DWC added equipment warranty plans for security, surveillance, fire systems, parking control & security gates While the systems integration industry continues to chirp about moving to services and recurring monthly revenue (RMR), Sound Incorporated, Naperville, Ill., has been successfully working this angle for more than two decades. The privately held firm has been in business more than 50 years, starting in the school intercom and sound side of the business, and migrating into security, voice/data and integrated technologies. Protecting users: One of their primary differentiators has been their service and support warranty program and channel partnership with DWC, based in Alpharetta, Ga. DWC began its hardware warranty program, backed by sales training, marketing support, and total hardware system protection, in 1990. DWC Founder and CEO Rusty Bryan is focused on RMR, and believes the Bronze Warranty™ program helps integrators and their customers move from reactive, break-fix, time and material (T&M) services to a proactive model that takes the worries of hardware failure away from users. “Anyone can hawk hardware, but there needs to be more value for the user and the solutions provider,” says Bryan. “We provide all the tools and training and the established program helps integrators create RMR through a proven solution that makes customers sticky.” Working in conjunction with an actuarial firm and program underwriters, he says DWC’s plan offers the industry’s best hardware warranty – and that translates into a stronger integration company and dedicated, returning customers. “Hardware margins continue to erode, and systems integrators need differentiators,” he says. Security, data and voice plans DWC’s first warranty program focused on desktops and voice-connect services. As technology evolved and became more sophisticated, the company added equipment warranty plans for security, surveillance, fire systems, parking control and security gates. “Every integrator in the security and telecom hardware business wants to be recognised as having a different (and better) solution than their competitors,” says Bryan. “DWC Partners enjoy the distinction of being the best because they have a superior solution – one that includes extended parts coverage, power surge protection and a support offering for labor.” DWC’s first warranty program focused on desktops and voice-connect services Phillip Maulding is the president of Sound Inc., which has been with the DWC program since 1993. He’s witnessed the industry’s transformation from boxes to sophisticated networked technologies. And Maulding is always looking for ways to keep the company relevant while providing value-added services to customers. “We became a DWC Partner for the voice side of our business because it was an obvious fit. For our customers, and through the program, we could embed a complete five-year warranty. That elevated our company and the differentiation created allowed us to win more projects, including those we may not have won prior. In fact, once we had the plan in place, the first job we sold utilising DWC (a large PBX system) was against a competitor that previously we had difficulty winning against. The DWC warranty gave us the edge we needed. We use it as a differentiator to gain additional new sales and, by its very nature, to generate predictable RMR.” Customer base: With the DWC program in place, Maulding says customers can control their service, hardware and support costs. “It’s a complete support plan, and the customer’s total cost of ownership is lower than without a warranty and support plan in place. Customers don’t want to be hit with unplanned T&M costs – that can come back to haunt you and hurt the customer relationship. In addition, our sales force is extremely motivated because we have a secure hardware protection plan and a superior supplemental support agreement.” Maulding says Sound Inc. is the preferred technology solution provider to many high-profile customers who want a comprehensive support plan and assurance of 24/7 security and safety. “The customer satisfaction level is high, and we develop better relationships. It’s worked extremely well; no one else can provide this level of service support.” He adds that DWC provides sales training and marketing support to develop the culture behind selling the agreements. With the additional RMR, Sound Inc. focuses on technical training and installer certification. The recommended approach is to embed the cost-effective premium into every sale, thus fixing the variable costs of hardware in the support agreement. Sound Inc. will replace equipment or conduct repairs and invoice DWC for reimbursement. Maulding says offering a support plan requires the buy-in of the entire company. “We’ve been pleased with the program. It requires a certain mindset to sell RMR. You have to believe in the product and in its worth, but when you do, you have a differentiator,” he says.