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integration and implementation of technology-focused business solutions

September 2017

How a little trust can start a great relationship

September 19th, 2017

Sometimes, a little bit of risk and some trust can be the start of a great business relationship. In this post, I'd like to show you how that concept helped both LSG Solutions and GET Imaging find a solution to an IT problem.

Taking smart risks

Not every deal is a safe bet, and we all know what a bad relationship is like. Knowing your strengths is the key to choosing the right amount of risk.

GET Imaging's system was built with Oracle Application Express, or APEX, which is a pretty standard framework. While we didn't know the full history of the customer's system, we knew that our experience with APEX qualified us for the job. We knew there was a good chance we wouldn't see anything we hadn't seen before in that system, but we didn't know that for sure.

We weren't the only ones taking a risk in this scenario. The client had invested 4,000 to 5,000 man hours in their current APEX system, and they had never worked with an outsourced IT solution before. Trusting someone else with their system was a huge step.

Regardless, they were willing to trust us enough to pay up front for 40 hours of work. If they were happy with the business, we could continue working together.

How we helped GET Imaging in 40 hours

With this project, our primary goal wasn't just fixing a single system. We also wanted to gain enough trust with the client that they'd continue doing business with us.

Using the allotted time, we first focused on gaining a high-level understanding of the APEX system's role in the client's business. Then we drilled down into the system's problematic areas and uncovered some big-picture problems that the client didn't know about.

Being able to identify fixes to these problems built enough trust with the client that they continued doing business with us.

Just enough trust

One of the primary issues we face with clients is that they have trouble trusting vendors. Sometimes, as in this case, it's because they were used to working with somebody in-house. In other cases, it's because they have been burned before by an outsourced vendor, and they don't want to get burned again.

Productive business relationships require just enough trust. GET Imaging trusted us enough to get a feel for how our services fit their business, and that became the foundation of an ongoing business relationship.

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The importance of flexibility in an IT upgrade

September 5th, 2017

Technology often changes too fast for IT upgrade plans. If you aren't willing to be flexible, upgrading can be a real pain.

Lately we have been working on upgrading a client to an Oracle 12C database from a 10G database that was built around 2005 or 2006.

We drafted our initial plan to upgrade this client's system two years ago. But thanks to procurement lag and technology advancements, we've had to change the plan entirely.

Fortunately, our client is flexible. That's not always the case. Some customers are stuck on their original plan, and they have trouble coming to terms with the fact that today, technology can ruin your plans in the blink of an eye.

Staying flexible

Often clients stick to the original plan because they're afraid of price increases. Sometimes they have experienced what we call "death by change requests," where each change has required a little more money on their end.

A good vendor can help you stay flexible within your budget and adjust the plan so that you get what you need. But for us to make that happen, customers need to be flexible. In today's world, no plan is going to stay the same.

No matter how many paint color samples you see, the paint is always going to look different once you've put it on the wall. Likewise, your original IT plan is going to look different after a year's worth of technology advancements.

Ideally, you should be willing to do some re-prioritization or regrouping if a year has gone by. If you're forcing everyone to stick to an old plan, you're cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Tech changes too fast for stubborn planning

I once heard a frustrated CFO wonder when these technology advancements were going to slow down. The answer is maybe never. Bottom line is that the days of slow and static tech are long gone. In the blink of an eye, everything can change.

That's why it's important to be flexible when you're planning on upgrading systems. Why would you want to fight against changes that will improve your new system? Quit working so hard to be worse off than you were at the beginning. Embrace the flexible nature of technology and adapt your plan accordingly.

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