Business

Smart Technology Investments: Trabon Marketing

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Five sure bets for Kansas City businesses shopping for new technology in an age of over-choice. Part 1: Trabon Marketing.

The emotional angst that comes with purchasing new technology for personal use is something most individuals have experienced at one time or another. Imagine, then, the stress and difficulty of making similar investment decisions for an entire company.

The process represents a significant investment in both time and capital for both small to medium-sized businesses and corporate giants. It is a complex process, navigating the research, acquisition, transition and success tracking phases of a smart technology investment.

Several area companies have travelled the path successfully and bring unique perspectives for making it work for others in all industries.

Trabon Marketing

Kansas City-based Trabon keeps its finger on the pulse of smart technology at all times, given the nature of its business.

Trabon is a marketing services, IT consulting and enterprise software firm, whose clients represent the restaurant, manufacturing, construction, human resource management, retail and health care industries. Its Strategic Technology Group taps and develops leading technologies to precisely tailor solutions that meet its clients’ specific needs. Meanwhile, its Marketing Services Group ensures an organization’s brand consistency across multiple locations and users with integrated, centralized data management portals.

L to R: Senior consultant Jeff Bruntzel, President Greg Deitch of Trabon Marketing, Kansas City.

Through its expertise, Trabon streamlines the processes for organizing, creating, proofing, printing and distributing multiple versions of marketing deliverables, like menus and sales collateral, while centralizing data management for websites, electronic menus, mobile apps and more.

“At the time of our last big technology investment, six or seven years ago, there weren’t many options. We began doing research through the Internet and then contacted our preferred vendor to set up demos to make sure it wasn’t all just smoke and mirrors,” Trabon Director of IT Devin Hartley says.

With an aging server and a growing client roster, Trabon made the decision to switch from a physical to a virtual server environment. The company knew the switch could lower costs dramatically. Trabon’s investment was $30,000-$50,000. Before the switch, the company had 20 physical servers. Afterward, it turned five servers into 100 virtual servers, saving the company more than 300 percent just in hardware costs alone. The switch to a virtual environment was beneficial in disaster recovery, preventing some disasters, repairing minor issues and creating less redundancy.

Trabon did its homework. In addition to researching its options via the Internet, Trabon worked with a trusted vendor to pore through numerous demonstrations. The key to assessing the demos was proof that the features actually worked and that they met Trabon’s specific needs.

“Software and hardware vendors have a tendency to oversell, so it’s important to look for proof points. For example, how new is the software? How many others have installed it? How proven is your vendor?” Hartley says. “Have your vendor do a demo with your information.”

Trabon President Greg Deitch echoed Hartley’s sentiment

“Something I’ve seen over the years is a new vendor will show up and say the product he or she is selling generates even more reports than ever before. But these are never the reports that my clients want,” Deitch says. “If it doesn’t work with your information or data, then what good is it to you?” Sometimes businesses are forced into rushed decisions about a new technology acquisition. If it’s high risk, start small with a pilot, he says, and then track the results.

“Even if it’s the right decision, it doesn’t hurt to move in stages,” Deitch says. “Unfortunately, few organizations take the time to track results, as much as we’d like to think they do. The whirlwind of everyday activity frequently gets in the way, particularly in businesses that are small to medium in size.”

Trabon senior consultant Jeff Bruntzel says don’t overlook related costs of a new technology purchase – a common mistake made by business owners.

“You need to factor in soft costs, like software upgrades, the cost of training, implementation costs and the disruption to daily operations and downtime. It’s all about evaluating the total cost,” Bruntzel says.