I want to increase customer focus for my Channel Provider business but I’m fighting internal process issues

“I need my business to focus more on increasing customer value but some of my processes let me down.  How do I fix it without a major restructure?”

Is this a common thought as you ponder how to increase recurring revenue through a  more services-focused business model?

The IT Channel is a highly competitive market and with the rapid change in consumption models, channel providers need to differentiate themselves and move up the managed services value chain.  This position is difficult to attain when the channel provider is spending too much time on complex IT procurement, contract and operational process issues related to deficiencies in how IT assets are managed.

Changes and Challenges

Many channel providers that I speak to spend too much time trying to make inefficient processes work when managing their customer IT assets.  The more this happens the more internally focused a channel provider will be rather than focusing on customer value.  These IT asset processes are more than likely inefficient because they are manual by nature and the data is not representative of the true state of the IT asset data.

A common cause of incorrect data is disparate sources of IT asset data.  For example, the SAP Billing system may have a different view of the quantities, locations and service levels for IT assets than the ServiceNow Service Management system.  The IT asset data is entered manually into these systems and over time the data quality degrades further as changes are not always updated promptly in both systems.

Changes as a result of RMAs (Return Merchandise Authorisations) are a very common generator of data quality issues because quite often the asset details are not updated to reflect a new serial number, which can cause problems for future service entitlement with the vendor.

Channel providers need to manage a high volume of MACD events (Moves/Adds/Changes/Deletes) and they need to make these changes into their vendors’ partner facing systems.  An example of this is Cisco’s CSCC.  CSCC can be difficult to navigate and the problem is amplified when there are high volumes of changes to make.  This leads to data errors.

The consequences of these inefficient processes are:

  1. Revenue leakage
  2. Erosion of renewal base over time as visibility of IT assets data quality deteriorates
  3. Less technology migration upsell opportunities due to inaccurate representation of the installed base and lack of clarity around End Of Life timeframes
  4. Service entitlement issues, eg: incorrect service levels, locations, serial numbers, etc.
  5. Increased resource to correct these issues

RAI 2

Processes need to be defined properly and the ITAM methodology for lifecycle IT asset management is most relevant.  This ensures processes cover the functions required to get the best value from an asset as it progresses through its life.

One way to overcome the dilemma of inefficient processes is to make the investment in your people, processes and platforms and run the risk that you overspend and more importantly don’t get the final result right.  In future articles, I will discuss how you can improve in these areas.  For now I would like to discuss how RAY ALLEN tackles these issues.

RAY ALLEN Recommends our AgilityPlus Solution

AgilityPlus is a mix of SaaS and people providing a service that can allow Channel Providers to consume the functionality they need over time as their capability and confidence grow.  It allows channel partners to create greater levels of business value to customers with best practice solutions for IT asset management and insight.  AgilityPlus provides a combination of people, process and platform so that channel partners can centralize their IT asset data and create processes that span operational and financial functions

There are some alternatives provided but only by a very few channel providers.  You need a service provided by an independent company with which you will not have any conflict of interest.  RAY ALLEN solutions are the right way for a Channel Provider to move up the value chain with their valued customer base.  Don’t risk doing it yourself.  Come to us and utilise the right functions for your current level of IT asset management capability and then grow and achieve the gains you have aspired to all along.

-Richard