,” Frew explained. “This is an ecosystem with upstream and downstream suppliers and everyone is in this together.

“The more you embrace the iasset. com engine, the greater competitive advantage partners can have in the market.

“Every business owner should spend some time in the day stepping outside to look back into the business. You’re building a product and that product is your company, so what are you going to do to make that product growth faster and become more successful?

“It’s very easy to get dragged into the business, it happens to everyone, but it’s important to take a step out. When you remove yourself and look back into the business, that’s when you kick-start the innovation process.”

This roundtable was sponsored by iasset.com. Photos by Christine Wong.


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