Written by: Dave Cutler
Slalom Consulting is a national business and technology consulting firm providing services in areas such as business intelligence, portals, mobility, project management and process design. A long-term Microsoft partner, this year Slalom won three WPC awards, including Microsoft Partner of the Year in the Business Intelligence and Information Worker categories as well as US Partner of the Year.
Dave Cutler is the solutions general manager in the firm’s Chicago office. He oversees the Cloud strategy for Slalom Consulting and leads a team of 30 consultants focused on delivering the best Cloud solutions for their clients.
Slalom Consulting began building a BPOS practice about two years ago. After investigating the market several drivers led us to invest in BPOS. Most importantly, we were looking for the best ways to serve our customers’ needs in a time of a financial turmoil and focused on solutions that could legitimately help our clients do more with less, while saving money. Lastly, we already had strong capabilities in Exchange and SharePoint – and BPOS was a great opportunity to extend our existing core capabilities to the cloud.
Since then, we’ve had great reactions from our clients and the investment has paid off:
- We built a strong, growing, and profitable business working with companies across a wide range of industries that vary in size from 10 person small businesses to 75,000 employee global enterprises.
- BPOS has the broadest client applicability of any offering we’ve ever brought to market. The demand we’ve seen from customers illustrates the fact that BPOS is the right product at the right time.
- Customers are increasingly looking for ways to reduce complexity and decrease costs while still deploying value added services for their employees and users.
BPOS, like no other product out there, has proven to meet the market need extremely well. Where there have been challenges with the product Slalom has leveraged our combined strengths in business and technology consulting to build complimentary services that address both technical and business challenges for our customers.
Given our passion for the product and the successes we’ve seen after deploying internally as well as for our clients, I frequently get asked what I would recommend to other Microsoft partners and service providers considering a BPOS practice. It really boils down to three main recommendations:
- 1. Deploy BPOS within your own organization - Very early on we deployed BPOS internally to our 1000 employees and this proved to be a great decision. Not only did we get to realize the benefits of BPOS for ourselves, but having that kind of firsthand experience with the product as users really helped us better explain to our customers what the migration experience was really like.
- 2. Build-out complimentary service offerings to BPOS – In order to compensate for the reduction in service revenues from infrastructure design and build-out, Slalom has built a suite of service offerings around BPOS to broaden the value of the product and increase the revenue opportunities we have around the product. There are huge opportunities here whether they are ongoing managed services, add-on product offerings, or helping customer move to additional cloud offerings.
- 3. Understand that the move to the Cloud is going to happen with our without you – The fact is that the Cloud model and services like BPOS is where the industry is moving and where your clients want to go – if not today, then someday soon. Those service providers who resist this new reality will be left behind in much the same way resistant client/server software providers were left behind by the Internet. Smart service providers will find ways to leverage this change for their customers and themselves. The rest will face serious challenges.
My recommendation - Go “All-in” or Go Home.