What does Pyrotek do?
Pyrotek is a global engineering leader in the aluminium industry. It operates in more than 35 countries with over 60 locations with products and solutions in use around the world in automotive, aerospace, rail transportation and high-tech manufacturing.
The IS [information systems] team's role covers supporting PCs, servers, network, security, cloud services, ERP and CRM systems. It is currently in the middle of moving to O365 having moved Exchange already, as well as upgrading 44 ERP instances to a newer version with major schema changes and a new version of SQL.
What traits do you seek in your IT suppliers?
I look for IT suppliers who are able to provide a global service at a reasonable cost. We manage to a tight IS budget and are not interested in being a test bed for a vendor to learn a new application themselves. We need honesty from vendors so that if they are suggesting an original approach, they need to be very clear that this is new to them as well.
What are your main dos and don'ts for resellers when they are selling to you?
One very annoying approach is to scattergun people at the company, so when I get the same email forwarded to me from CFO and marketing staff, it does not tend to get a lot of attention. The same applies when I say something is not of interest, to then email my boss about it. All that does is solidify my mind more. A major ‘do' is to listen to what we want and not what a vendor wants to sell. As I said previously, be honest. If something will not work, then tell us upfront; finding out later will leave a very bad taste. We have had a vendor in the past quote pricing based on the Professional version and then demonstrate the features of Enterprise and at no point make this clear. This was a significant reason for their not getting the business.
How can IT suppliers best influence you early in the sales cycle? Do email spam or cold calls work?
Cold calls never work for me. If a phone number is not known, I will normally let it go to voicemail. The same applies to email spam as most of this goes into Clutter and is highly unlikely to be looked at as there are far too many of these items.
I would say that often the key for us is good information online as normally we will investigate needs when we need to explore something. Now, that does not always work with innovative technology as we don't even know it is there and we are more likely to discover this at shows and conferences, or in the IT press.
Can you give us an example of a project where an IT supplier has really impressed you? What did they get right?
Probably the best experience was working with a partner on selecting our CRM vendor. This was a US firm which specialised in CRM. Their knowledge was excellent, they very quickly understood our business and unlike other partners, did not point out our failings unless asked for opinions. They had experience across many different market types and business cultures and could work well with both IS and the business teams. They were a trusted adviser through the selection and this continues beyond go-live. We discovered them via articles they had published online.
Do MDs see you as part of their digital journey, or are you still just viewed as a massive cost that everyone wants to bring down?
This is a tricky one to answer. Yes, IS is a part of the digital journey and for some people we are moving too slow and for others there is far too much change at the moment. People would like more money spent on IS in areas that affect them, but would like the total cost to reduce or to not be in their costs. I would say the company is making good progress on the journey to digital transformation but there is still a long way to go.
A good example is a US project for a paperless shopfloor with work orders, bills of materials, drawings and so on all available on screens. This is progressing well but hits issues such as not having a standard drawing vault or different processes in different places.
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