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Jan 15


Are You a Shrewd IT Vendor Manager?

Most VARs and MSPs recognize that expanding their services offerings is a smart and necessary solution for achieving growth. And, when you can achieve a 99% customer retention rate as Alura Business Solutions has done, it suggests your customers like you and are likely to go with your recommendations. But, with a bigger line card comes the responsibility of managing more vendors, which some IT solution providers aren’t prepared to handle.

Jason Derstine, president and CEO, Alura Business Solutions

Jason Derstine, president and CEO, Alura Business Solutions

I recently spoke with Jason Derstine, president and CEO of Alura (check out Create A Win-Win Managed Services Model for the entire interview), and one of the secrets to his company’s success that he shared with me was being a shrewd IT vendor manager. “The problem with leaving your IT vendor relationships on autopilot is that if a vendor’s product or service causes grief for your customer, the negative impact ultimately trickles down to you,” he says. “And that’s why if a vendor’s performance slides below an acceptable threshold, we’re not afraid to look somewhere else for a better solution.”

Within the past year, Alura dropped its cloud BDR vendor, and after testing several alternative solutions it switched to a much more robust solution that allows it to offer fixed pricing for its customers, plus it likes the fact that its new BDR vendor allows it to white-label the BDR services, which Derstine believes shows his customers that Alura stands behind its products and services.

Doing its due diligence up front keeps Alura Business Solutions from having to change vendors too often, which many IT solution providers can attest is a disruptive and time-consuming process. “Taking steps to check out a potential vendor partner’s business health and testing its product requires a lot more upfront work, but the grief it saves us and our customers in the long run is well worth it,” says Derstine.