If you’ve ever gone through a major transformation, I bet you can point to the moment that started it all.
For us at AP Logic, our transformation started when our CEO Jim Ratichek decided to drop into an International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP) meeting on a hunch.
We’ve been Microsoft partners for years, but until three or four years ago, we never really took advantage of our membership. As .NET custom web developers building giant systems for drone manufacturers and auto parts distributors and the like, we’d gotten used to being behind the scenes. Most partners didn’t know our name or really understand our business, and that was just the way it was.
But the industry was transforming. The typical tech business model of giant, one-off projects and short-term relationships was being replaced with long-term relationships and on-going managed services, and we needed to transform with it.
Then IAMCP lit the spark that changed everything.
Building a foundation of partnerships
At the meeting, Jim started to realize the true extent of the partner community and what a great opportunity it represented to help us grow our business. We started actively networking, explaining what we did, and building a channel.
And work came in. And that was great. We were making connections, engaging with partners, building up a new customer base – but we knew we could do more. We needed to work smarter, not harder.
We knew from partners in our channel that there was a need in the B2B ecommerce space, a solution that could easily “snap” onto Dynamics while delivering a sophisticated user experience. So we went to work – again, smarter, not harder.
Our company’s production team developed a unique technology that would allow disparate systems to communicate more easily: we called it simply our “communications hub.” We could meet that B2B ecommerce need by utilizing our hub to integrate a fully SaaS ecommerce experience with Dynamics.
Through IAMCP, our partners recommended us clients from beverage distributors to audio systems wholesalers. And we listened to their needs.
Innovating from our strengths
Because we began as a custom shop with a unique balance of design and engineering, we had the expertise in-house to develop the application. We’d been doing custom work for others, so instead we did the same job for ourselves, and just like that, we’d become an ISV.
The changes didn’t end with the new solution. Our ecommerce system is a SaaS solution, which was new to us, so our CEO and head architect sat down and figured out a subscription model that would be affordable for customers and profitable for us.
Making transformation sustainable
In order to “stick” and be sustainable, transformation has to be grounded. We needed a focus, a plan, and customers.
Fortunately, we had this enormous partner network. Unlike the custom development world, we had a solution that was easily understood and could be simply priced. We tapped into the vast pool of Dynamics partners, started demonstrating the value of our product, and now we’re working with several partners to bring our solution to their customers.
So now we have a new business plan and model – and a new excitement over having a solution that we get to build on and improve and expand.
If it hadn’t been for that initial contact with IAMCP SoCal chapter, we might never have discovered this opportunity. But thanks to the connection with other Microsoft partners, we transformed from custom .NET web developers to an ISV, from project-based to recurring revenue, from behind-the-scenes to right out in front.