Many IT Managers may think it is easier to work with one organisation, however many separate companies it comprises. But how often is that actually the case? Can finances be handled centrally, or does each piece of work have to be paid to a separate organisation?
Is there one account manager that will take responsibility for chasing the constituent organisations – or do in-house personnel end up taking on that role? What about Service Level Agreements – do they have to be negotiated separately with each component company or does the brand offer one, relevant over arching contract?
Critically, just where does the responsibility lie for successful delivery? Consumers have been complaining for years about a lack of consistency of service and personnel in the finance industry – so why are IT Managers actively embracing organisations with the same attitude to delivering IT services?
In essence, by opting for the big brand, organisations are achieving little more than a loss of control – and paying incrementally more for the privilege. Compare this to the perceived overhead of dealing with smaller, specialist companies. Yes, there is a requirement to oversee and invest in these relationships. But at all times each specialist organisation has a clear objective, an understanding of requirements and a real focus on its specific area.
These smaller organisations value the business – something that can not always be said about the big brands – and have no complex inter-company processes in place to delay customer response. Critically, by taking the decision to work with smaller specialists direct, organisations avoid the huge hike in costs imposed by the big brands to cover corporate mark up.
One may argue that with more and more smaller businesses being acquired as per the current industry trend, smaller businesses will soon go the same way as the big business in terms of service delivery and customer care. However, any smaller business facing potential acquisition should put into place the necessary procedures and processes to ensure that their levels of service remain the same before the business is incorporated into the larger company.
These measures will protect their existing customers, and allow them to offer the same quality of service to new customers whilst leveraging the buying and brand power of the large company. The future plans of any supplier should be on the mind of potential customers and they should feel comfortable enough with their suppliers to have this conversation.
Indeed, once an organisation takes into account quality – and timeliness – of service, customer commitment and a lower cost, just how can any IT Director justify an adherence to the big brand strategy?