When considering technology strategies and business IT strategy, every client is unique. With a vast array of requirements, they each have different software, products, internal resources, capabilities and long-term goals. Which is why it would be unthinkable for any one customer to be treated the same as the last.
Rather than the solution, the conversation should always come first. What’s best for the customer needs to be thoroughly understood from the outset by assessing their needs, challenges and resources. Instead of a blanket approach, the conversation should be top-level and strategic with longer-term planning and the bigger picture in mind.
With their minds on other things, customers often can’t see the wood for the trees – so they need a vendor who can. By taking a step back and approaching the situation from a neutral stance, a vendor-agnostic supplier can assess the full marketplace and tailor the solution to the company’s needs, rather than leading blindly with a fixed, target-driven product.
Many businesses may have a specific solution already in mind when they look for a vendor, which could result in settling for one who will just say “yes”. Rather than opting for what may seem like a painless, short-term solution, companies must partner with a strategic, vendor-agnostic supplier who will have no objection to explaining long-term implications and providing a fully-integrated road-map. Even if that goes against the customer’s initial expectations. After all, a vendor-agnostic consultant will always have the customer’s best interests at heart.
Some companies lead with a point product, or suite of applications to secure a sale or align with vendor influenced targets. Instead, a vendor-agnostic approach is proven to help limit risk exposure for many customers, by ensuring technology is aligned with strategic direction and long-term goals. Furthermore, this risk-averse approach extends to maximising value from clients’ existing assets and considering past investments in technology.
Most – if not all – companies in the digital age refer to themselves as customer-centric. In an era where the consumer has access to more information than ever, it would be foolish to undermine or underestimate their ability to make their own decisions or “shop around”.
But to consider themselves truly customer-centric, vendors must operate with a completely open mind. And be selflessly agnostic. Even if that means turning away business opportunities. Customers should be spoken with on an impartial basis, advising on different solutions and having open conversations - which may also include discussing or suggesting vendors that they may not be currently partnered with. This may create the potential for new partnerships, or result in the vendor walking away if they don’t feel that they can provide the best solution.
The only way that vendors can approach these situations and have these open conversations is with an extensive depth and breadth of knowledge of the marketplace. And from a genuinely objective position. Customers may not have the awareness of hybrid cloud solutions or the expertise in-house, so it is the vendor’s responsibility to provide a neutral, comprehensive and professional viewpoint.
While some customers may be ready for a complete overhaul of their current systems, others may have incumbent processes where it’s in their best interest to integrate solutions with existing software. As a result, vendors may work on a purely strategic level for their customers – giving advice and guidance as a vendor-agnostic advisor or as a design consultant to oversee the implementation of new software and products.
Or, vendors can work together as part of a hybrid solution with several other specialists and vendors. Vendor partnerships can take many forms, such as working alongside in-house, third-party or sub-contract technicians. Whatever the form it takes, a vendor-agnostic supplier will always work in whichever way results in a long-term tech investment for their customer.
Forfusion has been employed by some of the biggest systems integrators and most complex customers in the world to design all manner of unified communications and productivity solutions. With experts in both camps, we can mitigate risk when integrating Cisco and Microsoft technologies or facilitating migration from one to the other.
SCC needed to find an independent consultant with the relevant technical expertise, certification and sector knowledge who could advise on the project they were already committed to undertaking. This would include reviewing work to date and advising on recommendations for the best solution for the council whilst identifying and documenting any mitigating actions that would need to be resolved to achieve a successful outcome.
It was essential for the Council that this consultant had considerable experience specialising as a multi-vendor offering hybrid solutions - in particular, expertise around Cisco Unified Communications and Microsoft Skype for Business, including Office 365. The ability to remain impartial, offering advice and recommendations relating to market-leading vendor products would prove invaluable to achieving the right integrated hybrid solution.
Vic Falcus, Head of ICT, Staffordshire County Council
But despite our partnerships with world-leading vendors and our keenness to partner with the top two or three market leaders of any specific technology, our solution is never pre-disposed. We’ll never force or push towards a product. Instead, we use our knowledge to the benefit of our customer – to educate, empower and transform their business.
We want to be viewed as strategists and consultants that can offer impartial advice when it comes to market and product analysis, and where required deliver multi-vendor solutions (i.e, Cisco and Microsoft UC hybrid). Our approach is one of our most compelling Unique Selling Points. This is particularly important in the Commercial side of our business, where making a vendor choice is often one of the most critical decisions businesses face; it just so happens we’re ideally placed to advise, and in turn gain the trust of our clients.
Vendor-agnosticism comes almost as an additional benefit of being able to offer totally hybrid solutions. Either newly implemented or as a result of integration of new technologies alongside the best of the incumbent deployed solutions.Steven Forrest, Chief Executive Officer, Forfusion
If you’re looking for a true vendor-agnostic supplier, Forfusion offers a range of services designed to address and stay on top of the ever-changing needs of your business. With deep, unbiased industry knowledge and broad technical expertise, we look forward to transforming your business, together.
To arrange your IT consultation and discuss your requirements, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, speak to our Newcastle office on 0191 500 9100 or our Romsey office on 0196 289 2920.