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Building Relationships in an IT World

Over the last year Foundant has had the joy of growing our client base, but with client growth comes the need for more employees to support those great clients. Last year we outgrew our location and had to split into two buildings while our new location was under construction. Being in two buildings created a whole new level of IT needs. So, what do you do and where do you start with a project like this?

Over the years I had the pleasure of networking and building a relationship with a local IT vendor. (Check out Mark’s Blog on Negotiating Contracts with Software Vendors.)  As we ran into new complications and expansion needs that vendor was always there with options. Because of the relationship that was built we were able to borrow equipment, use items on a  trial basis, and have items overnighted to prevent downtime in the office. This allowed our office to continue to work almost seamlessly across two buildings.

When the vendor didn’t have the optimal solution, they recommended other vendors or products knowing that even if they weren’t a perfect fit their recommendation kept us loyal. Having trust in the vendor allowed me to request equipment prices knowing that they understood our needs and had our best interest in mind. Since the vendor knew our plans and current layout, they could make better recommendations, identify areas or items that I had missed, and really become a consultative resource.

Now, fast forward to last month when Foundant made an exciting change and moved everyone into our brand new building. We knew there would be glitches…there had to be. We knew things were going to take time and that we had some learning curves. Since we built this relationship with the vendor, we were able to discuss the needs and potential problems with them in advance. This foresight allowed us to move primary equipment early with backups in place to reduce the down time. Despite the many anticipated issues with the move, our clients saw almost no impact and most of our staff moved into the building early with absolutely no downtime. Internet, phones and internal servers were all in place and working almost without a hitch.

The next day, a minor glitch occurred in the early morning. Because of a good business connection, we could get the right people on the phone right away and get the problem solved. Anyone can be an expert in a certain area, but without the right connections and communication things can still go awry. Remember to communicate with vendors and let them help you plan your next big change. This practice of communication and planning made our transition very simple with the lowest level of impact on the business.

The Foundant Team can be your resource when it comes to building new programs or developing new workflows. We know how important building relationships is, and that’s why every Foundant Client has a Client Success Manager (CSM) that is meant to help you plan, recommend best practices in GLM, and support your ever changing needs.

About the Author

A passion to help people and a drive to support sustainable business growth fuels Cory Brester’s commitment to continual improvement. As the Director of CRM and Information Systems for Foundant Technologies, Cory supports a fast-growing team focused on maximizing the philanthropic community. As a software solution provider for grantmakers, grantseekers, scholarship providers, and community foundations Foundant is tasked with supporting the infrastructure of philanthropic programs everywhere; in order to be successful at this, Foundant needs a reliable infrastructure of its own. Cory manages Foundant’s internal corporate IT infrastructure and systems as well as leads the company initiatives on cybersecurity. Since starting at Foundant in 2011, Cory has spent much of his efforts planning and developing efficiencies and systems to support Foundant’s growth. His 8-year history with Foundant has allowed him to participate in sales and support - providing the internal experience necessary to provide a framework and continuity to information system processes and data integrity. Outside of his daily management work, Cory also enjoys sharing his cybersecurity knowledge through Foundant education resources, such as blogs and hosted webinars. Cory came to Bozeman from the agricultural community of Laurel, MT to pursue degrees in Finance and Accounting at Montana State University.

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