Fortinet Partner Best Practices - Solution and Service
5800 Granite Parkway, Suite 460, Plano, TX 75024
Tel: 972.798.1288 Fax: 469.362.1179
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Total Profit Solutions for IT Companies™
OML Trait: Solution and Service
Once Service Revenue reaches about 15% of a Solution Provider’s total Revenue, they have started to
build one or more Service "factories", that is, service delivery processes which require investment at a
minimum level to be able to commit to delivering that specific Professional or Managed Service at a
reliable, repeatable, scalable level of quality and Gross Margin. Below this level of investment, they will
not be able to respond in a timely fashion to Sales support requests and/or they will not be able to
deliver the Service with acceptable promptness, quality and margin.
Once Service becomes at least 40% of their Revenue, then consideration for financial health of their
Service factories outweighs consideration for the amount of product they sell (although, it is important
to note that product sales do not have to drop or stop growing).
As a result, top-performing Solution Providers pay close attention to how new solutions and Services
are planned for, both financially (volume and margin curves) and from the point of view of
implementing high quality, scalable Sales support and solution/Service delivery.
Top-performing Solution Providers’ Sales and Service teams are able to create and roll out new
solutions and services with excellence. The Service team delivers from the start with high quality and
Sales and Marketing delivers the necessary pace and volume of deals around the new solution and
service for Service to rapidly drive down the cost of delivery.
Indeed, this capability is a key competitive advantage in the eyes of their target customer segments but
one that their team doesn't publicly discuss. The ability to effectively develop a new solution or service
and bring it to operational maturity more quickly than the competition, is a best practice above and
beyond any specific technical skills they may have.
When a Solution Provider decides to add a Service – in this case a solution practice – it is essentially
building a factory. The raw materials are the products the vendor provides and the labor of the
engineers and technicians who execute the project.
The machinery in the factory is the accumulated best practices, methodology, documentation and tools
within the Solution Provider’s four walls.
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To a large degree, the “manufacturing engineer” in the Solution Provider is the CEO. It is not the Service
executive, although they are fully involved. It is not the Service executive because the factory cannot be
successfully designed unless and until Marketing defines the product; in this case, the product of course
being the vendor’s product plus the Solution Provider’s architecture, design and implementation
services for that product.
In most Solution Providers, this Marketing function is either performed by the CEO or Marketing reports
to the CEO. Therefore, at least at a high level, the engineering of the factory for delivering a new
solution falls to the CEO, who marshals the Marketing, Sales and Service executives together to come up
with a reasonable plan including the following steps:
• Step 1: Learning the basics of half of the raw materials (product technical and sales training and
• Step 2: Taking what has been learned from step 1, then building the first few prototypes to start
understanding the other half of the raw materials (how much labor of what skills are needed).
• Step 3: Taking what has been learned from step 2 and configuring the “factory floor” (what is
the specific methodology – steps, tools, checklists, software, project plans, documentation,
meeting agendas, etc. – that will be needed to reliably, repeatedly, deliver this product).
• Step 4: Testing the factory that has been built with a pre-production run and then,
• Step 5: Ramping into production.
This is a reliable way to manage risk while implementing a new Service.