@jensieger, linkedin.com/in/jennifersieger

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Recently, I happened upon a case study that brought together two of my favorite topics – coffee and the Internet of Things. Here is the stat that drew me in: “A global study conducted on behalf of MARS DRINKS highlighted that 80% of respondents felt that coffee was important to well-being at work while 54% expected productivity to decline when presented with a hypothetical day in the office without coffee.”

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The case study goes on to describe how Microsoft Partner Neal Analytics built a solution for MARS DRINKS using the components of the Azure IoT Suite, Cortana Intelligence Suite, and Power BI to connect vending machines to the cloud. The solution was used to analyze historical and real-time data on maintenance, distribution, route optimizations, performance, and stock levels. The business advantage of this information was immediately apparent, helping drive sales and efficiency for MARS DRINKS and their downstream distribution partners.

Cloud Partners Leading Digital Transformation

One of the key findings of our Modern Partner research with IDC was that profitable cloud partners do a great job of leading with digital transformation and take a consultative approach to selling. Curious to learn more, I asked Neal Analytics for a meeting to better understand their methodology. I had the pleasure of sitting down with co-founder Dylan Dias and VP of sales Greg Gomez (over coffee coincidentally) to understand the approach Neal Analytics is using to build such compelling solutions for their customers. I picked up on two key best practices during our discussion:

  1. Partner with Line of Business
  2. Focus on Business Outcomes

Partner with Line of Business

We know from our recent research with IDC that over 61% of technology projects are funded by line of business decision makers and 81% of the projects are influenced by line of business decision makers. With that said, many partners struggle with how to create relationships with those line of business decision makers and how to add value to those engagements.

One of the Neal Analytics’ best practices in working with MARS DRINKS was to partner with the IT department to lead a workshop for heads of sales, marketing, and product development with the goal of brainstorming how they could leverage the data they were collecting by installing sensors on MARS DRINKS vending machines.

“This workshop not only helped to gain buy-in from the business stakeholders, but changed the scope of the initial project from a POC of a few weeks to a pilot of several months.”

– Greg Gomez, VP of Sales, Neal Analytics.

Focus on Business Outcomes

By connecting with the line of business decision makers, the Neal Analytics team was able to better define the solution and, more importantly, hear directly how they could drive real business outcomes like increased profitability, efficiency, and innovation for MARS DRINKS. The solution Neal Analytics built ultimately delivered on the following:

  • Predictive maintenance data
  • Insights provided throughout the entire value chain
  • Operator or service expert understanding of workflow efficiencies, such as route optimizations, machine performance, and stock levels
  • Customer retention and increased usage
  • Insight into buying patterns

How Connectivity Leads to Profitability

Neal Analytics is a great example of a partner who is leading with customer focus, spending time building relationships with line of business decision makers and working closely with their customers to think outside the box about how they can solve business needs.

“The result was truly transformational in the way it brought together three very different interests – consumer, manufacturer, and distributor and connected them through Internet of Things and the Microsoft Cloud in order to provide a better experience for all parties.”

– Greg Gomez, VP of Sales, Neal Analytics.

To learn more about how you can differentiate your cloud business, download the Differentiate to Stand Out eBook.

Are you doing something similar and want to share your story? Please feel free to reach out any time! You can get in touch via email, Twitter, or LinkedIn with any thoughts and feedback.

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