Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The biggest mistakes when selling Apple products…

.... is when the focus is just on hardware.

The biggest mistake that we see when selling Apple products is when the focus is just on hardware. When the interaction between the reseller and the customer is transactional and that transaction is solely centred around hardware. You might think why is this such a mistake when you’ve managed to successfully sell your customer the hardware they needed or that you suggested for them.

In our experience, there is so much more that has to take place before anyone can even think of suggesting a piece of hardware or software. We are going to cover exactly what needs to happen over the next couple of weeks.

When you totally understand your customer’s situation you can then make recommendations as to how you can help them fix it with much more than just hardware.

When you get to know the customer, who they are and what they do – you start to build a clear idea of what problems they face. Only when you know what their ‘pains’ are, can you then start to ask the right questions about their situation. Moving conversations from hardware and more about the customer gives you a big advantage. You then start to understand more about not only their environment but also their position in the technology investment or simply just the organisation.

You might think that this would take more time than just a straightforward selling conversation, and you would be right. But what it does do is gives you much more clarity on what the solution to their problem may be and so your not just responding to their request for a new Mac or iPad.

“The conversation could take you onto training, software, accessories, planning, migration, servers, storage and so on.”

Knowing your customer’s situation inside out gives you the ability to open the conversation up to much more than just investing in a new piece of hardware. It gives you the chance to help your customer make the right decision on a whole solution rather than just one part of it.

The beauty of selling Apple solutions is that the more you learn about how powerful the Apple ecosystem is – the more you realise what it can do for you and your customers.

Let us know if this has been useful for you and please leave us a comment on what you think. If you are already doing this then what benefits are you already seeing?

Next time lets take a closer look at how to profile customers to make it easier to ask the right questions.

Until then try out some of the suggestions in this week’s blog and let us know how you get on.

The Westcoast Apple Team

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Top 5 Takeaways from Westcoast's Windows 2003 EOS Roadshows

As the clock ticks towards July 14th and the end of Microsoft’s support for Windows Server 2003, we invited resellers and their customers to attend our ‘Time for Change’ regional roadshows to get fully prepared for migration.

We ran three events this month in Birmingham, London and Manchester – each featuring a jam-packed agenda that gave resellers everything they needed to help them successfully migrate their customers from Windows Server 2003.

We are really pleased with how the roadshows went and have had some great feedback from attendees that it was of great value. So, for those that didn't make it, we wanted to share with you the highlights from the Windows 2003 EOS roadshows in order to ensure our partners have every success in the opportunity that the Server 2003 EOS date is providing!

Take a look at our top 5 Takeaways from the Event:

1. Server EOS is only 120 days away (as of today) – the average migration takes 100 days!

Now we know it probably isn't the first time you have talked to your customers about maintenance initiatives around upgrades, refreshes, and migrations. But do not make the mistake that the Windows Server 2003 migration is one of the same – you will lose! It's very easy to underestimate the complexity of the effort and therefore very easy to overrun on timeline and budget. More importantly, you will miss the opportunity to sell the bigger value to their business by modernising 7 to 10 years old hardware and software infrastructure in line with 'The New Style of IT'.

2. If your customers use Visa or MasterCard to transact on their website, you may not be compliant as of July 14th 2015.

The Windows Server 2003 EOS will affect a business' payment and accreditation status. Companies and organisations still working from Windows Server 2003 platforms, after July 2015, will not be adhering to the PCI compliance standards required to host both Visa & MasterCard transactions on their website.

Microsoft have stated “Payment Card Industry (PCI) policies will not be met with an operating system that is EOS” (Ebuyer, 2014)

3. There were 20 critical updates to Server 2003 in 2014. As of July 14th there will be NONE!

If this isn't scary enough to encourage migration then we don't know what will be.

Customers that go beyond the termination of extended support place themselves at increased risk because automated updates and security patches will no longer be available, and they will face regulatory non-compliance .

And don't forget that this also means that all those workloads, data sets, and apps also face this EOS too!

While these apps may serve current business needs, they represent significant business risk, can be expensive to maintain, and could slow down innovation.

Custom support agreements (CSAs) will be required for support after this date but we think if you take a look at the cost implications then you may think twice about sitting still!

Fees for a custom support agreement's first year are usually in the range of $200,000 and can even double or triple annually. For enterprises with large applications portfolios, the maintenance costs and performance limitations of legacy infrastructure will also impact investment in new projects.

4. Something needs to be done! Now!

So as you can see, time is most definitely of the essence and there is plenty of opportunity for partners to reap benefit from when it comes to the Windows 2003 Server EOS.

- Customers are likely take the opportunity to assess their Vmware investments as well
- They will examine whether to move applications to the cloud
- They will need help to define a future state and explore different options
- They will look at their organisation and processes to identify gaps
- They will want to discuss the risks, business value, and costs of moving off Windows Server 2003 environment to a new solution, like Windows Server 2012 R2. But remember – you are not alone. We have many resources available to our partners that will prepare you to help your customers when moving forward with the following next steps:

5. Westcoast can help you with the migration from anything, to anything, to on-prem, hybrid or cloud.

We have the solution to every scenario - call us today to discuss your migration plan.

To ensure success in your migration efforts, successfully offer continued protection of your customers' data, and improve the overall health of their IT with better services, apps, reliability and agility....


Thursday, 12 March 2015

Westcoast and HP unveil new subscription model to bring a 'new style of IT' to the industry

We are really excited to be able work with our partners to open the door for SMB and end user customers when it comes to the latest HP products, services and accessories. We understand that, often the only thing holding them back from the latest solutions, is the large upfront costs and, that alone, shouldn't be how IT investments are made - we want to enable the end user to buy what they need as opposed to what they can afford.

So how does HP Subscription enable SMB and end user customers revolutionise their IT?

HP Subscription opens up a whole new world of HP kit and bundles that were previously well out of financial reach. What’s more, it’s a model that means an end-customer’s new IT kit moves from capex to opex so that depreciation becomes a thing of the past. SMB and end user customers can now quickly acquire technology, services and accessories essential for moving to the New Style of IT!

SMB customers can benefit from:
  • Low monthly fee that optimises cash flow (Capex to Opex)
  • Access to the latest technology
  • Bundled support to reduce cost of managing IT
  • Refreshing IT regularly to prevent obsolescence and disruptions in work flow
  • Reduced overhead
  • Avoiding maintenance and ongoing costs from old technology

What other benefits can partners themselves gain from HP Subscription?

Under the Westcoast HP Subscription offer, through its HP Financial Services (HPFS) arm, pays the reseller the full invoice value upfront. HPFS then collects a monthly fee from the customer so the reseller bears none of the risk. It also allows resellers to accelerate their revenues by creating new and affordable tailored bundles – a terrific cash-flow position for both you and your customers!

Benefit from increased opportunities, simplified sales processes and reduced risk.

HP Solution - Meeting your customers’ growing IT demands while delivering the investment flexibility needed to acquire the technology.

HP Subscription is now available as a live pilot scheme in the UK exclusively through Westcoast.

Find out more about HP Subscription by joining our webinar on Tuesday 19th May @ 3pm. The webinar will last approximately 30 minutes and you will also get an opportunity to ask any questions you may have –  

Register Here

Friday, 6 March 2015

A Time for Change – The Windows 2003 EOS Opportunity is knocking!

From the day this blog has been posted, there are just 130 days until Windows Server 2003 support is ending on July 14, 2015.

Now, for many of you, it comes as no surprise (we hope!) and I'm sure it's something you've been hearing about for the last year.

However, this opportunity for change is now just around the corner and with 900K instances still running in the UK, let alone the millions worldwide, it has been described as one of the largest IT opportunities of this decade.

The Windows 2003 EOS could signal the beginning of a new stage in the evolution of many organisations which is a HUGE opportunity for partners to innovate not only their customers' datacentres, but across the delivery and production of applications that drive their business too.

From hardware/software refreshes to assessment and migration services, the opportunity spans across Windows Server 2003, SBS 2003, SQL Server 2005 and older versions of Exchange for partners to help plan the updates and ensure customers' understand the options.

That all sounds good news for partners..... so what about the challenge?

Well, when we take a look at the migration time estimates (and bear in mind these are on the rather optimistic side!) you will really see that it's no longer 130 days of waiting but 130 days of getting out there and keeping your customers current.

For small to mid-size businesses, a Server Migration is estimated at 30-90 days and an Application Migration can take 60+ days!

2 down, 1 to go!

To help partners prepare for Windows Server 2003 migration, Westcoast has been busy hosting regional roadshows to provide them with everything they need to help them successfully migrate customers from Windows 2003.

The first two roadshows in Birmingham and London have been a great success and have been described as “Excellent and Informative”. Therefore we'd firstly like to thank all those that have attended already and wish you every success in the opportunity that the Server 2003 EOS date is providing!

BUT.... We aren't finished yet! It's not too late to find out what Server 2003 EOS means for your customers.

Please refer your colleagues to come to the next ones or if you haven't managed to attend yet we hope to see you at our final event:

Thursday 12th March – Manchester