As many of you will know I joined Insentra in January 2019 as the Professional Services Director. What you may not know is I have known Insentra for a long time and I had previously engaged in a very different capacity. In one of my previous roles, I ran a professional services team for an IT partner organisation. In that capacity, I worked with Insentra on several occasions to solve tactical problems. While that was always a positive experience, boarding the Insentra Train has given me a new insight. With 20/20 hindsight I can now categorically say I did not unlock as much value from my relationship with Insentra for my previous employer as I could have.
So why was that? It was probably for several reasons but two standouts held me back the most and those are the issues I want to unpack in this blog post.
The first – and most important – of these issues is trust. Intellectually I had heard the value proposition many times. I was promised I was a valued partner and Insentra would never transact directly with my customers…no matter what. And yet if I am honest, I must admit that there was always a lingering doubt. What if a really big deal came along and the customer wanted to transact directly? Would Insentra take that on? I was always assured they would not. On a personal level, I liked and trusted the people that were telling me this. But still, there was always a little niggle in the back of my mind saying, “Really?”
Now I am on the other side of the fence and I have seen with my own eyes that we live that value. Full stop. Not negotiable. Regardless.
I have been at Insentra for 4 months and I have seen two instances where end customers have asked us if we could engage directly. In the first instance, the deal in question was a few days of professional services work. The answer was, “Sorry, but we never transact directly. We will need to engage through a partner.” And what happened behind closed doors in Insentra HQ? It was the same story. We engage through a partner or we walk away. The second time this happened the scenario was identical – with one exception. The potential deal size was seven figures. But even with such a large deal in the mix, the response was the same. We would walk away before we engaged directly.
Clearly, my concern was misplaced and unnecessary. With the benefit of hindsight and my new perspective, I now know my niggling trust issue was completely baseless. It is a shame really because I think it was my lack of trust which contributed to the second big issue preventing me from unlocking more than a fraction of the potential value Insentra could have delivered to my business and customers.
The second issue was my pigeon-holing Insentra into the few areas I knew them for – Archive migrations, Citrix and Enterprise Vault implementations. If I had opportunities in those areas which I could not service with my own team, I would tactically use Insentra. I didn’t take the time to understand how Insentra could help me deliver services in areas where my team had no skills at all. I didn’t see the opportunity to use Insentra strategically to shore up my offerings and make them more complete.
One example where I could have used Insentra better was in the cloud transformation space. I worked for a strong Microsoft-focused partner and they had plenty of skills in moving Windows workloads to Azure. But there are lots of customers who have critical workloads that are not running on Windows. Instead, they are using RedHat or another Linux distribution. Often it is these workloads which benefit the most from moving to the cloud. However, because this was not an area of strength for my previous company, whenever we encountered this requirement we had to make a decision. If it was a relatively small and simple footprint, we would struggle through with the limited capability we had. If it was a sizable footprint or based on complex workloads, we would qualify out of the opportunity. In either case, we were missing a trick.
What we should have done is to engage Insentra for this specific component of the project. This would have brought in additional project revenue and potentially recurring revenue because we could also have sold the Insentra managed service capability. Far more importantly, it would have driven true value for the customers in question which would have been good for all parties.
Now on the inside of Insentra, I have seen this happening time and again. I’ve seen Citrix partners leveraging us to provide Microsoft capabilities and I have seen the reverse too.
So, armed with hindsight and a new perspective, I call upon our partners to learn from what I now see as my mistakes. If you have lingering trust issues, give me a call. We can have a coffee and I would love to understand what is driving those concerns. I’m confident I will be able to provide a bit more perspective to put your mind at ease.
Just as importantly, please think about more than how we can extend not only your capacity but your capability by extending your portfolio of services. How could you leverage Insentra strategically and not tactically like I did? Reach out to our channel team and let’s talk about how we can help take your business to a new level.