Today we have exciting news: we’ve partnered with Lewan Technology and Xerox as part of our relaunched CU Works Technology service! We can hardly wait to share our new services with the credit union industry, because we truly feel this IT offering is precisely what credit unions have been requesting for a long time. Lewan is a Xerox company and has the advantage of providing an intimate customer experience with national reach for resource needs.
Throughout the past three years, you may know that we’ve conducted multiple national surveys on pain points and needed resources. The findings continue to uncover a common theme: there is a substantial need for flexible and cost-effective IT services, particularly at a strategic level. We were thrilled to find that Lewan offered a broad scope of IT support, project and CIO/CISO level services that can be scaled “fractionally” to each credit union’s unique needs. Furthermore, their entire Managed IT product offering can be utilized in this manner. We feel strongly that together we can offer CU-specific services that will fill a critical gap in the IT market. This works perfectly for credit unions that already have a trusted IT function and those that have none at all.
Our IT Service is part of the CUSO’s suite of CU back office services, including outsourced accounting, compliance, and HR.
We sat down with Lewan CTO Scott Pelletier to talk about what makes Lewan completely and totally different from other IT providers. The service will be launching in September, so stay tuned for more updates.
We chose to partner with you because we were looking for an IT company with a higher level of service. Can you explain your client-oriented approach?
Scott Pelletier, Lewan Technologies: We’ve always taken pride of having a high level of customer service, but five years ago we asked, “How do we take it to the next level?” We now have client experience managers: think of them as service delivery managers who are a single point of accountability for a customer to communicate with. This team provides customer advocacy and ensures all aspects of service delivery are working the way they should. We also have project managers who provide a similar function for project outcomes.
Several years ago these teams were separate. What I found was while the job of a project manager and a client experience manager are different, the net outcome is the same: ensure the client’s success. So why don’t we put them on the same team to improve to improve coordination and call it something? We call it the client success department. If you’re performing a project in someone’s account, the client experienced manager would really like to know that. The combining of those resources really raised our game and the level of communication got even better.
^ An example of Lewan’s detailed client service dashboard, highlighting cases, dates, and timelines by each manager
When it comes to our outsourced services, we don’t want to be just another vendor. We’re part of their team. Can you talk about your approach as a vendor?
SP: Sure. One of our sayings here is we want our team to care about the customers’ IT environment more than they do. The client is running a credit union, not running IT. We really, truly want to be on the same side of the table as the customer, and that’s a part of our culture. It’s not us and them. For example, if we’re managing an aspect of the customers infrastructure where another vendors software resides and the problem looks to be with the software, we’ll call the software vendor on behalf of the customer too because we all speak IT. Having a customer in the middle of that is just a nightmare – I don’t know why MSPs (managed service providers) do that. We make sure that we are talking to the provider directly to try to remedy issues quickly. After all, we are part of your IT department.
I’ve had experience with your client-centric approach. I got a call on a Saturday from Lewan telling me that our firewall in Virginia was down and we have a concern. They alerted me, which I found very refreshing. It’s one thing for me to call on Saturday and get assistance, but for my MSP to call me?
SP: Yes. One of our goals to be more proactive than anyone else. We have a team of folks whose sole job is to create proactivity through automation, creation of bots and automated communication so we don’t miss anything.
The IT managed services market is crowded. How are you different from the other players in this industry?
SP: First, our culture. There’s a lot to that – not just a culture of friendly people, but living by our actual mission statement: passion, teamwork & accountability. We have a passion for what we do, helping customers, as well as being accountable. When you say you’re going to do something, make sure you do it. We also invest in our people and they appreciate that. As a result of our culture, our longevity is incredible. I’ve been here 24 years and I’m not rare. It’s very common to see people stay here 10, 20, 30, even 40 years. With so much less turnover, we can provide superior support to our customers.
Our flexible managed IT approach is actually very unique. I call it “fractional consumption.” Whether the client is lacking a particular skillset or simply capacity, we can provide all IT needs in fractions. For example, it’s very difficult to hire 1.2 people in a particular skillset. For us, that’s not a problem at all, and they never get sick, go on vacation or sleep since we have teams in each area running 24x7x365. We also provide services to complement the client’s team when that makes sense. The client may want us responsible for all of IT, a portion of IT or to complement the current IT team with additional skills, tools and availability to make them better. We built our backend operational systems, so we know what coverage level with which components we have with all of our clients. We can mix and match those in the same account, which I’m finding to be very rare.
Our innovation engine really sets us apart from the competition as well. By having a culture of innovation, it supports so many great ideas. I’m the CTO and I come up with maybe 10% of the ideas – the rest come from my people and frankly, our customers. We get a collective brain share of all of our staff and customers. Encouraging that culture of innovation allows us to bring exciting solutions back to our customers.
Do you think more satisfied employees equals more satisfied clients?
SP: For sure. When happy employees interact with a client, they’re providing a much higher level of engagement. We invest in them, provide training and they’re eligible to attend our President’s Club, often an exclusive event held only for Sales departments, we want to ensure our services team is recognized too. We’ve had people that started here on the copier team working in the print management group, going all the way through to becoming senior level network engineers. It’s an awesome system for building lifelong careers and that’s unique these days.