Monday, May 15, 2017
The Cloud era has arrived, putting all Microsoft Dynamics partners’ businesses under great pressure with major shifts in customer motivations and buying behaviour. Realizing partners will have no choice but to adapt, businesses need to meet the new challenges of this fundamentally disruptive market event.
Nearly two and a half years ago, 1ClickFactory began a strategic project to build a ready-to-use platform for Microsoft Dynamics partners to enable them to start provisioning their customers on Microsoft Azure in as little as just 2 hours.
Softera Baltic became the first Partner in the Baltic countries to start provisioning its customers on the newly designed platform. In just a year, Softera Baltic was recognized by Microsoft Lithuania by being awarded “Dynamics in the Cloud – Microsoft Partner of the Year!” company.
To find out more about what lead to Softera Baltic’s success 1ClickFactory’s Northeastern Europe Managing Director, Inga Sartauskaite interviewed Business Development Manager for Softera Baltic, Ugne Kontare, to learn what it takes to try to survive in a constantly changing market that is lacking resources, choosing to enter new markets no one has seen before.
In other words: Why on earth would anyone want to leave the Savanna?
IS: Ugne, going to the Cloud was a totally new business model for Softera Baltic. Was this a hard decision to enter this unfamiliar arena?
UK: Of course, going to the Cloud and offering ideologically different options of purchasing NAV to our customers was absolutely leaving our comfort zone. But we at Softera decided that it is not a question of comfort, but rather a question of survival. It is not a secret that all IT companies are lacking resources. So, we decided that if we want to assure our company grows, expands and stays in the market for many more years to come, we must find ways to free up some of our IT resources. Going to the Cloud was just one of the ways we found to break the status quo.
IS: Yes, constrains on IT resources is a common issue in the marketplace today: IT companies not only have to deal with daily challenges that are never rare, but also deal with the constant demand for IT specialists. But I am surprised. You find this situation comfortable rather than stressful?
UK: Well, the situation might look stressful only at first glance. When you take a closer and deeper look, you can find this situation to be quite acceptable for partners, or, to be exact, for different partner divisions. I will share two examples.
First, how the lack of resources impacts and reprioritizes the sales team.
Sales teams are simply refocusing on other – less risk containing and less developer time consuming - competencies. Of course, lacking resources is a headache for a sales manager because your sales team can’t sell new projects or the completion date they can offer isn’t acceptable for customers. However, no matter how weird it sounds this is a comfortable situation. If you know you are limited on making new sales and starting new projects (which always equals more risk), you simply readjust your budget targets to start selling support, additional development, customizations (which are all less risky). At the end of the day, not only are you meeting your budgets, but you are always secured with an argument why can’t you sell more.
Second, the lack of resources impacts and pressures the development team.
The lack of resources in the development department means this team has no issues with time utilization: all developers and programmers are booked 3 months in advance. Yes, the pressure managers feel to take on more and more projects and make the processes more and more effective will always be there. But from a strategic perspective, it is not these managers’ job to hire or find new personnel; their job is to assure the team is “utilized”. Now, don’t tell me this situation is not comfortable for them!
IS: That definitely is a different approach to reconciling “discomfort” in a business. You mentioned Softera Baltic found more than one way to get out of this “comfort zone” and free up IT resources. Renting Dynamics NAV was one of them, what were the other ones?
UK: Yes, we decided that we had to leave our “comfort zone” and deliberately look for new opportunities. The other means we found suitable for us were:
- Investing in development of new software solutions that are repeatable. In the last three years, we have invested and developed three very specific industry focused software solutions that we are now offering through the local partner network worldwide: Soft4RealEstate (solution for commercial and mixed property management), Soft4Leasing (solution for asset finance and leasing management), and Soft4Inventory (solution for inventory management).
- Upgrading customers to the latest NAV version. This is a goal we set up for ourselves for this year. If all our customers are set up on the latest versions of NAV, not only would they be able to get all the benefits of the solution, but also this will enable us to save a lot of administration and project management time, as it is much more effective to support customers when they are on the same versions. This is a huge step forward for us! To reach this target, we will be cooperating with 1ClickFactory, who has been specializing in upgrades for more than 7 years and can extend our team with NAV professionals-experts in upgrading.
- NAV renting vs NAV purchasing. You mentioned already that Softera Baltic were the first ones in the market offering customers an opportunity to rent NAV rather than purchase it is as a “cloud-based” option for small and medium-sized business to get a financial management solution for an optimal and predicted investment. Yes, in the beginning it did look like a new continent for us, but doing this we realized that an easy-to-deploy solution enables our sales managers to sell more projects as well as sets up a new - repeatable - revenue stream for our company. Also the partners we meet all over the world, are moving their services to the cloud as well – e.g. Orango, working with 1ClickFactory in Sweden with whom we successfully launched a Soft4RealEstate customer in the cloud in Sweden.
IS: Well Ugne, you surely are looking for new and innovative ways to stay ahead of competition! What is next?
UK: Well, you know… for nearly two million years our ancestries were wandering the grassy savanna searching for food and looking out for predators. But then someone got an idea to step out of Africa, the “comfort zone”, to go look for adventures in Europe, an entirely different continent. Why on earth would anyone want to do this? The answer would be curiosity. Our ancestors were primarily focused on survival, and for survival purposes, it was important to stay curious and deliberately look for new things, as very often such curiosity created in new opportunities to survive (e.g. finding new shelter, new food sources, etc). Curiosity is rooted in our culture of Softera Baltic as well. We are realizing the moment we stop being curious is the moment we stop growing. And we try to make sure this never happens to us.
Happy Trails & Stay Curious
This is what we at 1ClickFactory would like to wish all our partners as well. Don’t ever let staying in the “comfort zone” stop you from being curious!
Would you like to discuss the opportunities that could launch you ahead of your competition? Contact us at 1ClickFactory – as we can help you move beyond the Savanna and stay curious!