Implementation vs Integration, what do customers really expect?

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My last Blog article focused on introducing the concept of Implementation vs Integration; clearly pointing out the differences in the two (2) approaches.  I used an example of a Retail Organisation to illustrate the advantages and disadvantages of the approaches and it was clear that the Implementation Focused approach did not deliver on the customer expectations.

The Customers’ Perspective

Customer PerspectiveThis week I wanted to take myself away from the Network Integrator role and put myself in the customers’ shoes. Sometimes we focus so much on technology and ensuring that we adapt the necessary framework / processes to deliver our solutions that we lose touch of the target. I have always wanted to write about this concept of Implementation vs Integration from the customers’ perspective. I believe that it is only from fully understanding what they want, then we can better align ourselves. My experience as an Engineer both locally and internationally even before my present role in BLU has allowed me to be a part of projects that spanned many countries. From those experiences I was able to interact with customers from around the world. It is this experience that afforded me the ability to be able to really sit and internalise and if I may say; understand what a customer really expects from a Network Integrator.

What do you really expect?

What do customers wantFrom my interactions / projects over the years I was able to identify the points below. I am sure that there are many more points that can be added to this list. These are just the ones that I found were common over the years.

  • Expertise – Customers firmly believe that they pay for expertise. Once a vendor positions themselves as being capable of delivering a solution; the customer expects nothing less.  I would even go further to say that the customer even expects that this expertise extends to all areas / technologies that are required to successfully deliver the proposed solution.
  • Experience – like expertise; the ability of a vendor to show that they have the necessary experience in delivering a particular solution / configuration is critical to the customers’ peace of mind. In many instances, they may even require proof by way of references from past or existing clients.
  • Genuine Concern – this is not a technical requirement, but my experience has shown that it weighs heavily on whether a customer feels comfortable with you company. Our interactions with clients have shown us that many of them have been burned by the infamous “Vendor that only cared about the money” It is critical that any vendor takes the time to convince and demonstrate to the potential client that they really do have their best interest at heart.
  • Partnership – this may not be the experience with every solutions provider or the expectation of every customer, but I think it’s worth mentioning.  There are many business transactions that are just transactional i.e. you deliver the solution, you get paid and you move on.  Within our environment and the context of delivering an integrated solution to a company; it often requires more than just a transactional approach.  Customers appreciate when vendors see them as a business that they can work with in the future; rather than just another sale.
  • Solutions – this is straight forward, no one wants to hear about more problems. Even if they are presented with more problems; they should be presented with solutions.  Customers prefer when the vendor presents themselves as willing to be a part of the solution rather than be a part of the problem.  Even if the situation that presents itself requires the vendor to go above and beyond; this will go a long way in demonstrating commitment to the customer.
  • Structure – in many of the organisatons that we have worked with; even though they themselves may have internal issues with structure and efficiency; they expect that any vendor that they contract has the necessary structure in place to ensure a smooth engagement.  Customers want hassle free business engagements.  We as vendors need to ensure that everything is in place to ensure that this happens.
  • Continue Operations – this one is of paramount importance; every customer wants to be able to complete a project and resume business operations as usual.  There is nothing that erodes customer confidence and vendor reputation like unplanned / unmanaged service interruption.

So, what does all of this have to do with Implementation vs Integration?

The points identified above are all synonymous with digging deep and really focusing on ensuring that the required solution is delivered, and the customer is satisfied.  Some may argue that they can satisfy all identified characteristics and still be Implementation Focused.  Our experience has shown that somewhere along the way the lack of full commitment and investment in the customers’ well-being will show. 

We discuss this topic in-depth on September 29th in our Webinar entitled “ Implementation vs Integration – What is the Right Approach” Stay tuned to our website www.blunetworks-tt.com for time and registration info.

BLU Networks Consultancy Limited is a Network Integrator and true Solutions Provider, give us a call on 1 868-223-1576 or email me at sheldon.paul@blunetworks-tt.com to discuss you next Network Infrastructure related project.

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