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Partnering for more than the sum of the Parts

21 November, 2016 Liam Scanlan

Developing your business through B2B Partnerships

Service is more than a word. It is a commitment backed by trust. When you use a bank, an accountant, a lawyer or even a plumber, they are providing you with a service. They are attempting to solve a problem you have, which you trust them to do as honestly and effectively as possible, lest you take your business elsewhere.

Software as a Service providers know that the titular Service makes all the difference. At Tanda, service is at the center of everything we do.

To do this, we make sure customer interaction is part of the process of working in the business. The challenge question of ‘does this add value to the customer’ is a gateway to commence any work, rather than building something whose demand has to be tested. It’s good business, but it’s also good for our customers.

Tanda reinvests 20% of what it earns back into R&D. Client requests that improve the experience or the value for other clients, get prioritised for development, which means every client is a beneficiary of the work undertaken to improve the product. This in turn reinforces the value proposition of the Software as a Service model, where the subscription fee includes that continuous improvement.

Partnerships: The Next Level

“Our success has really been based on partnerships from the very beginning.”

– Bill Gates

With this setup of usual business to customer relationship, there is a next level which is the Partnership. It is a business-to-business relationship that goes beyond the normal voice of the customer where a much deeper understanding of needs, vulnerabilities, competencies and trust needs to be developed. They are more difficult to do well, but when it happens the value to both is great, where more of the customers’ needs are met, and the business gets a much deeper relationship along with greater insights, and more likely an improved product.

Good B2B partnerships are not unlike good relationships. Indeed Michael Eisner in ‘Working Together: Why Great Partnerships Succeed’ contends that much like marriage a successful business partnership promotes common sense and a common purpose. He found that it allows you to recognise your own weaknesses and draw on your partner’s strengths, without being uncomfortable about that vulnerability.

As usual, communication and honesty is key. What made the Tanda and Domino’s partnership as effective as it has been, is because both sides are proactive in how we communicate, are always honest about our strengths and weaknesses, and we share that common purpose. Here, that common purpose is to make the lives of management easier at the same time helping them better manage their workforce and using the latest technology to do that.

“We’re really excited about developing something that can handle time and attendance. We’re looking forward to be working with these guys [Tanda] who also share our vision, and more importantly can help us build that vision.”

– Nick Knight, Domino’s Australia & NZ CEO

It’s no secret that Tanda was not a big established provider like Oracle to solve this problem. We are however very nimble and able to work closely with the Domino’s team to provide a software solution that not only meets their needs today, but can evolve with them as time goes on. This introduces risks to both parties, Domino’s would require a sizeable portion of Tanda’s resources, and Domino’s would have to work closely with an as-yet unfamiliar party. By recognising this, both sides collaborated to minimise these concerns whilst sharpening the original value proposition.

Getting good at Partnering doesn’t just happen once you recognise it’s important. Tanda was started by going out and working with potential customers before a product even existed. We then partnered with those customers to co-develop and build the software to solve their problems. That customer and partnership driven approach drives the development, the support and also the sale of the product.

We want our product to be used by everyone, and that means by default we need to be good at Partnering, not just with customers, but also with complimentary providers like Payroll, HR systems, inventory or point-of-sale systems. Partnering with innovative customers and complimentary providers is the best way to ensure that we’re always extending the the value of the software for our customers. It ensures that we continue to innovate and shape the industry we work with in, and the wider industries of our customers and partners. And it ensures that we are always meeting the expectations of our customers and the wider business community to deliver the best possible solution.

Tanda is partnering with businesses, who together become more than the sum of their parts which for our software, our customers and what we stand for as a company, is invaluable.

Left to Right: Liam Scalan  from Tanda & Nick Knight from Domino's,  are partnering for success.
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