In our globalized economy driven by innovation and connectivity, the best-run enterprises are realizing the true value of collaboration. In 2020, we’re looking at a non zero sum game, where technology partnerships and alliances precipitate ever more advanced products, workflows, and outcomes. Shared best practices and resources hasten new efficiencies—efficiencies that are required to meet heightened customer expectations.
Pyramid Solutions knows the value of partnerships, and has helped clients in every corner of the world adapt to, and overcome, new business challenges to transform operations for the new digital status quo.
Rich Cannon, Senior Director of Partnerships & Alliances, knows the common pain points and pitfalls that enterprises face as they take on this important, if intimidating, transformation. We sat down with him to discuss how Pyramid partners with businesses to solve their most difficult challenges.
Rich, can you start off by telling us a bit about your role at Pyramid and why you joined the Solutions leadership team?
Sure thing! My mission is to develop partnerships and channels for Pyramid’s global systems integration challenges. Simply put, I help software sellers and resellers anticipate market demand, staff and train the right people, and develop the appropriate distribution capacity to more effectively sell their products. Bringing expertise from my tenure at Microsoft, I look for every opportunity to make our partners more effective at delivering exceptional solutions to business customers.
My favorite part of my job, though, is creating strong relationships with software companies and sharing tools and best practices with them that make both of our organizations perform better.
As part of that relationship building, you talk to clients on a daily basis. What is the most common reason they reach out to you?
Many of our enterprise clients are looking for support and expertise as they move to the cloud. They often know they need to migrate, but are concerned about security or quality control as they integrate systems. Some have specific reservations, like being nervous about moving their applications over because their DevOps capabilities aren’t where they need to be; others simply don’t know where to start.
Cloud migration is a complex, multi-variable journey that requires knowledge and experience that few clients have internally. And no one individual consultant will have all the skills required. But clients need to know what the end destination will look like before they consider making the move.
How can they secure, optimize, and manage costs once they’re in the cloud? How can they get every department to adapt to a new platform that spans silos? They need a partner that can handle everything, from assessing their cloud maturity to optimizing their operations. That’s where Pyramid steps in.
I’m glad you mentioned assessments. That’s usually where clients first engage with Pyramid Solutions. Can you tell us about that process, what types of assessments are offered, and why businesses should leverage Pyramid as part of building their roadmaps?
Yes, the assessment is a critical part of our process as we help clients consider next steps. You wouldn’t start off on a journey without a map, and you need good intel to draw that map.
We perform two types of assessment, one for enterprise clients and one for SMBs through our channel partners. The enterprise assessment is a three-week engagement that covers every area of app development and infrastructure—we’re talking cloud or data strategy, consulting, QA (quality assurance), security, you name it. We’ll conduct on-site interviews to understand the people, processes, and tools that are being used by the client, then we’ll pull information about their infrastructure, applications, and data systems using a number of key tools that I often employed during my time at Microsoft.
Leveraging all of this intel, our experts will develop and deliver a clear roadmap for the client. Here’s the projects to be considered, the costs to mature the organization, or solve specific issues. We really break it down so that the key stakeholders have a vision of the costs, timelines, and scope of what they need to get done. This helps them decide whether to hire staff, consultants, or both, so that they can get on with the process of moving their infrastructure and application base to the cloud. The end goal is for our clients to be able to take advantage of all the innovation happening there and leverage it to become leaders in their industry.
The SMB assessment follows a similar, but abridged, process.
What kind of commitment does it take from the customer for an assessment?
We’ll need access to key stakeholders, the CIO, CFO, administrators, infrastructure and application directors—it depends on the specific client and focus. The first two days of the assessment are spent on interviewing these key players to get a comprehensive view of the situation. Then we’ll ask their administrators to leverage some tools to access their systems.
After a week or two of data gathering on the tools and writing up recommendations, we’ll conduct a read-out session with our practice leads and the appropriate stakeholders in an on-site workshop. That’s when we talk about planning, budgeting, and speed to implement based on where the organization is and where the biggest savings and agility will come from in leveraging new infrastructure.
So, what comes next?
The next step is entirely up to the client. Ultimately, the assessment churns out an array of options. In order to meet the organizations goals, we’ll say, here are the different courses you can take. Typically, a proof of concept comes next, where our client chooses a small subset of options, implements those projects, and evaluates their success. They may run a penetration test if it’s a security project, or automate quality control if it’s a DevOps project. This phase helps get all stakeholders on board with the larger roadmap, and demonstrates the critical nature of the improvements being recommended. This is also where Pyramid can add value by offering to train the company’s personnel, or dedicate a team so companies don’t have to source the talent required during the changes. Our goal is to make the vision of the roadmap a reality, and we can get as involved as our clients want us to.
Thanks so much for filling us in on the assessment process. Is there any tidbit of wisdom you’d like to leave our readers with?
My experience imparting wisdom usually ends with eyerolls from my kids, but I’ll say this: enterprises generally have little visibility into what their GSI, IT or managed services partners are doing with their systems. That makes it difficult to benchmark the opportunity for digital transformation and set appropriate budgets. They need a comprehensive view. I’ve seen clients who are paying 80% more than the actual cost to shutter a data center, for example because they didn’t have the whole picture.
So, we can bring a ton of experience and industry knowledge to our client’s transformation planning process. And that’s not to brag—it’s critical to understand what your competition is up to as you make big decisions about your infrastructure. Anyone who wants to reach digital maturity needs a partner to trust with someone who has seen multiple problems before and can make recommendations that work!
If you’re ready to engage Pyramid for an assessment, reach out to Rich today.