Our biggest competitors at OTRS Group are not necessarily global players – no, they are in fact the grey market providers. These are companies that sell OTRS through illegal distribution channels or without authorization from us, the official product manufacturer.
One of the reasons why these grey market providers immediately catch the eye of businesses is the unbeatable price. So, it is understandable that enterprises, which generally have tight budgets, jump at the lower priced alternative.
However, I am certain that it is cheaper to work with the official manufacturer on a long-term basis. Direct cooperation with the manufacturer usually pays off within one year. Sustainable added value is created for the customer. Why? Let us take a closer look at the advantages:
By working with the manufacturer, customers can be sure that the problem can be solved as quickly as possible and with the help of experienced experts.
Professional advice in the fastest possible way
Software regulates business processes, enables better customer service, improves resource planning and much more; therefore functioning software is essential for companies to be able to stay in business. So it’s no wonder that fast help is indispensable when the software doesn’t work. By working with the manufacturer, customers can be sure that the problem can be solved as quickly as possible and with the help of experienced experts.
Unfortunately, grey market providers are not able to react as quickly. They first have to understand the problem. Then, without in-depth product knowledge, they must discover a solution themselves. If possible, they may even need to contact the manufacturer in order to know what to do. And, sometimes, they simply can’t offer a solution. A lot of time is lost here which can be expensive for your customers.
Holistic approach to software development leads to stability
In contrast to grey market suppliers, product manufacturers pursue a far more holistic development approach. They know the industry, current trends and customer needs well enough to improve the product holistically and make it a sustainable long-term option for customers. Additionally, through constant dialogue with the customer, manufacturers know exactly how to configure the software in order to achieve the greatest possible benefit for their customers.
This creates trust on both sides. Trust is one reason why OTRS Group earned 83 percent of sales from recurring revenue in 2018. For customers, this is a huge benefit as it ensures the long-term stability of the partnership. There’s no risk of OTRS Group leaving them stranded without consulting, support or upgrades. In contrast, grey market providers do not always have such stable financial reserves, and it becomes a high risk partnership for the customer.
In dialogue with the manufacturer and through regular surveys, the customer can also express criticism and give feedback.
Transparency in processes and co-determination
This leads me to another point: In cooperation with the manufacturer, customers are constantly kept up-to-date. Whether in personal conversations, through newsletters or by social media, customers always receive the latest information about the company and its product development. When is the next launch planned? What kind of new features, patches and updates will there be? What will pricing be like? How do other customers use the software, and what can I learn from this for my company?
In dialogue with the manufacturer and through regular surveys, the customer can also express criticism and give feedback. Generally, manufacturers take this very seriously and include it in product development plans. When he has a new idea, the customer can be sure that his vote will count.
Security – especially with regard to cloud solutions
Last but not least, I would like to turn to the critical issue of security – an issue that is always in the media. Just recently, British Airways, Equifax and Integrated Health Information Systems in Singapore have had to pay high fines for data protection violations. Plus, the growing interest in cloud solutions – according to Bitkom, two out of three companies use cloud-based software – also makes the topic of security more explosive.
When cooperating with the manufacturer, customers do not have to worry about IT security: security gaps are closed as quickly as possible. All updates and patches are produced by the manufacturer himself and are implemented immediately. This drastically minimizes the risk of data loss.
This is most often not the case with grey market providers. It is not unusual for customer systems to become obsolete because the “cobbled-together” grey market provider systems have broken the original software architecture in such a way that necessary updates can no longer be applied. Thus, companies and their customer data become easy victims of hacker attacks.
We have often had to deal with customers who have bitterly regretted working with grey market vendors. So I hope these four arguments were convincing.
Have you had a bad experience with a grey market provider – or, would you like to learn more about OTRS in general? Then don’t hesitate to get in touch.