Recently, I’ve been thinking about how client relationships are affected by the way the vendor or service provider’s organization is architected. In the systems integrator/ Laserfiche service provider space there are generally two structures, Pyramid Structure (hierarchical) Company (PSC) and Employee-Owned (flat) Company (EOC).
Most LF partners are PSCs. PSCs are the most traditional with one owner at the top, perhaps a small executive team, and tiers of management down to the bottom, where the employees reside. Although many business owners choose this business model. I find it to be deeply flawed. All it takes for a major communication breakdown is for one manager to forget to tell their team a piece of information. Clients have less access to the owner and executive team as do employees. Hence, clients become frustrated working with junior employees and junior employees aren’t necessarily supported by the organization and may leave. Ultimately, making it difficult for the organization to provide excellent service or have strong client relationships.
CPS is an EOC. We deliberately chose a flat form because this type of structure has been found to be particularly successful for technology start-ups. Our top management works directly with clients and our staff is in constant contact with the owners, making them feel more invested in the business.
These structural differences should be examined when making a purchase decision or selecting a Laserfiche support provider. Here are a few reasons why you should consider going with an EOC:
You, the client, receive better service. Because staff members all have a vested interest in the success of the organization. The desire to deliver excellence is prioritized–higher than in a pyramid company. As a client, if you choose to work with an EOC you will likely notice elevated service at every touchpoint. For instance, when you call many Laserfiche partners you leave a message, then get a call back from a junior support person who will run you through a basic SOP. At CPS, if you call in, the person answering the call is a senior person and troubleshoots your issue instantly. This is a tangible result of working with our team because they are stakeholders motivated by your success.
Employee owners are more engaged at all levels. You can expect maximal familiarity with product and service offerings plus valuable institutional knowledge. You’ll be much less likely to encounter a new, unskilled person because the very nature of the EOC model causes employees to stay with the company. When they stay, they have the opportunity to upskill and gain tenure. The average CPS staff member has at least 15 years with us. We know that if we invest in our employees our clients will benefit from their competency. Hence, our user satisfaction is very high.
Employee-owned organizations offer consistency, continuity, trust, and long-term relationships. Clients benefit from the chain of relationships (supplier, distributor) that remain uninterrupted year after year. In addition, clients don’t need to be concerned about succession planning. When a vendor conducts long-term planning and lasting partner relationships are paramount to ensuring our clients are successful.
Whether you are writing an RFP or just checking your service provider options, I hope I have convinced you that organizational structure is a choice you should weigh heavily. If you’ve got any questions please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.