InterWorks Vision & Roadmap Part 2: The Client
As we grow in size and reputation, we find a marketplace full of opportunity. As we are presented with new situations, ideas and partnerships, it has become increasingly difficult to communicate a vision of the future that will allow employees of InterWorks to keep us focused in the right direction.
Understanding that every employee has a stake in the future of InterWorks and to maintain consistency with the vision and direction of the company, a framework must be established to determine how and with whom we build relationships. With that goal in mind, I have been working on a set of criteria on what makes a great match between a particular client and InterWorks.
As you read through the following framework, keep in mind that it is based on the type of relationship we have with our client, not the amount of revenue a client may generate. Since I place a high degree of emphasis on creating a great working environment for our employees, the type of client with which we engage contributes significantly to the level of satisfaction of both our clients and InterWorks staff – this is a core part of the goal and our long term vision.
There are several criteria that may be applied to a particular client to determine if we feel they are a good fit for a productive relationship. While the list below is not set in stone, we have applied it successfully over the past several years to develop some very good client relationships. I want to emphasize that this is not a checklist of required qualities, only points to consider with a new client or partnership:
Clients We Appreciate
There are several criteria that may be applied to a particular client to determine if we feel they are a good fit for a productive relationship. I want to emphasize that this is not a checklist of required qualities, only points to consider with a new client:
- Do we have good chemistry with the client’s management or our main point of contact?
- Is there something that makes this client unique & interesting, such as the line of business, geographic footprint, etc?
- Does this opportunity have the potential to lead to further opportunities if we make a strong positive contribution?
Clients Who Appreciate InterWorks
- Do they enjoy our presence? Does the client feel we make a positive impact to their organization?
- We want to become welcomed as part of their team. Does this client have the potential for a relationship like this to form?
- Are they comfortable with our cost structure?
- Does the client trust our knowledge and judgment? We recognize trust is earned over time and we have an obligation to earn that trust. Are circumstances beyond our control which may prevent this trust from developing fully?
- Are we and our services a valued part of the client’s business?
A Mutual Understanding of the I.T. Vision for the Benefit of the Client
We don’t expect to walk into every situation and drop an I.T. roadmap on the table, having our goals for the company accepted immediately. In many situations, it is a collaborative effort between our companies. In some situations, the client requires a predefined vision that we can articulate to them in a way that makes them feel confident and informed. Sometimes the client simply wants to hear our thoughts, give their feedback, and move forward based on comfort level and budget.
After thoughtful and thorough discussion with the client, do we all agree on the direction and role of I.T. in the organization? We don’t need to agree 100%, but the meat of the vision should overlap. Is the organization willing to make the necessary commitment over time to make that vision a reality? Again, we are not looking for 100% commitment, but an understanding of the general direction and how we are going to get there.
Although there are many items to consider with a new client or opportunity, the essentials are defined as a mutual respect between the companies. If a client trusts our judgment and leadership and if a client truly welcomes our services and expertise, I believe that the both companies could be well served for years to come.