ServiceKey Puts Partners First


When cloud-based solution provider Kalotech won a U.S. Army contract last fall to service Cisco equipment, there was a lot riding on the deal.

The Army was depending on Kalotech to not only save the government money, but to ensure network uptime with stellar service. Kalotech, Alexandria, Va., knew that poor performance on the contract could lead to a big loss in existing and even potential new business.

Fortunately, Kalotech was relying on ServiceKey, which works with partners providing services under the partner brand on computer equipment from major vendors including Cisco, Hewlett-Packard and IBM.

The U.S. Army was “blown away” by ServiceKey’s outstanding performance on several services calls, said Sean Burke, president of Kalotech. As a result, Kalotech is working on closing a pipeline of well more than $1 million in services contracts with ServiceKey as its provider of choice. “Lots of companies provide third-party services, but a lot of them just don’t perform,” Burke said. “ServiceKey has the same attitude we do: The customer comes first.”

ServiceKey partners, meanwhile, are generating gross profit margins anywhere from five times to 15 times higher than traditional vendor services contracts. Every ServiceKey engagement is, in effect, a turnkey service solution for the partner with a dedicated program manager, project manager and technical account manager. ServiceKey does the heavy lifting, providing diagnostic and on-site services. But the solution provider gets the credit and maintains the customer relationship. ServiceKey has a 100 percent channel-focused culture and business model.

More solution providers are tapping ServiceKey for everything from basic warranty and maintenance services to disaster recovery, managed services and even support for cloud/hosted services environments.

Rorke Data, an operating group of Avnet and maker of the Galaxy RAID, SAN and NAS line, is using ServiceKey in deals all over the globe. “Our reach and scale is significantly expanded by working with ServiceKey,” said Joseph Swanson, group executive vice president for Rorke. With ServiceKey’s muscle, Rorke is winning deals it would never be able to take on on its own. What separates ServiceKey from the rest of the pack, said Swanson, is “how they react on-site and the confidence level they give to the customer.” That’s no small statement given how critical services are to customer satisfaction and partner profitability.

Norcross, Ga.-based ServiceKey, for its part, is profiting from the IT services boom. The company’s sales were up 23 percent in 2011, said ServiceKey President Angela Vines. And it is ramping up for even bigger growth with the hiring of Graham King, a 30-year IT services veteran. King, by the way, sees a services void being created by industry heavyweights tightening their belts at the expense of customer relationships. “I’d like to see services get back to the old-school model where the customer comes first,” said King. That’s just what ServiceKey has done for its solution provider customers.

BACKTALK: Do you have any ServiceKey success stories to share? Contact Steve Burke at steve.burke@ubm.com.