Peg McGregor | Crain's

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Peg McGregor

Background:  

Technovation Solutions is an innovation center focused on the customer experience in the hospitality, healthcare, and travel industries with both front-of-house and back-of-house solutions. The company aggregates different technologies from partners in industries that handle everything from guest-facing applications to supply chain management. Prospective clients visit the Technovation Center where partners' products are on display for clients to test out and interact with.

The Mistake:

We did not leverage our partners as effectively or aggressively to build collaborative solutions. While we always had that concept in our minds when we were a startup, our initial focus was on being out there selling the product just like our partners do.

So we were out there pounding the pavement, trying to sell this particular application or that particular infrastructure piece. Now we look at what the market is asking for and why, and what it solves for them, and then bringing partners together to build technology solutions to bring those items to bear.

[For instance,] a product may fit in beautifully in a particular hotel operation or in a healthcare operation, but in order to implement it, there are five other things it has to be integrated with.

What we do now is really look at building those partner collaborations. That may be something like bringing an app partner together with a room controls-and-automation partner and a platform partner who can collaborate to pull it all together. And then we can take that to market as a solution.

Now we look at what the market is asking for and why.

The Lesson:

We didn’t start that process early on. It's something that we're working really aggressively toward, so we're taking a really different stance with our clients.

It's more of a consultative, solution sale as opposed to a traditional product sale, and we really had to work on changing our focus in terms of being able to do that because a solution sale tends to be a bit more complicated and it also tends to be a slightly longer process.

It's been an education process, not only for us as Technovation but for our partners. It's really been a process for us to get here and I think if I had had more foresight we would have started this a lot sooner because the traction we're getting now, based on this model, is really superb.

Our clients now come to us — and say, "We've got a problem. How can you help us solve it?" — instead of looking for a particular product. We can and do still do that, but this other component is becoming a much more salient part of what we do.

From the client's perspective, they're not dealing with 65 different vendors to get multiple things taken care of and that's a huge advantage for them. For the partners, there are a lot of really positive downstream impacts: Maybe our supply chain management partner is working on setting up a new property and comes back to us and says, "Hey, this restaurant chain is looking to do digital menus." Now we can do that integration and go in with a supply chain partner with a unique solution that can be brought to the table.

It just changes the dynamic of the sale. It gives us a much better opportunity to maximize success with the partner ecosystem that we have.

Follow Technovation Solutions on Twitter at @TechnovationCtr.

Photo provided by Technovation Solutions

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