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5 Warning Signs Your Technology Partnership is Souring, not Soaring


How well has your technology partner paid solid mind to how you work and operate? What your objectives are? What you value as a business?

Great partnerships produce great results.

The Wright Brothers, though they got their start fixing bicycles, developed the three-axis controls that made flying a fixed-wing aircraft possible. Through their collaborative partnership, the two literally gave us all wings to fly.

Partnerships can go sour, too. In 1999, NASA teamed up with Lockheed Martin to build a $125 million orbiter to circle Mars. Unfortunately, the engineers behind the design and operation were not aligned — NASA uses the metric system while Lockheed martin uses the English system of measurement. In the end,  because of a lack of communication and coordination, ground crews failed to transmit navigational coordinates between labs. The orbiter project was doomed. 

Regarding partnership, author, educator, and management consultant Peter Drucker once wrote:

“In a partnership, one considers the other partner as a customer. And the first question is not "what do we want to do," it is, "what are the partners' goals, the partners' objectives, what is value for the partner, how does the partner work and operate?" Once this is understood and accepted, the alliance will work.”

With the right partner, your workflow structure, your service delivery, and overall productivity should be soaring. How well has your technology partner (copier provider, Managed Services Provider, etc.) paid solid mind to how you work and operate? What your objectives are? What you value as a business? These are important questions to consider as you make the key decisions on how you utilize technology … and who you trust to make solution recommendations.

Partnership, a relationship status that exceeds that of a standard provider, is a valued position. According to SalesForce, 79% of business buyers say it’s absolutely critical or very important to interact with a salesperson who is a trusted advisor — not just a sales rep — who adds value to their business.

Partnership isn’t part-time. If your provider isn’t deeply committed to responding to your needs and, more importantly, actively seeking areas where you can be better supported moving forward, you may be missing out.

Technology Partner? Or mere provider? 

Is Your Technology Partnership Soaring or Souring? 5 Warning Signs That it’s the Latter.

1. Account rep meetings are far from regular.

Does your specified account manager only walk through the doors when you scream for resolution? Do you even hear from them, period?

Meetings shouldn't simply be about resolving issues - they should be about discovering new opportunities. How regularly do you sit down with your rep to evaluate service metrics, discuss structural or business changes, and measure your overall satisfaction with your technology solution?

It should be regularly.  

2. You’re out of toner. Again.

Or ... you've got an entire closet full of toner boxes, with no one to manage them. 

It’s a simple task, really. But nothing brings productivity to halt faster than an empty bottle of toner in your device. A trusted technology partner should demonstrate a process that proactively fulfills your requests BEFORE  your workflow comes to a screeching halt.

3. Invoices are either incorrect (or impossible to understand).

Billing accuracy is a metric as crucial as a service response/resolution time. How accurate is your provider? Furthermore, invoicing structure is never a "one size fits all" scenario. Do you need your invoices customized by location? Do you have the necessary accounting codes you need to be included?  Are your invoices keeping up with device movement/addition/removal? 

Your partner should be able to accommodate such needs.

4. Your fleet (and associated costs) are a total cluster.

Business needs change over time. Even within the most trusted technology vendor/client relationship, a failure to actively engage and adapt to changing organizational dynamics (department additions, additional locations, downsizing) can disrupt not just how technology is utilized, but how services are delivered.

Right-sizing your fleet should be given constant consideration. Any device consolidation, addition, or modification,  should move seamlessly with your billing and your ongoing service delivery. 

5. There's no ownership over your total cost of technology ownership. 

Ongoing costs pertaining to your print fleet – from operational to network infrastructure to maintenance and more – are all costs that must be accounted for the entire lifecycle of the equipment. Does your provider aid in the understanding of these costs? What about ways to actually improve these costs?

The bottom line is the bottom line. And improving your total cost of technology ownership should be an overriding priority for any true technology partner. 

Partnership is NOT part-time. Your technology vendor should foster a partnership well beyond the point of sale. That begins with understanding the true needs of your organization, what it values, and what its objectives are. It continues with a relentless, ongoing commitment to engaging and paying mind to how those needs, values, and objectives change. 

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Topics: Office Equipment Partnering Managed Services Provider