Years ago, when things were ‘simple’ and business only had a couple choices for their telecom and IT services, a company could rely on their AT&T, MCI or IBM rep come in and handle everything. But the industry has changed, technology has evolved, and customer infrastructure challenges have become increasingly complicated.
Today’s customer leverages numerous technologies and providers - including carriers, MSP’s and system integrators - in their IT infrastructure. It’s not uncommon for an enterprise to have separate ‘specialized’ vendors for their WAN, LAN, phone system, collocation, cloud, data backup, security and software needs. That’s eight different vendors/providers; all of which have no direct communicate with each other! No wonder why the number one frustration IT teams have today is the management of their infrastructure. It’s not pricing or capabilities - it’s keeping everything running and what to do and who to contact when something doesn’t work.
Direct sales reps are incented to sell their company's new services, and if they don't hit their quota for new sales they are out of a job. Sometimes that service and/or the underlying technology, isn't the best fit for a customer's needs, but the rep will make it for (much like fitting a square peg into a round hole) to make quota.
It's common today for customers to have a multi-provider IT infrastructure. This makes the individual sales rep at each provider less strategic, and much less significant to the company's overall business goals. Businesses need the technical SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) for sure, but the sales rep? Reps are great as the single point of contact for that specific provider, but to truly solve overall business problems? That model no longer works.
Like customer infrastructure, IT teams have also evolved over the years. Gone are the days where most of the IT teams’ work was underneath a desk managing computers and wires. They are now the lifeblood of a business, and a key part of a company’s strategic direction. Today’s IT Team is innovative, on top on new technology but also cost-effective. And they are directly linked to all their customers, employees, vendors, and social media. Infrastructure management and vendor management are still part of their responsibilities, but shouldn’t take up most of their time and energy, despite the fact that they are dealing with more services and vendors.
Advantage Communications Group’s unique ‘sourcing advisor; business model addresses the needs of today’s businesses, and their IT teams. We consolidate all the key areas of IT into a single support model while giving customers the flexibility to choose ANY provider required for their business. Advantage offers solution engineering, project management, support, and numerous other services just like the providers. The major difference is that Advantage has placed all 150+ of those vendors under a single roof, with one single point of contact. So despite today’s chaotic multi-provider competitive landscape, Advantage can offer a single company solution.
More on what differentiates Advantage from traditional service providers and master agents in a subsequent post.