Micro Strategies Wins Major IT Maintenance Contract by Identifying Leading Financial Publisher’s Exposed Software with MMI’s Help
Exposed IT assets. They’re a common problem, according to Nicole Kopich, Client Solutions Manager, at Micro Strategies, a leading technology solution provider and reseller.
While most companies know they have IT hardware and software that aren’t covered by warranties and maintenance contracts, they’re not aware of the scope of the problem. According to Kopich, as much as 25% to 30% of all IT inventory is left exposed at major companies.
Using maintenance contracts to strengthen client relationships
But that problem has created a strategic opportunity for Micro Strategies, which was seeking to grow its maintenance business and open the door to future IT sales with a premier client, a leading financial publisher.
Micro Strategies had been working with MMI to automate its contract renewal processes. The company had implemented MMI’s ONEview portal, which provides users with access to enterprise asset data online. Previously, Micro Strategies had been using calendar entries and spreadsheets to track renewals. While the company hadn’t missed many renewal opportunities, Kopich knew that manual IT asset management processes were taking her team too much time and were prone to error.
Automating IT asset management processes
“Spreadsheets are only as good as the data that is in it. If you enter a renewal date incorrectly and it’s off by a month, you won’t know if a contract has elapsed. In addition, there are no notifications. You have to track everything manually,” says Kopich.
Although the company had an accounting system with maintenance renewal tracking functionality, Micro Strategies knew they needed more. They also wanted to offer their customers a SaaS solution they could access and use themselves to track and manage their own IT assets.
“We were getting bigger and taking on larger customers. We needed an IT asset management solution that would scale with the business,” states Kopich. “We also wanted to position ourselves as a strategic business partner to our clients by providing them with a value-added offering above and beyond our services.”
While working together, MMI staff alerted Kopich and her team to a software amnesty program IBM was offering. IBM had been renewing its customers’ hardware contracts but not the software linked to it. To capture these renewals, IBM was offering its clients and business partners a time-limited opportunity to renew all of their software licenses without having to pay the after-license fee IBM charges after coverage expires.
Using software renewals to shape a strategic opportunity
Micro Strategies knew that the amnesty program would help one of its major customers, a leading financial publisher, bring its software current – opening the door to an expanded relationship. And Kopich knew just who to call.
In addition to its ONEview portal, MMI offers a service called the Enterprise Inventory S.C.R.U.B. and Renewal Opportunity Program. Teaming with IBM strategic partners, MMI can “scrub” end-users’ IBM enterprise inventory data if the customers grant permission to their resellers to do so.
Leveraging “ONEview” of IT asset data to optimize business decisions
After resellers request and secure their clients’ current and historical IBM IT contract data , MMI then develops a detailed report. Resellers can use that information to make strategic recommendations to their clients. The report helps resellers shape – and win — major maintenance contract opportunities, while also offering the ONEview portal to their clients as an additional service with the deal.
Using a SaaS portal like ONEview provides actionable intelligence, allowing business decision makers to allocate their IT budgets more effectively, increase IT asset performance and productivity, and streamline complex processes. It also enables staff to track assets across offices, geographies, and manufacturers; schedule routine maintenance; maximize use of their warranties; and streamline adds, moves, and deletes.
Revealing exposed software at a leading financial publisher
Micro Strategies and MMI demoed ONEview’s capabilities to the financial publisher, which agreed to provide its IBM purchase and contract data for analysis. MMI helped Micro Strategies “scrub” the data, identifying 168 software assets worth $246,000 that weren’t covered by license renewals. “Our client didn’t realize they had exposed assets,” says Kopich. “They were surprised and didn’t understand why the software hadn’t been covered.”
“The S.C.R.U.B. program made us look great,” Kopich continued. “Our client saw that we weren’t just a reseller pushing hardware and software and saying ‘Here’s your deal. See you in two years.’ They saw that we cared about their IT inventory as they do.”
Making sound repair vs. buy decisions for IT assets
As a consequence, Micro Strategies was able to book a major strategic deal to renew the financial publisher’s hardware, software, and maintenance. The yearly deal encompasses 119 assets with a contract size of $290,000. “Our client uses the ONEview portal regularly. We set up custom fields so that they could name their IT assets the way they wanted to. We maintain and update the information for them.”
Kopich works closely with an IT asset manager at the financial publisher to move, repair, and retire equipment. “They can see the age of a machine and when it was installed. If it’s old, they can make an educated repair vs. buy decision. They might decide to purchase a newer machine for a price that would cost less than maintaining the old machine. The ONEview portal gives our client visibility into – and control over — their IT budgeting and spend,” she adds.
Kopich states that the ONEview IT asset management portal gives Micro Strategies an added edge when it is trying to book maintenance business. “We regularly demo ONEview and show our prospects and customers how they can track their contracts and manipulate the data,” she says. “They have seen portals, but nothing with the level of functionality that MMI provides.” Some clients manage their assets themselves, while others delegate key tasks to Kopich and her team.
Streamlining reseller contract renewal processes
Kopich manages a team of six employees who use ONEview for contract renewals. Three import data into the portal and then maintain it, while one staff member reviews the team’s work, ensuring its accuracy and consistency. Both Micro Strategies’ sales staff and client services team use the ONEview portal to review notifications and automate contract renewals.
Gaining an extra edge to close the deal
Micro Strategies continues to use MMI’s Enterprise Inventory S.C.R.U.B. and Renewal Opportunity Program to open doors for new maintenance contracts and provide existing customers with a valuable service.
“We show our clients various things: what’s under warranty, what’s under contract but set to expire in 30 to 60 days, machines that are due for maintenance, and everything that is exposed. Customers are generally very impressed,” Kopich says.
“ONEview streamlines contact renewals because all of the data is in one spot,” says Kopich. “We grab the information, quote what we need, and send it to sales managers for review. They can then immediately send it out to their clients. It is a lot easier and faster than finding out something is due for renewal, asking for a quote, and sending it to the client. It eliminates a couple of steps and increases our pricing consistency.” Joking, Kopich says, “I knew a lot about maintenance, but after working with MMI, I now know double. I have definitely learned a lot from the MMI team.”
Micro Strategies has used the S.C.R.U.B. reporting process to close five major new deals and demonstrate value to the 10 to 15 customers it has large maintenance contracts with. “Our clients value the S.C.R.U.B. report and look forward to receiving it on a regular basis. Many use it to compare their data with our data, so they can identify any errors. They know that having accurate, current IT asset information is critical to making better decisions and managing their portfolio more effectively.”
Kopich concludes: “We value our relationship with MMI. They are always there to support us when we need technical support, and their connection with IBM is a huge value-add. Our relationship is only going to get bigger and better.”
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