2 August 2022

Why this intellectual property firm chose to build a deep relationship with their MSP

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Why this intellectual property firm chose to build a deep relationship with their MSP

Wrays is one of the largest independent intellectual property firms operating in Australia, with a history dating back to 1920.

Wrays is a patent and trademark attorney service, a fully integrated law firm and a corporate advisory service specialising in delivering end-to-end IP solutions to local and global clients.

Given the specialised nature of the work, it’s little wonder that Wrays found itself in need of a complete-service IT partner. One that could offer the capacity and geographic reach needed to help Wrays grow, adapt, and drive innovation. A team with the breadth of IT services that would allow Wrays to concentrate on its specialties.

Wrays CEO Robert Pierce explains: “About ten years ago, Wrays experienced the start of a new growth phase. This phase required a consistent level of expertise, with services available to both our existing and new locations.”

But this case study isn’t merely about meeting needs or covering a requirement checklist. This case study examines what makes an IT partnership successful in the long term.

‘(Pierce) We’re in a service-based industry. We know how important it is to have a meaningful relationship that adds value to a service.’

Shared values lead to integration

What sets this client-supplier relationship apart is that Wrays have fully integrated First Focus into its organisational structure.

The core of this integration stems from the trust that’s borne from demonstrating shared values. First Focus has embedded its values within everyday operations. And these values align with what Wrays needed from their MSP. As such, the teams at Wrays don’t see their MSP as an external entity – they see First Focus as an integral part of their business, with shared goals and responsibilities.

Pierce says: “First Focus presented us with the opportunity to expand with the support of a national IT provider. The capability and pricing were a match, but more importantly, they put effort into developing our relationship and understanding our culture.”

How these alignments work out in real life

The short story is that Wrays is about IP – not IT. So, they need IT support that enables their efforts, allowing stakeholders to focus on their specialty. At the same time, they need to be able to trust that their MSP has the best intentions at heart throughout the decision-making process and beyond.

Not just meeting service levels. Not just keeping the lights on. But a working relationship built on trust and founded on common goals.

‘(Pierce) On an operational level, we’ve entirely integrated with First Focus.’

Human Resources Manager at Wrays Tanya Lamb explains: “When a new hire starts, we tell them that if there are any IT issues, they can call, message, or email First Focus directly – and they’ll take care of it. If they want to ask questions, we have regular site visits with team members who quickly become our go-to people when we have IT-related questions.”

Wrays initially chose First Focus as their managed IT service provider in part due to its national presence, as it could offer a broader range of services in more locations.

Lamb says: “First Focus meets these needs. They have a presence in every Australian state, meaning that if we open up a new office or need to add new staff to an existing one, we know there will be help available.”

‘(Lamb) The people at First Focus have become part of our team.’

From there, the relationship has grown.

Pierce says: “Since then, we’ve maintained momentum, taking on new service offerings when they become available and when they make sense for the business and our clients.”

What full-service IT looks like

While First Focus initially took over IT operations and support, today it provides the majority of Wrays ICT infrastructure and services, including:

  • IT support
  • IT budgeting
  • app licensing
  • cloud computing
  • vendor management
  • hardware procurement
  • enterprise identity services
  • cloud backup and disaster recovery
  • network deployment and management
  • vCIO strategic IT planning and consulting
  • cloud-call telephony and unified communications
  • cybersecurity (including detection, prevention, and education services)

In addition to ongoing services, First Focus has taken part in over sixty different IT projects for Wrays.

‘(Pierce) They are our IT, and it’s comforting to know that they’ll be on the end of the phone if there’s an issue.’

How to encourage natural integration

With many client-supplier relationships, there can be a lack of incentive for the supplier to find efficiencies for the client – as these advances have the capacity to reduce the provider’s revenue. This issue is compounded if the client lacks the ambition to re-invest any savings in further improvements.

A trustworthy IT partnership works best when both the client and supplier are committed to solving problems and implementing solutions using technology. In this scenario, the savings and benefits from one initiative can be re-invested in further endeavours. Both parties benefit from extending the capability of the IT environment and improving service delivery to the client’s internal teams and customers.

Trust in the service provider is a prerequisite, but so is the desire by both parties to fully collaborate toward shared goals.

Why push for proactive management?
  • If the solution provider can save the client resources in one area, these resources might enable growth in another area.
  • Better results for clients mean they can grow, and growth means more IT spending in the future.

Wrays grew to appreciate the impacts of this proactive approach and began treating First Focus as their internal IT.

How to tell if you’re in a successful relationship with your IT provider?

One fundamental way to measure your professional relationship with your service provider over time is through the level of integration. How thoroughly is your MSP integrated into your operations? Do you think of them as an external service, with relationships and conversations governed by service level agreements and ticketing metrics? Or do you consider their input when making strategic and tactical decisions?

‘(Lamb) Like any other business, when our executive managers need professional advice on achieving the organisation’s goals, they ask departments like HR and Finance. But we also ask First Focus for input on making it happen. Because they are our IT.’

So what makes this case such a success?

Engaging a provider with maturity, scale, and experience is a great starting point, but those characteristics alone do not provide the foundations that underpin a sustained partnership.

The fundamental building blocks of a successful relationship are:

  • shared goals
  • aligned values

These two aspects determine the clarity of the goal the two organisations are working to achieve. In the long term, matching expectations and behaviours help enable successful collaboration.

Lamb says: “They know who we are and how we work.”

‘(Lamb) It doesn’t matter if First Focus aren’t our employees. They’re our team, and we trust them.’

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