In this interview, CloudIntegration Partners show how you succeed from coopetition and explain how a cloud integrator can help you or your clients.
Hi! I’m Vanessa Firth, the partner manager for Cloud Integration Partners (CIP).
What does your company do?
We provide cloud integration for 5 verticals – Trades, Construction, Retail, Wholesale and Hospitality.
What are the benefits of CloudIntegration Partners to the customer?
We have experience in the industries that we work in, so we understand the pain points unique to that industry and we know why our solutions work in what circumstances.
What is the most important thing your company does for a customer?
We project manage from start to finish. We help select the right software and then we install, integrate, train and support. We also help with any changes to business process that are necessary.
How did CloudIntegration Partners get started?
Two of the oldest Cloud Integration companies in Australia (TradiePad and SMB Consultants) decided to join forces to create a one stop shop for Accountants and Bookkeepers to make it easy for them to find the integration services they needed for their clients.
Will Tradiepad and SMB Consultants continue to exist as separate entities?
Both businesses are and will remain separate entities.
Cloud Integration Partners is a mechanism to communicate with Accountants and Bookkeepers so they have one place/person to go to for all of their clients rather than having to speak with both companies if they are unsure who can help. The requests get funnelled through to whichever is the appropriate company.
How did TradiePad and SMB Consultants come to work together like this?
TradiePad and SMB have known each other for a long time and were aware that they were speaking to the same accountants and bookkeepers over and over. They are both Xero, Telstra and Apple partners and realised it made sense to work together as they do the same thing but do not compete because they both have very clearly delineated markets.
How do customers get started?
You can contact us directly, or through your accountant or bookkeeper. We will start with a scoping session which will determine the right software for your situation and allow us to plan the project properly.
How do you help customers succeed during an implementation?
We are always available. We don’t outsource support – you have the same people helping you through the project from start to finish. We have seen the common areas of failure and can see if a project is getting derailed which means that we can help get the project back on track.
What role would CIP like accountants/bookkeepers to play during an implementation?
It actually works the other way – we ask the Accountants/Bookkeepers what role they want us to play. Often if there is a Xero set up we leave that to the Accountant/Bookkeeper, although we can do it.
Usually the first conversation we have is – how involved do you want to be? We are guided by them, often it is a case of the Accountant/Bookkeeper not having the time to take on the work.
We try to work in partnership with the Accountant/Bookkeeper and include them as much as possible. This can range from having them in every meeting, to us just going away and doing the work and letting them know when we are done.
Why should a customer use a cloud integrator?
We are experts in the software that we use and we have worked in your industry for years which means that we know the common issues and can help you avoid them.
We also have the time and the resources to make sure you are set up correctly and can provide the support you need rather than you spending your time researching and working out how to do it yourself.
What are the main causes of failure for an implementation?
Time! You have to be prepared to put in the time to learn the system, in the end all of these systems will generally save you time (and often money) but you need to allocate time up front to make sure you know how to use the system.
What are some indicators that there is a time issue starting to occur and what are some steps to recover?
The main indicator is missed deadlines, or training sessions, that get postponed.
The only way to recover is to decide that the project will take priority over other deadlines – sometimes that means delegating other jobs until the project is complete.
Keeping an eye on the end goal is also important – knowing that this implementation will improve business processes in the end.
What surprises you the most with a client’s existing systems?
Nothing is really surprising these days but it amazing all of the different “hybrid’ or cobbled together processes that people have to try and solve a business problem. It’s awesome that we are able to then clean these up and save clients so much time!
What tool do you use internally that you couldn’t live without?
Slack is an awesome team communication tool which helps us stay in touch even though we are spread out across Australia. It is a way to keep in touch every day and make sure that information gets quickly and easily to all staff or the right staff in a timely manner. The most important part of Slack is our message board for “Fast Food Friday” where we decide what burgers we are having this week!!
How should customers adapt to Amazon coming to Australia?
The best thing customers can do is clean up their business processes so they have really good reporting. They will then know how they are travelling and will be well equipped to make decisions if it becomes clear that Amazon is effecting their business.
What does an amazing bricks and mortar retail experience look like? Where is it heading?
We are seeing more “lifestyle” stores that are a hybrid, think a bar and clothing store in one, or maybe makeup and shoes – stores that offer an experience that you can’t get online.
Where can we keep up with CloudIntegration Partners?
[Thanks Vanessa! You can also find CloudIntegration Partners in the Addon Directory – Liam]