Bennettbrooks Technology Director Greg Stanton gives his insights on how to choose a technology provider that adds value to your business.
I am often asked what accountancy and technology have in common and why we provide, on the face of things, two very disparate services. Looking back its roots lie in technology being a cost approved by the same business owner or Finance Director as the accounts.
Of course, the pandemic drove forward technology adoption like no other with an estimated 5 years’ worth of traditional modernisation taking place in just a few short months and technology shifting from a ‘cost’ to a must-have and ‘value-add.’
Similarly, with many businesses experiencing distress for the first time through the lockdowns so too did their relationship with ‘the accountant’ grow and a reliance on their financial and production platforms deepen.
At bennettbrooks our mission is clear – to be your trusted advisor whatever service you take, and to invest in you as a client to add value across all those you take from us.
So, when choosing a technology provider where do you start, and how do you ensure they too add value, rather than just introducing cost?
Firstly, spend time identifying your top few requirements and let the selection process flow from there. Any provider can, and will, sell you specific technology if you ask them to, but don’t short circuit this with a race to the best price, instead involve prospective providers (plural) from the outset, to be sure they understand your business.
Secondly consider and verify the experience they have servicing your specific industry – sector knowledge and a record of delivering solutions within the confines of your regulatory body/framework will be at the core of their ability to add insight and proactively make suggestions relevant to you.
Thirdly avoid vendor lock-in… how well do they play with others, do they have partnerships with their peers or commit you to them, and only them? How will a handover take place with your incumbent – this will be the best barometer of any disruption you might experience if you ever have cause to leave.
And finally once you are satisfied you’ve found the right provider, avoid lengthy contracts and introductory discounts – if they believe in their service they won’t need to sign you up for five years to satisfy themselves that you’re now a client for life and if their services & products are priced at the market rate there should be no need to discount them to be competitive.
Above all, remember the commercial issue you set out to resolve and in the early stages continuously loop back on whether they have done so – if that goes unsolved don’t be afraid to have a difficult conversation and go back out to market.
At bennettbrooks we are lucky to have a dedicated and well-rounded technology team; some of our longest running relationships span the distance since we introduced the first service back in 2009.
Our background in professional services and putting value not cost at the core of our own delivery has seen us grow well beyond grass roots technical support into security, development, analytics, business intelligence, whole-of-business platforms and all the bolt-on’s you’d expect from connectivity through to consultancy.
Along the way we have carefully applied the rules above to our own engagements with suppliers but critically also when considering a new client take-on – we can now more so than any other provider, be a best fit for everybody and our transparent approach to saying no to a fee if we aren’t best placed has won us the strong and lasting relationships we have today.
If you have any questions or queries around our IT services or how our team could support your business in this area, please get in touch.