Five Ways Vendor Management Can Accelerate Your Digital Transformation

Five Ways Vendor Management Can Accelerate Your Digital Transformation

First Things First

Let’s start with a quick definition of a term that sounds way too trendy to take seriously – until you dig a little deeper.

If you’re like most people trying to leverage technology to grow your business and innovate, you probably get a little perturbed when something doesn’t function as intended.

Have you ever had an exchange like this when you called your MSP?

Tech support: “Thank you for calling MSPMax. Mark speaking. How may I help you?”

You: “Hi, I’m Erin from Sandton Commercial Real Estate. I can’t get on the Internet.”

Tech Support: “Who is your provider?”

You: “Vodacom.”

Tech Support: “Just one second. [One minute later] it looks like you went direct on that one. I’m sorry. We can’t troubleshoot on our end. You’ll need to call Vodacom.”

To the client, this looks like finger-pointing and passing the buck. You want it to work and in the heat of the moment, you’re not overly concerned with the back story.

And in all fairness to the MSP, they don’t appear to include vendor management in their service offering. If they did, they would be the administrator on the account and have a backline to Vodacom tech support to provide vendor technical assistance on your behalf.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a “wing-team” running point: providing vendor technical assistance, managing tickets, playing referee, talking to engineers?

What about sharing information across their organisation and others you happen to work with, coordinating, identifying new vendors, documenting, updating, and being available for moves, adds, and changes?

Multi IT & Telephony Solutions vendor management offering herds all of these cats so you don’t have to.

The goal of this article is to share real-world examples of Multi IT & Telephony Solutions vendor management in action.

Brief scenarios appear under each of the top five critical technology improvements cited by numerous SMBs in the Southern Africa.

To provide further context: help desk ticket requests that come into Multi IT & Telephony Solutions professional services automation system are classified by category (Vendor, Server, Cloud, etc.) and assembled into a knowledge base. As engineers interact with third-party vendors, they gain insights into what is working well and what needs to be fine-tuned or replaced.

We then generate reports that our vCIOs use to make data-driven recommendations to all of our clients during Strategic Business Reviews or sooner if the situation is dire.

By constantly keeping a pulse on internal and external moving parts, we’re in a very advantageous position to make recommendations.

Learn More: IT Advisory

Explore one or all of the following links. Each category contributes to a dictionary definition of Digital Transformation – the drive for businesses to integrate digital technology into every area of the organization, reshape operations, and deliver superior value to clients.

  1. Integrate different applications, data sources, platforms, and devices
  2. Improve cyber and data security
  3. Modernize equipment or software
  4. Implement new technology
  5. Improve operations through better execution

1 – Integrate different applications, data sources, platforms, and devices

For better or worse, everything is connected to the Internet these days. The trick is getting the disparate pieces to synchronize and collaborate as a team.

Industry: Financial Services/Mortgage

Client Problem: Two-hundred-person mortgage provider was using two different office productivity applications, Microsoft 365, and G-Suite.

The two platforms were incapable of being unified, creating company-wide issues with file sharing, data backup, calendar sharing, scheduling meetings, reserving conference rooms, cybersecurity, and compliance.

This also caused delays when interacting with third-party quoting and proposal applications.

Business Intelligence Sources: Help desk ticket history and client feedback from Strategic Business Reviews.

The Solution: Multi IT & Telephony Solutions migrated the entire user base to M365, simplifying, standardising, and driving better performance and tighter integration with their critical line of business applications and best in class security tools.

2 – Improve cyber and data security

When you consider over 35% of all computers worldwide are infected with malware, cyber-attacks will not go away any time soon or ever.

It doesn’t help when 23% of us tend to open phishing emails.

No matter how sophisticated technology gets, 95% of data breaches are related to human error. We’re all very distracted. And curious.

Industry: Executive Search Services

Client Problem: One-hundred-person healthcare IT staffing firm with a distributed workforce saw an increase in the volume of phishing emails and users clicking on links and downloading malicious attachments.

Business Intelligence Sources: Help desk ticket history and client feedback from Strategic Business Reviews.

The Solution: Multi IT & Telephony Solutions helped to identify and institute a formal computer-based cyber training program and administer the program on behalf of the client. Selected a vendor with several consecutive years as a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant like KnowBe4

3 – Modernise equipment or software

Sometimes it takes a worldwide health crisis to understand the real utility of your business continuity plan.

The work from home pivot prompted by COVID 19 raised a lot of questions:

  • Is it safe for employees to use their home computers?
  • Can we monitor employees to make sure they’re working?
  • Does everyone know how to use Teams and Zoom?
  • Why didn’t we replace our 10-year old Avaya phone system five years ago to something like Multi’s Hosted 3CX?

Industry: Nonprofit

Client Problem: One-hundred-and-twenty-person animal welfare organisation with three physical locations had to vacate their offices and work from home when the pandemic struck with a vengeance.

Their premise-based legacy phone system lacked the functionality to accommodate a shift to virtual office.

Call centre, auto attendant, simultaneous ring, voicemail to email, extension dialling were all put on hold. Call volume handling was limited and required many employees to pick up the slack with cell phones.

Business Intelligence Sources: Help desk ticket history and client feedback from Strategic Business Reviews.

The Solution: Multi IT & Telephony Solutions vetted several different vendors to identify a VoIP solution to fit their needs – now and for years to come when they return to their physical locations.

This included meetings with the client, several demos, and challenging their thought process to encourage out of the box thinking.

Multi IT & Telephony Solutions was also involved in the project work with the chosen telephony platform to migrate the legacy telephony configuration.

Learn More: Multi IT & Telephony Solutions 3CX

4 – Implement new technology

In the SMB space, there’s a tendency to let third-party IT providers conduct their technical duties without close supervision.

It’s also difficult to provide oversight because most people don’t know what questions to ask nor do they have the tools to administer meaningful checks and balances.

Getting a second set of eyes on your systems every few years is always a good idea.

Industry: Healthcare

Client Problem: Two separate but related corporate entities with 30 people specialising in Medical Devices and Implants were operating on an aging makeshift IT platform, supported by an IT guy who was doing this as a side gig.

The red flags included unsupported operating systems, former employees/inactive users still listed in Active Directory, no password policy, out of date anti-virus, anti-spyware, security patches, and very little documentation.

This was causing performance issues and creating elevated compliance risk.

One of the companies was interested in being acquired in a few years, so things needed to be cleaned up and separated for the upcoming due diligence.

Business Intelligence Sources: Help desk ticket history and client feedback from Strategic Business Reviews.

The Solution: Multi IT & Telephony Solutions redesigned, separated, and partitioned the two company networks, retired older servers, and configured a new bare-metal server hosting several virtual servers. This enabled secure file access, shared network services, storage, and increased capacity to support a significant migration to Great Plains ERP and SolidWorks 3D CAD Design Software. Multi IT & Telephony Solutions collaborated with both third-party vendors to identify the best migration path and timeline. This included several group meetings with the client, countless email exchanges, and document shares. The client was pleased with the performance and security upgrades.

5 – Improve operations through better execution

Service duplication is rampant in the SMB space. Businesses are paying for Zoom when the same capabilities are available in M365 via Teams.

A lot of organizations have contracts with different copier/printer companies. This means their networks and users have to make accommodations for dissimilar manufacturers and standards.

There’s also a good chance the copier leases have different end dates and auto-renewals.

Wouldn’t you like to put those trapped dollars to better use somewhere else?

That’s why identifying redundancies, excess costs, and ironing out operating glitches is always easier with a partner who has the people, best practices, and tools to sort through all the details.

Industry: Nonprofit

Client Problem: A 200-person Family Services organisation with five locations was under multiple contracts for several dozen printers that were out of commission. And all of this equipment was being financed through a vendor who wasn’t doing a very good job explaining better alternatives. (Like downsizing and securing lower lease rates.)

Business Intelligence Sources: Client feedback from Strategic Business Reviews.

The Solution: Multi IT & Telephony Solutions advised the client and met with the vendor to audit, consolidate, cancel, and relocate printers.

What’s Next?

Are you starting to get a better handle on the benefits of merging service ticket data, vendor performance details, and insights from client meetings to make better business decisions?

Successfully integrating new technologies from dozens of different vendors isn’t easy, which is why the need for hands-on vendor technical assistance has never been more vital.

We just scratched the surface, but I hope you have a better idea of how our approach differs from other IT providers you are considering.

If you have questions about anything I’ve covered, we’d be more than happy to help!

Get in touch with us online or on the details below:

Johannesburg – +27(0)11 435 0450[email protected]
Cape Town – +27(0)21 879 1950[email protected]
Durban – +27(0)31 331 0735[email protected]

Namibia – +264(0)81 353 9702[email protected]

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