How VARs Can Leverage Enterprise Asset Management to Become B4B
By Claire Millsap
In B4B: How Technology and Big Data Are Reinventing the Customer-Supplier Relationship,authors J.B. Wood, Todd Hewlin, and Thomas Lah describe a fundamental shift in how enterprises do business. Analyzing interviews with more than 300 suppliers, the authors found that increasingly, customers do not want to buy tools: They strive to achieve business outcomes. And they’re willing to share confidential enterprise information if partners can help them achieve game-changing results. Many leading VARs and distributors have already recognized this shift and are working strategically with their customers to address enterprise asset management challenges, such as maximizing asset performance and increasing organizational efficiency and effectiveness. Here is how VARs can take a proactive B4B stance to help their customers drive to best-in-class results.
Enterprise Asset Management: a Land-and-Expand Opportunity
Managing enterprise assets is a complex, confusing endeavor – even for the teams dedicated to doing so. Asset and part data, warranties, and service agreements are often tracked in Excel spreadsheets or in proprietary systems that may not scale or flex with business needs. Staff members spend a good portion of their time performing lower-level tasks such as entering, cleansing, and maintaining detailed data and cannot always guarantee the accuracy of this information. Acquiring accurate, real-time information on enterprise assets is a necessary first step to driving effective asset decision-making and performance. In a hardware-dominated world, the initial sale held the majority of the value – to value-added resellers, distributors, and suppliers. After making that high-dollar IT sale, companies might cross-sell other services, such as warranties and maintenance contracts. But when online software rules the market, the scale tilts toward the post-sale experience, say the authors of B4B. VARs and distributors can use Managed Maintenance, Inc.’s ONEview SaaS platform to enable the delivery of a rich array of services, such as asset tracking, usage reports, and automated renewals.
Internal, Vendor, and Client-Facing Tools
SaaS applications provide transparency into the corporate asset base by opening the door to big data access and leverage. IT managers can choose to pair high-value assets with RFID and Wi-Fi technology and receive a continuous stream of information on asset location and usage. VARs can harness Managed Maintenance, Inc.’s ONEview and services to analyze sales, services, and maintenance data, identifying opportunities to save money for the customer and build their own services revenues. In the new model of doing business, the entry point can be anywhere, but data is the common thread for designing and delivering customer-centric services. IT resellers can also use their own SaaS portals to identify customers’ emerging needs, manage customers’ global asset portfolios, and build their own maintenance businesses.
SaaS Solutions Enhance Business Relationships
Leading VARs are adding affordable SaaS solutions to their offerings, or in some cases bundling the service as a value-added, no-cost solution to secure the business relationship. They know that these tools are “sticky,” strengthening the relationship between VARs and their customers and also positioning VARs to optimize asset management processes. (In a B4B world, enterprises will increasingly anticipate and even predict customer needs to increase value and avoid being disintermediated by more data-savvy peers.)
Seize the Golden Hour of Contract Renewal Before It Fades Away
VARs and distributors stand to benefit from optimized asset management, too. It is essential to capitalize on the “golden hour” of contract renewals, or about 90 to 120 days prior to expiration. With enough lead time, IT suppliers can structure sales conversations and tailor services and contracts to customer needs. VARs achieve an average renewal success rate of 80% when they act on customer contracts at least 90 days before expiration. (Request our white paper to learn more.) In this sense, SaaS enterprise asset management portals are B4B technology because multiple stakeholders gain benefits from leveraging these platforms. Learn how MMI’s ADDvantage+ program helps you automate contract renewals andmaximize service revenue opportunities, while streamlining contract-renewal processes for your customers. Contact us today to learn how you can become more B4B by automating IT asset management processes: Call Managed Maintenance at 561.869.4399 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.