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Teaching Customers to Fish: Vortex IT Uses the Power of Education to Drive Customer Innovation

Having someone tell you what’s wrong with your IT infrastructure isn’t the same as learning to understand it yourself, but most IT teams are stretched too thin to embark on comprehensive training plans. That’s why education is central to how Vortex IT engages with prospective customers.

Based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Vortex provides solutions that drive efficiency in how their customers operate. Their mission is to boost their customers’ innovation, which means they need to understand the business processes that make their customers tick.

Ricardo Perazzolo is the Chief Technology Officer at Vortex. He says his team generates the best results when their customers take that journey with them, because it helps end-users understand what they’re implementing and why.

Building capacity builds trust

Much of the time, Perazzolo says, customers don’t have a big-picture view of the resources they’re consuming or the tools they already have at their disposal. However, no one likes a know-it-all, and there’s no value in opening a conversation with, “Here’s everything you’re doing wrong.”

Instead, Vortex invites customers to education sessions they regularly host in Rio de Janeiro, bringing customers from across verticals to talk about their most pressing IT challenges. In a typical three-day intensive session, Vortex offers training that opens the doors for customers to evaluate their IT infrastructure in a new light.

“Each customer brings their own challenges to the table,” Perazzolo explains. “At the end of three days, a conversation about one customer’s problem turns into a solution for someone else. We guide them through the discussion, but our customers know their business best — they just need some guidance.”

This approach reflects research that shows that customer education builds trust before the sales cycle starts[i] and is increasingly important throughout the buying journey in complex B2B tech sales.[ii]

Gartner IT Infrastructure and Operations Framework

Using the Gartner IT infrastructure and operations framework, Vortex helps customers identify how their organizations score on the maturity spectrum, generating new insights for participants into which areas of their IT operations need attention.

“As soon as we introduce the framework, many customers instantly see where they’re a level-one firefighter, and they’re motivated to find solutions to bring them to the next level,” Perazzolo says. “Once they realize how much more efficient they can be, it starts a journey for them.”

The added value for customers is that they explore their challenges with peers who are in the same position, instead of just hearing from experts with a service to sell.

Trust lays the foundation for casting a wider net

The rapport Vortex builds with clients through their education sessions often turns into lasting business partnerships. In Perazzolo’s experience, discussions about governance are where the wheels really start to turn.

“When customers start thinking about all the applications they’re running, they realize how many they’re not actually using anymore,” he says. “It raises fundamental questions like, ‘Who is in charge of this and who is paying for it?’”

Once customers are tuned into this, it opens a deeper discussion about how that situation came to exist, as well as options to address it, including cloud-based options that customers hadn’t considered before.

“That’s when we can explore a different vision for how they consume resources, but it always starts with governance,” he notes.

The combination of governance, efficiency, and resource consumption is what Perazzolo has his eye on most. He encourages customers to look past marketing messages and really understand the rationale behind their IT decisions, instead of jumping onto trends just because they work for someone else.

Use Case – Slashing Spend from $9M to $1.5M

While cloud-first has become an industry buzzword, Perazzolo points out that the best solution for a given customer depends on a mix of factors that are often obscured by shiny brochures. On a project with a recent client — one of the largest software companies in Brazil — the Vortex team demonstrated how a private cloud model would save them money in the long run compared to the public cloud option they were about to adopt.

“We helped them change the way the invested their own money and, in turn, how they monetized that,” Perazzolo says. “Instead of spending $9 million, they spent $1.5 million — it made a huge difference to their bottom line.”

At the core, he adds, it’s about knowing what you want to achieve and understanding exactly how the tools or services you’re considering will serve your goals. In his role evaluating products to include among Vortex’s offerings, Perazzolo is looking for the best tools to address the challenges his customers have.

“We’re looking for products that will help us help our customers innovate,” he says. “NetApp is a fantastic partner for that because they enable us with technology that helps our customers gain efficiencies.”

He cites FlexPod’s Cisco validated designs, as an example, together with the expertise of the team behind it.

“When we speak with NetApp engineers about FlexPod, they understand what problem they’re trying solve with the product,” he says. “The validated designs do exactly what we need them to do.”

That allows Vortex to walk the walk, demonstrating the key lessons they want participants to take away, empowering them to understand their environment to support better decisions.

To learn more about how Vortex is helping customers boost innovation, visit our website.

[i] https://www.forbes.com/sites/williamcraig/2015/04/10/dont-market-to-your-customers-educate-them-instead/#17cca33d1cfa

[ii] https://talentedlearning.com/customer-education-how-tech-companies-lock-value/

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