Productivity, customer retention and a shift to a mid- to long-term oriented ‘plan ahead’ are top of mind for premier Apple business-to-business (B2B) channel partner Imagetext as it works to navigate its way beyond this year and into the next.
In business since 1984, Imagetext has made a name for itself as a major channel partner for Apple in New Zealand. Today, the company claims to be the vendor’s largest B2B systems integration partner in the country, enabling Apple to co-exist in the Windows environment.
Following the disruptions caused by the measures taken to curb the spread of COVID-19 locally and further afield, Imagetext has had to rethink its forward planning, giving its outlook greater flexibility and prioritising strategically important elements within the business.
“We have had to ditch the five- or three-year plans and set up a more mid- to long-term oriented “plan-ahead” as part of our crisis management team,” Imagetext managing director Darius Mistry told Reseller News.
“We have redesigned the way we do business. Productivity is top of our minds; our business model has had to change to suit the predictability of the environment.
“Our key priorities for the six to nine months is to preserve as many of our current clients as possible, and also try and introduce one maybe two new technologies to the existing client-base around their immediate needs of remote working and security,” he added.
Given that Imagetext’s approach is to embrace technology change at a “sensible rate” without always dragging its clients to the bleeding edge of technology, the decision to introduce just a few new technologies while putting additional effort into customer retention makes sense in the context of its broader engagement strategy.
But although customer retention is an important part of the company's ongoing success in the coming months, that doesn’t mean it is not also looking at customer acquisition.
“With the new technology solutions we are offering, we could also acquire new clients who are not being addressed in these two areas by their incumbent technology service provider,” Mistry said.
The specific areas Mistry is referring to, ‘secure and safe’ solutions, come as little surprise, with large portions of the workforce having rushed to work-from-home arrangements, raising all sorts of potential security issues for distributed organisational networks.
“The hybrid worker is front of mind with the solutions we are offering the market,” Mistry said. “Secure and safe are the two things we have included in the products and solutions we are providing our clients. Remote working with security is the two key priorities for all our clients promotions.”
Shaking up to the game plan
More broadly, the company has had to review its strategic planning processes, making changes to adapt to the current market landscape and the expected shape of business to come over the next year.
“We make strategic planning a regular activity so that it can respond quickly to the inevitable changes in a business context,” Mistry said. “We have re-looked at our existing processes and models, and have made a change to some of them to suit the business ahead forced upon by the impact of COVID-19.”
A big part of the new approach involves a concerted two-pronged approach aimed at saving the company’s employees from redundancy due to loss of business. Imagetext currently employs 22, over 15 of which reside in the engineering division.
The first prong, according to Mistry, centres on the importance of keeping every “all hands on deck” to make sure the company’s current customers are looked after as carefully as possible.
This is undertaken even if it means the company has had to cut its margins on some of its products and services in order to help customers survive their own business expenses and keep them from walking away from Imagetext as a result.
The second prong sees the company take a micro-management tool to question every single expense it has within its business to see what can be saved without bleeding the company of its necessary resources.
For example, the company has ceased forking out for Friday staff drinks and pizza lunches, according to Mistry. And it is also keeping a close eye on non-essential stationery expenses.
Meanwhile, the senior management team has taken a 25 per cent salary cut since beginning of April, until such time as the company returns to healthy business margins.
These measures are all part of a strategic plan aimed at taking into consideration how Imagetext’s clients are positioned at present, and how that might change over time, for the benefit of both parties — partner and customer.
From Mistry’s perspective, companies will find themselves in one of three modes as they emerge from the disruption of COVID-19: survival, adaptive and growth.
“Based on the mode, organisations that are in their future tech spend will either increase or decrease,” Mistry said. “To be a successful tech provider post-pandemic, it is essential to identify which mode our clients are in and offer solutions and options based on that and being an adaptive enterprise in these times will help us successfully weather change.
“Customers will start to look at strategic partners. The latter can provide not only significant bottom-line growth but also those you have a deep understanding of their business and can assist them to use IT to sustain and grow their businesses,” he added.
Reseller News Advance is a centralised editorial resource designed to help partners access forward-looking content as the New Zealand market attempts to reposition for growth.