Net Friends has made a commitment to deliver value through our IT Managed Services. The best way to deliver value to our customer is to first know what you are most concerned about at all times. We’ve found that many sales conversations start with one or more specific technical issues that need immediate attention. We always want to hear about those key drivers that led you to reach out to us for help.
Understanding How You Generate Revenue
In our first meeting with any customer, we’re all ears. We want to learn about your IT pain points. We want to discover what prompted you to search for an IT partner. Once you've shared your perspective fully, we like to step back and ask an important question that far too few vendors dare to ask: How do you make money? While this may seem undiplomatic to some, we are genuinely interested in learning about the most critical processes we intend to support with our services. And the most critical processes in any business are the ones that generate revenue.
We have encountered many stakeholders who are not prepared for the “How do you make money?” question. When such an important question is rarely asked, very few decision-makers have had a chance to rehearse their response. What would you say if someone asked you this question? What would other key members of your team say? This is a good exercise to consider in your organization. Take the time to both verify that everyone is on the same page and that everyone is factually correct about it!
When you share how you make money with an IT services company like Net Friends, you are giving us an opportunity to ensure your technology investments support your core revenue processes.
Net Friends rarely encounters a business that has already created a diagram of how revenue is generated and captured within the organization. We also rarely find a nuanced and full understanding for how technology can help or hinder the business processes that support how money is made. Once we get started down this path, we can reinforce our shared understanding of how technology and IT services can help your business make more money. This becomes a mutual discovery in our partnership as we learn more about the inner workings of your business and you learn more about how to better leverage technology to grow your business.
Guided By A Framework
A big part of delivering value is consistency. All businesses want to ensure they are reliable and delivering on their promises to customers. For Net Friends to deliver consistent services, we knew we needed to work as a team from a common playbook. Step one, all our leaders received training that enabled us to operate from a similar foundation. When everyone on a team shares a framework, it becomes so much easier for everyone to row in the same direction and stay on the same course.
The framework we selected was the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL). For at least the last decade, ITIL is seen in the IT service management industry as the “de-facto standard” for all service providers. ITIL is a tried-and-true set of practices that were codified in the 1980s and have been improved on regularly since then. The latest version of ITIL (version 4.0) was published in 2019.
In early 2022, Net Friends decided to have every manager certified in the ITIL Foundation. Within a few short months, everyone was certified and applying concepts, like the service value system and governing principles, to our everyday processes. We have since grown and added two new managers to our team, and both were tasked with getting certified in their first months on the job.
This training enabled everyone at Net Friends to focus on how we can help a business create value. Our company leaders and staff have been trained in an operating model called the “Service Value Chain,” which is fully integrated into our processes and reinforced through our managerial practices. Our company runs on a Professional Services Automation (PSA) platform that is built on the ITIL concepts. To break that down further, the tool that we use to task and track everything we do is aligned with a mature, formalized service delivery framework.
Aligning on What Matters
Your IT services must be aligned with your business objectives and strategy. When your IT provider understands your priorities and can focus on delivering solutions that support how you make money, you have found a true business partner. Everyone wants to work with a company that has solid processes, implements best practices, and promises to bring their best experts to service your business. However, all that doesn’t matter if your IT service provider is misaligned from the very processes that generate revenue for your business.
We seek to establish alignment with your core business drivers before day 1 of our support agreement. We work hard to capture your business drivers and revenue cycles in our consultative sales process. We then prioritize an internal sales handoff meeting that funnels all that important knowledge over to our operations teams and internal documentation. We believe that beginning with the right emphasis will lead to success, and we focus our onboarding efforts to where it matters most to your business.
Our Customer Success Managers work with your key stakeholders to stay aligned over the course of our engagement. We touch base every few months for a formal realignment, where we verify that we’re still working from a shared framework and understanding. These technology business review meetings ensure that we can help reduce unnecessary expenses and allocate your IT budget to where it can deliver the biggest positive impact for your business.
Putting It All Together
When you start off with the right conversations, a truly impactful partnership can blossom. With the proper frameworks in place, those conversations can carry forward further than you thought possible. Working together, we can do more than just keep your technology from disrupting workflows and ensure that your investments in IT are elevating your team and processes to new heights.
By regularly maturing our mutual understanding of your priorities and how we can best be of service to you, we’ll keep building and iterating together to make your company the best it can be.
We hope this article got you thinking about whether you are getting this type of service from your current IT provider. We’ll close here with some questions to ask yourself:
- Do you think you’ll be pleased with how everyone in your company would answer the question “How do you make money?”
- Is your IT provider asking the right questions, and working to understand “how you make money”?
- Are you able to see evidence of a common framework and set of processes that are delivering consistent service and value to your organization?
- Do you feel fully heard by your current IT provider? Are your concerns fully addressed?
- Are you regularly in sync with your IT service provider, and having the kind of conversations with them that you want to have?
We hope that you find positive answers to all the questions above. If not or if you aren’t sure, please reach out to us! We’ll make sure you’ll be glad you did.