What does your company do, and what is your role there?
SolarWinds is a leading provider of powerful and affordable IT infrastructure management software.
As CIO at SolarWinds, I am responsible IT operations, business applications, information security, and development operations. The role comes with lots of responsibilities, but the one I get most excited about is the ability to influence product development. My teams use SolarWinds products and get to participate in the prioritization of IT and DevOps product features—that's incredibly rewarding for us
What traits do you seek in your IT suppliers?
I prefer working with suppliers that are transparent in their pricing, honest and fair in negotiating, and responsive when there is an issue. I expect my suppliers to spend the time to understand our business needs and growth plans, and partner to help us fully leverage the investments we've purchased from them.
What are your main dos and don'ts for resellers and other IT suppliers when they are selling to you?
DO: Match the level of expertise of the OEM sales teams for the products your reselling
DON'T: Send me back to the OEM's resources to do my own research
DO: Learn our business, understand our challenges, company vendor requirements, and purchasing process
DON'T: Change account representatives without transition and make us retrain your teams.
How can IT suppliers best influence you early in the sales cycle?
Understand our business challenges, constraints, and opportunities. Provide us with a range of options from which we can choose. Participate in solution design and help draft the value statements to leadership. Provide demo environments or equipment that allow us to pilot and build business justifications for purchase. Once you sell to us, we often have to sell internally as well. Help us make that easier.
Can you give us an example of a project where an IT supplier has really impressed you? What did they get right?
We had a vendor suggest that we buy a lower tier package than we were considering. They reviewed our architecture and deployment plan and suggested an alternative approach that provided a higher return on value. We since developed a long-term relationship that is built on trust and expanded the use of their tool from a single business function to an enterprise tool.
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Solarwinds' CIO details how one tech supplier's suggestion that her firm buys a lower-tier package sealed a long-term relationship