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Working With Startups Is a Long-Term Partnership

Richardson Communications at Channel Partners Evolution

Lynn HaberCHANNEL PARTNERS EVOLUTION — Tech startups are coming out of the woodwork — some make it, many don’t. As tech consulting companies working with these innovators are finding out, old business models such as the “network up” approach don’t work. Instead, serving the needs of startup clients requires a forward-thinking, innovative and elastic approach that’s more reflective of a true partnership; it starts with a business plan aligned with technology, combined with a longer-term growth road map.

That’s what Richardson Communications and Consulting learned working with Enflux, a connected clothing and IoT company. The first discussion with the client is about understanding its business, at which point Richardson was able to step in with a technology plan.

“Having the business discussion first meets both of our needs about learning about a long-term vision and getting a sense of how things are going to grow,” said Jamie Zarate, executive director, cloud services at Richardson Consulting. It’s only after getting that holistic view of the client’s business, that Richardson was able to align Enflux with the right technology vendors who also have a stake in the client’s long-term road map.{ad}

Technology wizards themselves, tech startups often make the mistake of thinking that they’re equipped to piece together a business plan including the required communications and IT, to run, grow and promote their product. Wrong. Like many companies, they’re better off focusing on what they do best. Mickey Ferri, chief growth officer at Enflux, was wise enough to understand this.

“We knew we needed someone with experience to bring our technology to market. Working with Richardson was a marriage from the start,” he said during a keynote panel discussion at Channel Partners Evolution in Washington, D.C.

Enflux Mo-cap clothing is disruptive body capture and tracking technology with a list of use cases on its radar. A developer release of the clothing is scheduled for July-December 2016, followed by a consumer release in 2017, followed by growth through B2B partnerships starting in 2018 and beyond.

“Our strategy is to become an IoT platform,” said Ferri.

So Enflux stays laser-focused on its technology and Richardson focuses on business plans and operations for Enflux, including new solution delivery, systems integration and technology maintenance. Together, the companies put together a three-phase …

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… evolutionary timeline for the company’s product growth and elastic and agile business growth.

So, for example, in year one, as Enflux grows its profit margins, it’s critical to operate a framework for growth that’s supportive of change and scalability. In year two, as the tech startup continues to grow and expand its business, it leverages the elasticity of contracts and the scalability of tech services. In year three, as Enflux creates a new line of business via analytics, the company is leveraging analytics as a managed service.

“We’re an IT consulting firm so our methodology is a process of using tools and strategies for how tech needs to be formulated to support the client’s business,” said Rachel McNeese, president and founder of Richardson Communications. The RCC process points are: understanding; jointly strategizing; transforming; and, managing.

“It’s different [for each customer] every time,” she said.

And, a key piece of the process is working with the right technology partners or partners who are willing to meeting the client’s needs contractually and technically, she added.


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