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ISM Article

Making a Statement

5 Sep, 2006 By: Eric Stavola, Witt Company imageSource

Making a Statement

Last night, while watching reruns of Star Trek and eating some brain food to
retain my ongoing geek status, I saw a movie preview for Miami Vice. I started
to reflect on the 80’s, including pop icons Madonna, Bon Jovi, and the mighty
Prince. Big Hair, spandex and fashionably loud colors defined the style of those
days. Things seemed bolder yet easier than now. The copier business seemed a lot
simpler then as well. Remember analog units with high gross profits on every
deal, and connectivity meant plugging a machine into the wall socket?

Today we have hundreds of options on our MFP’s and literally endless software
options available to our customers. It can leave a sales rep, sales engineer and
dealer/owner awe struck at times, not to mention creating what seems to be
never-ending installations, often due to customer call backs because of their
own negligence. So how do we take control of an installation and utilize our
value added services to satisfy a customer or potential one? How do we hold
ourselves accountable to provide the service we say we can or, more importantly,
how do we hold our clients accountable for their part

of an installation?

When you factor in printing, scanning, archival, retrieval, OCR software,
workflows etc., there needs to be accountability and communication throughout
the installation process, large or small. While a network survey (as discussed
in this July’s imageSource) is helpful, there still needs to be more clarity,
communication and accountability from both sides. Fortunately, a Statement of
Work document will do just that.


A Statement of Work (SOW) document, sometimes called a scope of work, is an
agreed-upon statement of what work is required to complete a
project/installation of hardware or software. The Statement of Work provides the
first summary of the job to be done. It describes the initial problem, be it
software or hardware, as well as the users and the user environment. The overall
technical capabilities of the system are described as well as what is and is not
included in the installation. It is a baseline document that holds you as well
as your customer accountable: outlining the goals, constraints, scope and
success criteria. 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. SOWs should include the following: work to be performed,
location of the work, period of performance and timeline, deliverable schedule,
and any special requirements (security clearances, travel required, special
skills or knowledge). A detailed outline of ideas that a SOW can provide may be
found online or by contacting me for further information.

When a dealer utilizes such tools as a network survey and SOW properly, it
allows for communication and clearly defined expectations with the customer. It
also protects both the dealership and the client by holding each one
accountable. I met a restaurant owner who cut his no show reservations by 40
percent simply by having the hostess change the statement of “please call if you
are going to cancel your reservation to “will you please call.” Getting their
customers to simply say yes held them accountable and delivered a return.
Accountability is the key when it comes to charging your customer for services
rendered. Remember, you should be paid for professional services delivered and a
SOW allows for this to occur by providing written accountability.

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