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Network Survey & SOW Are Good Tools

29 May, 2014 By: Eric Stavola, MSCIS,MCSE,MCSA,N+,CDIA+

I’d like to talk about what I believe are some of the most underrated tools in our business today: the Network Survey and the Statement of Work (SOW) document. Oh sure, to some these are simply useless formalities that are seen as “just some added paper work’ with little to no importance. However, if written properly and used, these two documents can be your own personal gateway into professional services and increased revenues.

The increase in the demand for applications, software, and network services has sparked an increase in the demand for specialized services and installations. We are not just placing a box in a certain location anymore. We represent ourselves as consultants and experts in the field of managed services. Such bold statements lead to the sale.

However, those same statements can also create a large amount of work and possible headache if not set up correctly. As we all know that time is money, our goal is to have the network installation of our products go smoothly, seamlessly, and as fast as possible to gain more wallet share in the near future. 

Both the Network Survey and Statement of Work will aid in the installation while educating us all on expectations and the actual work to be done. Furthermore, by utilizing these documents, you are displaying a higher level of competence and organization to your potential customer. By having an up-to-date survey & SOW, you are showing your customer that you have the expertise to handle any and all of their network issues and/or concerns. Consider this list that can be used on both documents; and with some slight variations can lead to more sales in the area of Managed Services.

Network Survey - A Network Survey is a brief statement and overview of the potential client’s network. This survey should be no longer than one page long and always filled out by the customers IT/MIS personnel. Every company should develop their own personalized survey.

Should Include:

•           List any legacy applications: Older applications may need a bit more attention during installations.

•           IP Address: Any connected device on the network is going to need an IP address. By asking for it in advance you send a message of professionalism to the client.

•            SMTP Server: Scan to email needs this information. If your customer has no idea what an SMTP Server is, then this opens it up for you to offer network services as a value add to your customer - at a fee off course.

•            Signature Line: Have your customer sign off that everything is working correctly. Also include a Brief Statement that any changes made from here out may be chargeable at the rate of X dollars per hour.

Possible Variations:

•           Change Name: By changing the name to Installation Assurance Form you will get more sales people to know exactly what it does (assures proper installation)

•           Go Digital: Make the form easy access and online. This will ensure completion and easy routing to appropriate personnel.

•           Ask for Less: Sometimes when asking for so much technical information, you overwhelm your small-to-medium sized customer. By asking for less information the customer will be able to answer questions so you can get a better understanding of their current situation & needs.

Statement of Work - A Statement of Work (SOW) document, sometimes called a Scope of Work, is an agreed-upon statement on what work will be done to complete a project / installation of hardware or software.

Should Include:

•           Scope of Work: Define the specific actions your dealership will perform for the customer; an overview of proposed hardware and software.

•           Objection of Installation: Provide what specifics will be done on the project; how many hours for installation

•           Customers Responsibilities and Confidentiality: What is expected from the customer.

Possible Variations:

•           Understand IT: Spend the time to educate the sales and technical staff on the documents importance.

•           Use IT: Actually require that all software / application installs need a SOW.

•           Sell IT: Use it as a sales tool on defining all that you do on installation, etc.

By taking the time to utilize a Network Survey in conjunction with a Statement of Work, it will allow your company to establish clearly defined goals and milestones, as well as provide a continuous outline for tracking progress. When these tools are implemented correctly, they allow for communication and clearly defined expectations with your customer. It also protects both the dealership and the client by holding each one accountable. Remember, you should be paid for professional services rendered. A SOW allows for this to occur by providing written accountability.

Eric Stavola, M.ED, MS.CIS, MCSE, MCSA, CDIA+, N+, is Chief Operating Officer (COO) at WITT-COMPANY. Contact him at: (619) 379-3009 Cell / Email estavola@witt-company.com

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