Some unexpected outcomes

Yesterday we ran one of our regular customer events and as usual we had a great response using Teams. We take great pride at Gardner in presenting themes and ideas to our guests rather than trying to somehow force feed solutions on to them. Most people prefer to make their own minds up, albeit with the option of expert advice. Our objective was to give delegates at the very least a benchmark to compare their own experiences to. We certainly did that, so what were the unexpected outcomes?

Well one of our delegates has been IT Director at some very large corporate groups and has been a key client of ours for well over 20 years. When asked about his customer experience with us he replied that we always “care” about our work and are always willing to step out of our comfort zone and go that much further when

required. Great validation. Additionally, our Lenovo Information Systems Group lead said our experience and technical expertise was key to our inclusion in their very select group of UK resellers. So more great validation.

Most end users don’t know much about the IT supply “Channel” – it never seemed very relevant to tell them. Well yesterday we introduced our guests to Lenovo - a key part of it. Essentially, Lenovo has strategic relationships with NetApp, Microsoft, Veeam, Microsoft to name but a very few of a very long list indeed. Everyone knows they have a world beating range of laptops, but they are less well known for their complete portfolio of core to edge products and services. Few appreciate that IBM Global services is their support vehicle and they have one of the world’s best distribution models in any business sector. In the UK, they distribute via Arrow amongst others and they too have a plethora of support services for all that Gardner or Lenovo might wish to deploy for a client. This means that the likes of me may be the face of a client solution, but that in reality I am just the tip of a very large, highly organised and mutually supportive iceberg.

One of the themes we discussed was managed accounts. That is those fortunate, who because of building a long-term relationship with us and Lenovo have been protected from the likes of kit shortages and fraudulent spares, but have continued to enjoy price competitiveness, future proofed solution sets and compatibility. In short, an eminently happy position within a turbulent industry which has been even more highly pressurised by Covid.

Another of the unexpected outcomes was being able to explain just how integrated that whole support structure is. How on an hourly basis we all interact throughout the “Channel” and that the friendships and mutual trust we necessarily have in each other creates a determination not to let anyone down. A quick guestimate on the few channel speakers at our event was that between them they had about 150 years IT experience between them. So, for the first time in over 30 years presenting to clients, this was a first for me. Our clients got to meet just some of our essential support team. Can you imagine buying a car and getting to meet the people who designed, built and service it - or any other product for that matter?

All in all, it was a tour de force behind the scenes for our delegates and gave everyone a sense of community and determination. We set out to inform and along the way we all managed to do something even more special and that was to appreciate and respect the enormous collaborative effort which is our “Channel.”

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