What’s in a Business Relationship?

Business Management | Change | Coronavirus | Covid-19 | Relationship | Trust

What’s in a Business Relationship?

Business Management | Change | Coronavirus | Covid-19 | Relationship | Trust

During the pandemic, has the importance of a good relationship increased? From a personal perspective, I hope we can all agree that a good relationship is imperative during any lockdown. But what about from a business point of view? In a Zoom-centric world, is it now more important to be able to easily talk to a partner or supplier, or are remote, impersonal vendors still the way forward?

In a restaurant we’re happy to pay extra for good service and a good relationship with the waiters; in fact the whole experience is likely to be far less pleasant without it. Likewise, on a larger scale, building an extension to your house requires a good relationship with your architect and builder. Without a relationship, understanding of your requirements is going to be challenged and the chance of a successful outcome reduced.

In these instances the value of a relationship is taken for granted. However, is the importance of relationships in a Cloud-centric market growing or shrinking?

In our digital world where so many services are accessed online, the need for a relationship with the companies that supply the services is negligible. However, this anonymous, self-service business model is fine when the customer gets what they want, when they need it, but should it go wrong or the customer wants something a bit different, the concept is far less successful….have you ever, for example, tried talking to someone at Facebook or Twitter, AWS or Azure?

It’s clear, and understandable, that most consumers are more than happy to trade a relationship with a supplier in return for a keen-priced service, but is this the same for hi-tech organisations; organistions that may need something a bit different or have changing requirements?

The IT industry, like so many others business sectors, has embraced the anonymous, help-yourself service provision model. Simply click on a webpage and buy what you want, be it bandwidth, storage, development capacity, to mention just a few. Like the consumer offerings, this is fine when the requirements are off-the-shelf standards, but it’s far less successful when they are not so straightforward.

Point-and-click services are what they are – standardised and defined. As such, when there is no one to talk to, the chance of getting anyone to make a change is nil. This can result in organisations adjusting what they want to do around the supplier’s fixed view of what’s good. When requirements change or support is needed self-service IT provisioning can fall down.

Some, often larger, organisations can make fixed services and point-and-click IT provisioning work for them, but seldom without committing extra technical effort, which can be costly. Smaller businesses, perhaps with more limited resources, might not want their skilled people doing low-level IT work like this, and would prefer their people to be adding more value directly into the business. Some may simply not have the resources available.

It’s increasingly the case that today’s new hi-tech, ‘always on’ businesses, which have grown out of the digital evolution, view IT very differently from those of the past. To them, IT is a strategic asset that IS their business, not simply a tool used BY the business. As such, there is a growing need for more tailored IT infrastructure solutions.

In a business world evolving in response to Covid-19, flexibility and the ability to rapidly change has never been more important. As such, hi-tech organisations reliant on data and systems, are increasingly recognising the importance of a relationship and the ability to easily talk to a real person about strategy and requirements when developing and managing tailored infrastructure solutions.

At Flexiion MSP we are both accessible and flexible and can help when systems need to stay current and be responsive to changing business and customer requirements. We listen to our customers, understand what they need and give them what they want, when they want it at a price they’re willing to pay.

Simon Lofthouse, CMO, Flexiion

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