Microsoft is a technology organization. It’s their job to develope new technologies that business and individuals can use to improve upon their lives.
Having said that, there are A LOT of products that Microsoft releases and as an end user, it’s really hard to keep up with everything going on. Being in an IT professional, it’s even hard for me to keep up.
There are many times where the customers will go out and see a demo of something that can drastically improve their business. Being a Microsoft partner, they would come back and ask us to give them feedback on what our thoughts on it and how to implement it.
The problem arises when we see the value of it for our customer as well.
Why? Being a Dynamics NAV partner, our sole focus is on NAV. The pros of doing this is that we really know what we’re doing and we’re really good at it. The bad is that we are not as diversified in the “Microsoft Stack”. Companies prefer to do business with partners they trust, since we worked hard to earn that trust, they want us to replicate that same kind of proficiency in other Microsoft products as well.
As much as I want to take the money, I can’t and I won’t because I don’t have the confidence in the other Microsoft products. So the next question that the customer will ask is “who can you refer to us that does this?”
This question used to haunt me and I cringe everytime a client ask me this question. Before, I always refer them to local IT businesses that I met at trade shows. But the problem is that I do not know how they work or if they hold themselves to a high quality of standard that I owe to our customer. Referring them to a bad company is like me doing bad work for them. It damages the trust that we built with our client.
It occured to me that I belong to this program called the Microsoft MVP program. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a program that Microsoft awards to individuals that demonstrates their proficiency in a particular product through contributions in the community. In another words, they know their stuff. In the world of public community and forums, if you don’t know your stuff, you’re caught and hung right away.
For some reason, this program is not very well known. It’s almost as if people are trying to keep it a secret. I find this to be invaluable directory to the most qualified professional in their respective products.
After referring a couple of fellow MVPs in different product lines, I’ve gotten pretty good feedbacks from our clients. They obvious care about their product line so they know the ins and outs of the product and the pitfalls during implementation. I’m a happy camper also because the customer can continue to come to me to get reliable advice on anything.
The Cost Effectiveness?
I’m also assuming your time is valuable and you do not want to spend more time than necessary to complete certain tasks.
Most of the MVPs will command a high rate. So why is it cost effective? Consider the alternative. You can outsource to India or China where they’ll charge you $18.00 an hour (I may have gotten offers for lower), the headaches, overtime, downtime, frustration, missed deliveries, communication faiulres, plus everything else that executives won’t see in an IT quote will be a lot more expensive (both money and human resource) than if you hired a MVP to do it right the first time.
Of course, due dilligence has to be paid. Just because someone is MVP does not make them qualified nor does it make them “fit” for your company and your needs.