Businesses, by nature, work in a risky environment. This is especially true in today’s world, where innovations and new developments can spring up from any corner of the world, throwing up a well-established business process into chaos. Digital disruption is well underway. Naturally, businesses try to hedge themselves from this risk in multiple ways. Establishing a formal and relatively rigid business process that protects and grows an ongoing revenue stream is one of them. Here, “relatively rigid” is important because, if the process faces a threat of some kind, the business gets some time to rise up to the challenge. This can be done in the most efficient way through a Disciplined Renewal Management System that is continuously managed, reviewed and refined. This detailed approach to process management has been proven over and again by the resellers who are RAY ALLEN customers. Such a system comes with a host of benefits.
1. Reduced Risk
A Disciplined Renewal Management System has many advantages. Perhaps the most important one for a reseller is the reduced operational risk. They have more accurate data on the current and future requirements of their clients, and thus can make investments in accordance with that information.
Having incorrect data is a major inhibitor for incident, problem and change management processes. Examples of these are incorrect serial numbers, location addresses and service levels.
2. Reduced Cost and Increased Annuity Business
As the resellers have the exact information on how much of the product/service is required, there will be less room for unnecessary spending. A disciplined renewal system ensures that the production capacity can be optimized. So, there is no loss due to diminished capacity or due to excessive production. This will automatically result in reducing the cost of operations and improving profits.
Resellers with well managed renewal processes will be able to invest in areas of need and continuously reduce costs over time as more efficiency is introduced.
Consequently, resellers will grow their annuity business through a greater asset tracking capability and proactive customer engagement through managed services that better match customer needs.
3. Greater Service Quality and Renewal Rates
A disciplined renewal system brings better renewal rates to resellers. In return for this assured business opportunity, the reseller can boldly invest towards improving their service offerings. This can be in terms of research and development, investment in new and improved XaaS offerings, or something else that can improve service quality. In essence, this results in better quality Managed Services products, leading to a virtuous cycle for both the resellers and their clients.
Putting this another way, instead of maintenance contracts being seen by a customer as a cost of dubious quality, it is seen rather as a necessary component of IT delivery that helps achieve real business outcomes.
4. Product Refresh Opportunities
With time, the sales figures can potentially stagnate. Even when they don’t, there are always opportunities to repurpose, rebrand, and reposition a solution. Such product refresh opportunities have to be carefully scheduled and properly handled for a reseller to maximize the returns on their investment.
Product refresh management combined with excellent service management is key to creating a lifecycle management environment that allows a customer to align its IT infrastructure with its business goals.
Lifecycle asset management is a critical mechanism to ensure value for money on hardware and software. Asset costs such as depreciation and service costs need to be monitored over time so that tipping points are understood in advance as to when it is time to reevaluate the assets’ value compared to new alternatives.
5. Customer Loyalty
Under a disciplined renewals process, clients have one (huge) less thing to worry about. When the reseller delivers on the commitments impeccably, powerful trust bonds are forged. In most businesses, these relationships are arguably even more valuable than the cost factor.
There is no doubt that the benefits of the Disciplined Renewal Management System are many, both in the short term as well as long term. However, to realize those benefits, the system has to be properly implemented to be effective.
Improved Renewal Rates
There should be a single source of truth between all parties involved – resellers, multiple OEMs, and the end customer. This ensures that there is no confusion at any point in the supply chain. There should be one source of information such as serial numbers, site addresses, obsolete device identification, and so on. This way, all the parties can access relevant information with great ease, reducing any confusion.
Owning this single source of truth is integral to the reseller being a trusted advisor for its customer base.
Cost Reduction Through Efficiency
To ensure that the renewal process brings about the intended results, the OEM, reseller and customer should agree on mutually beneficial terms. Agreeing on a minimum number of renewals per year is crucial. Multi-year terms are even better. Further, the reseller should receive early warning of contract expiration. This is beneficial for both the OEM as well as the reseller. If the reseller enjoys a strong bond of trust with the OEM, then there can be a leeway for getting rid of various “checks”, whenever possible, to make the process more efficient.
One of the tangible benefits of the renewals process is the birth of new opportunities such as for product refresh, advanced services and so on. These opportunities should be integrated with the renewals process seamlessly to achieve the best outcomes.
Also, a highly disciplined renewals process enables the supply chain to strategize better by taking into account the reseller’s pricing structure. The OEMs and resellers can implement a renewals process that ensures best costs, efficient renewals, seamless procurement, and optimum quality.
Operational Risk Reduction Through Better Service Level Management
Continuous monitoring of the end customer touch points for the presence of pain points is important. For instance, incorrect site addresses, obsolete device support, and incorrect service levels can leave the customer with a bad experience. What is bad for the end customer is bad for OEMs, which, in turn, is bad for the resellers. Further, it is important to escalate certain situations and go beyond the mandate of the process. For instance, a critical device may have been assigned a higher service level so that the dependent processes are not jeopardized. This is a sure way to win customer loyalty.
Use Synergistic Approach to Generate Opportunities
Product renewals can be closely monitored to devise product refresh strategies. Share information regarding price increases with the OEMs, so that they can suitably plan the renewals. Having a clear view of asset lifecycle and expirations, and sharing it with the OEMs is a great way of showing them how they can achieve greater cost reductions.
Winning Customer Loyalty
Not having to ask the customer what assets they have is crucial to a reseller’s credibility when looking to upsell services. Customers love personalized services. A tight renewal process that is integrated with overall lifecycle asset management will result in increased customer loyalty.
The knowledge of customer assets makes the renewal process faster, and more accurate. There is less risk of non-availability of spares, or late delivery of spares, resulting in better customer satisfaction. Conscious SLA management, and greater alignments of infrastructure and business goals.
High touch Renewals Management is more than just a transaction opportunity. It should be seen in the broader contexts of customer’s asset base, and business process optimization. A steady requirement for products from OEMs also creates a steady requirement for maintenance renewals. This is an entirely new source of revenue from the existing clients. Similarly, by automating the renewals for the next few months, the OEMs and resellers both benefit from the improvement in efficiency derived from doing away with the redundant processes in procurement. This leads to better customer satisfaction, which leads to more revenue from existing clients. Together, these two benefits will greatly optimize the non-value adding processes, such as sales, and delivery.
RAY ALLEN are specialists in providing high technology, high touch renewal management. The depth of our engagement with our resellers is unprecedented. It is directly responsible for both the growth in annuity business and the reduction in costs seen by our reseller customer base.
Come and talk to us at Ray Allen about how we can help with your overall Lifecycle IT Asset Management.
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