Partnerships are the lifeblood of business, especially when it comes to IT. Unfortunately, you often should replace the words “Our Partners” with “Stuff we Use”. Logos from big corporations may add credibility, but you should always dig to find if a real relationship exist. Partners are essential to managed service providers, and if you are a buyer of IT services, you should look for them in your vendors.
Web Site Flair
Recently, I was cruising through some IT service vendor’s web sites, and I found a large number of companies with prominent “Our Partners” pages or proudly displaying logos from industry leaders. In many cases, what I found was that “Our Partners” was really “Stuff we Use”.
Using something does not make you a partner.
Most good partnership programs requirement commitments in either time or money and sometimes both. Good partnerships build value for all those involved.
Partnerships are Important
Good partnerships allow rackAID to extend the scope of our services. They provide us the “Vendor Backstop.” Should a ball get by us, we have a backstop in place to catch it. We are partners with Red Hat, MySQL, R1Soft, SoftLayer, and others. These partnerships allow us to turn to them when we cannot resolve something. In many cases, we have expedited support channels, direct contacts or even the personal cell phone numbers of management.
Vendor backstops enhance the value of our services.
Our clients are assured that if our staff cannot handle something, we have a support channel already in place to address he issue.
Selecting Good Partners
At rackAID, I work very hard to identify partners that can deliver value to our clients. When we look for partners, we look for companies that provide:
- Provide a Highly Beneficial Product/Service
- Enhanced Technical Assistance
- Marketing and Sales Guidance
- Good communication channels
If you notice, I did not mention anything about price cuts, affiliate earnings or the like. We consider any margin or financial incentive we get by selling the services to be a bonus.
Trust but Verify
If you are looking at a service vendor and they claim to be a partner, verify it. Most companies will list their partners in a partnership directory or somewhere on the site. If you cannot find that company listed as a partner, ask them about their partnership claim or simply move on.
You can easily verify all of our partners. They all have us listed on their web sites. You may have to dig but we are there.
These are the majors ones but we are always working on more.