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Partner Bridges Gap with CIO Advisory Services

The end of a financial management system implementation is often just the beginning of a process of technology transformation for a growing company. At Brittenford Systems, a Dynamics and IT services partner, that transformation represents an opportunity to bridge the gap between technology and business strategy.

Formalizing a CIO Advisory Services offering about five years ago, Brittenford bridges the gap between business operations and technology. "We become an advisor, helping them build their IT strategy, writing policies and procedures -- the entire gamut of services that an internal CIO would provide," explained Ryan Risley, Brittenford's chief technology officer. "We are aligned with their business purposes, essentially working as one of them."

Most of Brittenford's engagements begin with an assessment, and then expand into other services, including:

  • Vendor management, helping clients deal with a growing number of service providers.
  • Rescue assessments to intervene when a company's IT systems are not delivering on promises.
  • Working with the CEO to chart strategies and present to the Board of Directors.
  • Cloud-readiness audits.
  • Assisting with relocation to minimize business interruption.

Decision Paralysis
"There is so much technology available to companies today that it creates decision paralysis. They don't want to make the wrong choice," Risley noted. "We tell them exactly what we would do if we were in their situation."

Building the trust that makes clients believe and act on the advice from Brittenford is earned over the long run. The term "trusted partner" is grossly overused as a self-descriptor in our industry and, as Risley rightly points out, "It takes a lot of work to be trusted. You have to continually deliver on everything you promise. You have to work to earn trust. The client decides if you are a trusted advisor, not you."

The second component to the success of Brittenford's CIO Advisory Services is responsiveness. "Lack of responsiveness from vendors is the other issue that we hear from customers. It increases their perceived risk," Risely said. "We use Lync to make sure that every call is answered by a real person. We ask them about the level of urgency and operate at their level."

A Network of Partners
As president of the Washington, D.C. chapter of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP), Risley is a big believer of partnering to connect clients with good providers.

"We work with all kinds of partners -- MSPs, cloud services, hosting, learning partners -- bringing in the experts that best serve our client's needs," Risley noted. "On the flip side, it's often hard for MSPs and other partners to break into advisory services because they don't have the personnel to do business process analysis or they aren't connected to the CFO or CEO. We can help."

While technology has become easier for companies to access, it has not become any less daunting to manage. CIO advisory services like Brittenford's provide complementary revenue opportunities for VARs and IT providers and promote long-term engagement with customers.

How are you packaging services to better engage with customers? Add a comment below or send me a note and let's share your story.

Posted by Barb Levisay on July 31, 2013 at 8:23 AM