What is “Vendor Neutral”?

One of the things that separates CITS from other MSP’s is that we are “vendor-neutral.” This doesn’t mean that we don’t have our favorite vendors – we like Dell, Netgear, Mikrotik and Cisco among other manufactures. What “vendor-neutral” means to us is that we don’t recommend a piece of hardware or software based on the commission we get in return. In fact, we do not make money off selling hardware and software to our clients that have an agreement with us. When a service based company profits from selling hardware/software they are putting themselves at conflict with the client. When the support company makes a commission or a spiff for recommending a certain brand it puts them at conflict with the client’s needs. We want to be a partner with our clients and to avoid conflicts of interest.

Recently a client of mine chose a different VoIP partner than we recommended. When I saw the quote I recognized the router that was selected. The VoIP provider charged $350 for a $60 router! This might have included setup but there was a separate line item for “system installation.” Furthermore the provider did not know how to configure critical pieces of the router. Fortunately, I am familiar with the router and was able to make the necessary changes.

Another example is a client chose to disregard my computer quote (a Dell quote that was provided within their agreement and in which I would not have made a dime) and decided to get a competing brand since the quote was less (it turns out that it was sold by another vendor’s son who made a commission off the sale). When I went to setup the computer I informed them that the computer they got didn’t include a certain version of Microsoft Office that was required for their other critical software. Furthermore, one reason I don’t like the brand they chose is because it comes with a lot of preloaded software and it has already caused complaints from the user. The client ended up spending more money than they would have if they had just gone with my quote. My quote was based on my client’s needs not my profit.