[IMGCAP(1)]If you are like most value added resellers out there today, you have become familiar with declining product margins, costly new customer acquisition, and a challenging economic climate mixed in with competitors driving prices down to buy market share. So how do you differentiate while maintaining your business? One way we were able to do this was through focusing on business intelligence.
Our decision to focus on business intelligence was driven by our client’s needs. Recognizing the opportunity enabled us to offer a new service that was already in demand and would deliver the highest value to them.
Having business intelligence as a new service area enabled our firm to stay above the commoditization fray. It helps us frame a stronger value proposition to our prospects and customers. Firms that continue to add sustainable long-term value will differentiate themselves.
Clients are still being challenged by the current economic climate as many companies have reduced their workforce in order to remain leaner and more competitive. However, productivity is expected to increase or at least remain at the same levels.
In this demanding landscape, management needs reporting tools that help them strategize for the challenges that lie ahead. They also need on-going feedback to determine if their strategies are on target to meet operational objectives. The problem is that most business data lacks the type of structure that would enables management to make such informed choices.
BI provides management greater visibility and transparency about their business. As a result, this helps them make better and faster decisions. Enabling decision makers to analyze their operations, and view data from various sources provides greater insight to their customers and in some cases, their customer’s customer.
The process of moving into a new business area like BI can take months of education through newsletter articles, presentations and blog posts. It also requires that your professional service team acquire these new skills or that you add new team members in order to make this transition a success.
Reinventing your firm by extending core offerings and marketing these new services to customers is difficult, especially for the existing client base as they may not perceive your firm as an expert in your new offering.
But no matter how challenging the business environment becomes, we can always embrace those who have met and exceeded the challenges in the past like Thomas Edison, who said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in adversity and looks like hard work.”
Manny Buigas is a CPA and founding partner of Axis Global Partners, a top technology consultancy and channel partner for Sage North America and NetSuite. He also chairs the Information Technology Alliance’s marketing committee and the Southern Florida Minority Supplier Development Council committee.