Choosing a Technology Partner is Based on Trust, Not Tricks

Posted On October 31, 2012 By Jeff Elkin - President of Advance

When it comes to technology, change can happen overnight. That’s why, no matter how big or small, we all want to walk away from the negotiating table with confidence in those we choose to partner with. As we continue in our 48th year in business, I often reflect about the changes and relationships we have made along the way. Regardless of the innovation, the driving force behind it is trust, not tricks.

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From a product standpoint, we put a significant amount of trust in the manufacturers that we partner with to produce leading edge technology to increase productivity for our customers—and we hold them to it. As one of the leading independent providers in the region, we are strong enough to carry the big names such as Canon and Ricoh, but independent enough that we can hand pick the best types of products from a multitude of brands to give our customers the total package.

On another level, we put a significant amount of trust in our people to keep the conversations with our customers going so that we are ahead of the curve when it comes to their office efficiency needs. Many of the services that Advance offers today, such as document management and wide format, came directly out of need from those who have entrusted us with streamlining their document workflows.

While going on an instinct or on a recommendation may sometimes work, it never hurts to take a step back from any potential technology partnership, and ask the following:

Does this company truly understand my business?

A relationship begins with a mutual trust and desire to achieve understanding. Annual revenues aside, has the company taken the time to get to know the ins and outs of your business? A technology partner should be capable of identifying your bottlenecks and providing scalable solutions that produce both short term and long term results.

Does the solution fit my needs, or are we being asked to fit the solution?

The number one component for success when implementing new technology within an organization is selecting a solution that is right-fitted for your processes, not the other way around. That’s why before Advance ever suggests a solution; we take time to learn from the people involved in the process and look at the big picture. If you are considering a technology investment, it is paramount to consider how existing applications and hardware will be affected. While technology is fluid enough to be integrated into many existing processes, comprehensive solutions that marry hardware and software ultimately result in even greater productivity gains.

What is the history behind the partner and are they committed?

Many companies make promises, but can’t deliver simply because their commitment to their products diminishes over time. Self-proclaimed industry experts are just that. Beyond just looking at the length of time that a potential technology partner has been in the business, seek out reference stories, or even employee tenure rate. Expect nothing less than a provider who is passionate about the products and services that they are bringing to the table.

Does the company offer unique financing options that you may not be able to get otherwise?

If you are planning to lease any components of the solution, does your partner provide the option to lease directly through them, or do they use a third party financier  Companies with their own leasing arms have far more at stake than just collecting a payment, and therefore have a greater incentive to meet and exceed their customers’ expectations. It also gives you one point of contact throughout the entire partnership.

If you’re struggling to answer these questions about your next partner, and haven’t established a feeling of mutual trust from early on, take your time. Chances are their true colors will reveal themselves when you don’t immediately sign on the dotted line.

On the flip side, if you have a passion for providing this level of customer service, learn more about joining our team.