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Accelerated Customer ROI Builds Service Opportunities

Customers are in a hurry. They want results immediately. In terms of IT projects, businesses want to prove an ROI before they sink big dollars into new technology or systems. 

The concept of iterative and incremental change introduced through agile project management is becoming the standard. Business managers understand that they can roll out a limited system implementation to test whether benefits will match the promises. The cloud is making pilot projects easier and less costly.

Whether you call it a pilot, a quick-start or rapid implementation, trial projects present a differentiating service delivery opportunity for those partners ready to adjust quickly. The value to the client comes from proving the benefits of a solution while limiting risk. The value to the partner is an easier sale and an opportunity to build a profitable, long-term relationship.

Foot in the Door with Fast ROI
In terms of approaching enterprise clients with new options in technology, the pilot project offers security and a reduced risk for the project sponsor.

"In a big enterprise, they have hundreds of different systems. While you could make the argument that they are the ones who would get the most out of productivity solutions like Lync and IM, they are also the ones that have the hardest time internally getting everyone on the same page," noted Matt McGillen, director of unified communications for Perficient. "We see those types of customers preferring to take a baby steps approach, doing incremental projects before they commit the whole organization."

For those partners trying to expand into the coveted enterprise space, a "packaged service" pilot program, with a predefined scope and deliverables demonstrates your willingness to prove value. By offering the client reduced risk, you can differentiate yourself from the large system integrators who are focused on the big engagements.  

Dynamics ERP RapidStart Programs
Microsoft has recognized the value in providing partners more tools to streamline ERP implementations. The Microsoft RapidStart services for Dynamics AX and NAV provide wizards and questionnaires to accelerate the ERP set up procedures.

Elliot Fishman, CEO of Vancouver-based Catapult ERP, noted, "In the mid-market, clients are looking for a streamlined and prescriptive implementation. They are typically responding to problems or obstacles in running their business. They are under the gun and their time and resource availability is limited."

RapidStart was a welcome addition to the latest release of NAV for the Catapult consulting team, who reported their experience on the company blog. Fishman believes it was a good move on Microsoft's part since the company's ultimate success is tied to helping the partners deliver services in a competitive way.

"There is a lot of pressure to be efficient with our customer's time," Fishman added. "RapidStart allows partners to focus on the high-value services."

Fast-Start Programs Open More Doors
In the past, IT projects had to be sold all the way to the top of the organization. A sales effort of that magnitude required resources only big system integrators could afford. With quick-start programs, smaller partners can get approval at lower levels to prove the solution and demonstrate service value.

Consider how can you add some form of quick-start program to your service packages. Pursue opportunities that allow you to get your foot in the door with a fast-return project and then build your relationship with great service delivery. Packaged pilot programs, with clear service definition, will open new doors and give you a competitive advantage.

Are you building business with quick start implementations? Add a comment below or send me an e-mail and let's share your story.

Posted by Barb Levisay on January 31, 2013