“Working with Microsoft Partner Services has been a good exercise and experience. It helped us achieve a better response time and deliver high-quality and impactful solutions for our customers.” - Gaston Zelerteins, Vice
President, Perception Group
Perception Group started as a member of the Microsoft® BizSpark® program, which provides IT startups with resources to help get their business off the ground; they are now a Microsoft Gold and Silver Competency partner delivering IT
services to many clients across Argentina. The company was quick to spot opportunities in cloud services and has expanded its portfolio to include these. They viewed Microsoft as a strategic partner in growing their services and adding clients beyond Argentina.
As a Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) member, the company was able to leverage Microsoft Partner Services for pre-sales and advisory support. Backed by the guidance received from Partner Services, they were able to generate impactful pre-sales bids which led
to new business, reduced time in investigating new technologies, and delivered high quality and faster advisory support to solve customer issues.
||With its range of products and services, Microsoft provides us a large ecosystem to function in. Partnering with Microsoft exposes us to its sales and solutions specialists. We have a clearly defined strategy for growth and Microsoft
must be a specific part of this.
| Gaston Zelerteins
Perception Group is a Microsoft® partner based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The company began in 2006 under the Microsoft BizSpark® program that gave them access to business training, technical support, and the right visibility and opportunity to network
with key industry players. Since 2006, the company has been working with Microsoft in providing services that meet customers’ information technology requirements in areas that include IT strategy, business productivity, collaboration solutions, software project
management, and software development. Perception Group now holds Microsoft Gold Competency as an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) and Microsoft Silver Competency in Application Lifecycle Management (ALM). The company is also in the process of achieving Gold
Competency in Portals and Collaboration Solutions.
As new technologies, such as Microsoft Office 365 and Windows® Azure™, were introduced in the market, Perception Group was quick to adopt a cloud-focused strategy and was ready to win new customers in Argentina. More recently, the company has been planning
on expanding its services beyond Argentina to other Latin American countries, as well as the United States. As a part of this growth strategy, Perception Group aimed at developing custom products, such as application packages developed for Microsoft SharePoint®
and Windows Azure that focused on specific business requirements and can be reused with more than one customer.
In order to achieve better go-to-market strategies and fulfill these goals, Perception Group sought to collaborate with a trusted partner that could add value to both its sales and its clients’ technical solution needs. Gaston Zelerteins, Vice President
at Perception Group says, “With its range of products and services, Microsoft provides us a large ecosystem to function in. Partnering with Microsoft exposes us to its sales and solutions specialists. We have a clearly defined strategy for growth and Microsoft
must be a specific part of this.”
In 2011, Perception Group began using Partner Services benefits that were included in their MPN membership, and focused on two Partner Services:
Pre-sales Assistance, for when business analysts or sales personnel needed go-to-market support, especially when they were exploring new products that they hadn’t worked with before. The pre-sales assistance included guidance from Microsoft
consultants on developing a business case, competing against other products, understanding solution features and capabilities, and proving the solution’s value to the customer through proof-of-concept documents.
Advisory Services Support, for when project or team leaders needed help in responding to technical queries before and during customer projects. This included migration assistance, solution architecture, design, and implementation guidance
on Microsoft technologies.
As a Gold Competency member, Perception Group was entitled to 50 Partner Advisory Hours that could be used for the above-mentioned pre-sales and advisory support, as well as unlimited pre-sales support for any deal worth U.S.$3,000 or more. The Partner Services
program provided Perception Group an opportunity to receive email or phone support quickly and directly from Microsoft technical consultants on pre-sales and advisory requests. Zelerteins says, “When we started, we were relying on Partner Services only about
two times per quarter. But now, we enjoy a fluid relationship with more interactions that help promote better technical expertise in selling, implementation, and development of customers’ solutions.”
Compete Better with Pre-Sales Assistance
Perception Group leveraged Partner Services to provide its sales team with the right support and information needed to close a high-value deal involving a reputable retailer in Argentina. The retailer was looking for a collaboration solution that would allow
them to automate many manual processes and move a large volume of their data to a more robust document management solution. Based on the customer’s solution requirements, Perception Group pitched a collaboration solution that included Microsoft SharePoint
and Microsoft Office products. Through their own research, Perception Group’s sales team was able to identify differences across the cost of Microsoft solution and a competing Google Apps solution. However, they realized that this retail customer’s final decision
also hinged on a more detailed feature comparison of the two products and Perception Group needed to highlight the greater ease of use and integration of their proposed solution with their existing products. After consulting Partner Services, the sales team
received the right documentation that provided a product features comparison for the two competing products, proper guidance on integration of the collaboration solution with the customer’s existing IT infrastructure, and a value comparison showing the financial
benefit of choosing the proposed solution over Google Apps.
Technical Advisory Support for New Products
||Advisory support from Microsoft Partner Services was valuable to us both during pre-sales and during the project because we were able to define and clarify certain key considerations that were unknown to our technical team.
| Gaston Zelerteins
Perception Group approached Partner Services for advisory support while working on a Lotus Notes migration project for an insurance company. The work involved migration of Lotus Notes email, application workflows, and a document management solution to a
cloud-based Microsoft Office 365 solution that includes Exchange Online and SharePoint Online. At a time when Microsoft Office 365 was only recently introduced into the Latin American market, Perception Group was searching for answers on licensing costs and
certain technical details. Microsoft consultants provided the project team the needed information related to the planned licensing scheme, architecture and security best practices, and migration of historical data. Backed with this advisory support, Perception
Group was able to quickly design a solution that best fit the customer’s needs. Zelerteins explains, “Advisory support from Microsoft Partner Services was valuable to us both during pre-sales and during the project because we were able to define and clarify
certain key considerations that were unknown to our technical team.”
With the guidance received from Partner Services, Perception Group was able to generate impactful pre-sales bids that led to won opportunities. Moreover, the company was able to reduce time spent investigating new technologies and also deliver high quality
and quicker advisory support to customer issues that may arise both before and during the project.
Win New Opportunities
Partner Services helped Perception Group to gain new, key customers even in solution areas they were not exposed to previously, and they were able to present a detailed pre-sales bid quickly based on the documentation and the guidance received from Partner
Services. The preparation allowed Perception Group’s employees to better design a solution that aligned with customers’ business and technical requirements. Referring to the Microsoft Office 365 project, Zelerteins says, “The [Partner Services] support enabled
us to have meetings with the customer in a timely manner and also with precise information needed to decide together on the best cloud adoption and Lotus Notes migration strategy, which was key to winning this opportunity.”
Reduce Project Time
Taking advantage of their MPN benefit of Partner Advisory Hours for Technical Pre-Sales and Advisory Services, Perception Group has been able to reduce time investigating solutions for customer issues, and can spend more time exploring and trying out new
technologies. The benefit is seen both during pre-sales and while working on a project. Before, when faced with a technical issue, the partner would work internally with the project team to learn and evaluate possible solutions. This often led to lots of time
lost in investigating the right answer. Now, with Advisory Service support, Perception Group sees a considerable reduction in the overall project time. Zelerteins says, “Advisory Service was extremely helpful for us in reducing time in planning, research,
development, and [solution] sizing. We estimate a 40% reduction in project times in complex projects and 20% reduction in simple projects.”
Improved Quality of Service
Perception Group acknowledges that working with Partner Services has helped them speed up the time responding to customer issues and improve the quality of service delivered. The company has seen 100% of the advisory issues resolved on time by Partner Services,
and Microsoft consultants guided them with an accurate solution that always met customer expectations. Perception Group typically receives quick answers from Partner Services, which allows them a swift turnaround to customer requests. Zelerteins says, “Working
with Microsoft Partner Services has been a good exercise and experience. It has helped us achieve a better response time and deliver high-quality and impactful solutions for our customers.”
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For more information about Perception Group products and services, call (+54 11) 5032.1072 or visit the website at: www.perceptiongroup.com.ar