Celerity builds client satisfaction with financing

Published on 23-Aug-2011

Validated on 10 Jun 2013

"Financing was speedily arranged - it quickly became obvious that this schedule was ideal for us. Financing allowed us to proceed with the solution without delay with costs funded by a payment plan that was tailored to suit." - Conal Furie, IT Manager for Arnold Clark

Customer:
Celerity Limited

Industry:
Computer Services

Deployment country:
United Kingdom

Solution:
IGF

Overview

Celerity Limited is an IBM Premier Business Partner with offices throughout the UK. Their clients range from medium to large enterprises across all industries, as well as public sector firms. As a specialist IT consulting and integration company, Celerity has been delivering dynamic infrastructure and enterprise-class solutions successfully, on time and to budget. Combining established processes, methodologies and products, developed in partnership with industry leading vendors, they provide innovative solutions that transform business objectives into tangible and measurable results.

Business need:
The solutions and services provided by Celerity are extremely important to customers but often require significant investment which delayed some customer agreements. Celerity found that customers readily understand the value of IT infrastructure solutions but that stretched IT budgets made them extremely reluctant to spend. Further, even after contracts were established, Celerity sometimes received payments intermittently. It wanted to solve these issues by offering financing as part of its services. It believed that reliable financing for its customers would enable business improvements.

Solution:
Celerity made IBM Global Financing an integral part of its business. As the company expected, financed sales help it build customer relationships, manage working capital and reduce trading risks. The Celerity sales staff regularly employs Global Financing; its attractiveness to customers helps close deals more quickly, which is helpful for Celerity and the customers. The Celerity sales team most often uses loans from Global Financing because they are easy for customers to understand, they are flexible and they can finance complete solutions, including software and services.

Benefits:
By making IBM Global Financing a regular part of its business, Celerity closes deals more quickly and receives payments faster and more predictably. Because Global Financing offers competitive rates combined with flexible quoting capabilities, Celerity increased its competitiveness in the IT services market. Finally, the service also helps the company more effectively manage its working capital and pay less for credit.

Case Study

Celerity Limited is an IBM Premier Business Partner with offices

throughout the UK. Their clients range from medium to large
enterprises across all industries, as well as public sector organisations.
As a specialist IT consulting and integration company, Celerity has
been delivering dynamic infrastructure and enterprise-class solutions
successfully, on time and to budget, since 2002. Combining established
processes, methodologies and products, developed in partnership with
industry leading vendors, they provide innovative solutions that transform
business objectives into tangible and measurable results.

‘We have used IBM Global Financing for many years and it’s become an
integral part of our business model’ says Chris Roche, Celerity’s MD.
‘Financed sales help us build client relationships, and they help us reduce
trading risks and manage working capital too’.

Over time, financing has become a natural part of Celerity’s sales
activities. ‘Our sales people use financing regularly’ says Commercial
Director Chris Wilson. ‘They find it helps to speed negotiations: And if
we can agree the terms of a contract more quickly that has to be good
news, both for us and for each client’.

IT financing can be a lease or a loan, and complements the various
sources companies can use to obtain cash for their investments. The
Celerity sales team uses loans most often as they are easy to understand,
flexible and can finance the complete solution, including software and
services. ‘There’s really no one-size-fits-all when we look at financing a
client’s IT solution. I think it’s important that we can provide the
flexibility for a client’s total IT financing needs’.

When you are discussing a cloud solution, or how business analytics can
make an organisation more competitive, customers readily understand the
ideas. The challenge is to work out how to get from where they are now,
to implementing the attractive proposal: IT budgets are always stretched,
and spending large amounts of cash is always sensitive. ‘Most clients really
want to look at projects from an affordability perspective: they don’t want
a temporary budget issue, or cash flow to be the inhibitor for a strategic
investment. Financing can help them to get started on a business
transformation or a technology transition.’

Generally Celerity consultants find that low rate loans are a good place to
start the negotiation. Sometimes interest free loans are available and often
that can seal the deal. In some cases, a loan with an initial three-month
deferral period is preferred, to get a closer match between the benefits
flowing in from the investment and the loan repayments flowing out.
For some clients, it is important to look at their technology needs and
how frequently their systems will be refreshed. When there’s an intention
to refresh technology regularly, a lease will probably expand the IT
budget’s purchasing power. A lease helps to align the financial plan
with the technology life-cycle and the buying pattern. ‘Our sales team
introduces financing concepts, and handles loans. When it becomes clear
a lease is the right option we generally call in a specialist from IGF to
advise on the best alternative.’

Financing a Server Optimisation solution

Arnold Clark is Europe’s largest independently owned, family run car
company. It needed to modernise its IT infrastructure in line with a new
data centre that would allow it to continue to control costs and improve
service levels. The proposed solution involved an investment in new
hardware, software and implementation services.

Celerity worked with IBM Global Financing to offer Arnold Clark a
deferred payment solution. An initial 90-day deferral was followed by
payments spread over the next year, all at zero percent interest, this made
the project much more affordable, taking into account the challenging
trading conditions within the automotive retailing market where
controlling costs and achieving maximum value for money is vital.
‘Financing was speedily arranged’ said Conal Furie, IT Manager for
Arnold Clark. ‘We discussed a variety of alternatives and it quickly
became obvious that this schedule was ideal for us. Financing allowed
us to proceed with the solution without delay with costs funded by a
payment plan that was tailored to suit.’



Celerity uses IBM Global Financing’s Rapid Online Financing tool. With
this web service they can act as the branch office of a financing house.
Rapid Online Financing gives Celerity immediate support for quotes,
credit checks and contracts so their sales team can offer a variety of
different quotes: for financing periods up to five years, for different loan
amounts and with payment holidays. ‘It really helps our clients that we
can so easily provide a variety of alternative quotes. The credit check
process is usually completed in minutes. Then when we agree the right
sort of offer with our client we can go ahead and print the contract
immediately.’

Once the negotiations are concluded, using IBM Global Financing offers
Celerity advantages which are transparent to their clients: financed sales
remove risks of default and uncertainty in receivables. Once invoiced and
accepted by the client, payment for a financed sale is received quickly and
predictably within 10 working days.

For very large orders, which might stress Celerity’s lines of credit, they
make use of IGF Commercial Financing. This provides a payment
guarantee to the distributor, once the credit risk for their client has
been accepted.

Chris Roche summarises the financing effect for Celerity: ‘We’re very
enthusiastic about using IBM Global Financing’ he says. ‘We know they
offer really good rates to our clients so we can recommend them with
confidence. We conclude sales faster when we sell with IGF leases and
loans, so the negotiation is more efficient for both parties. Then when the
solution is installed we are certain of payment and we’re paid faster; so it’s
easier to manage our working capital and we pay less for credit too.’

Legal Information

©Copyright IBMCorporation 2011IBMUnited Kingdom LimitedPO Box 41North HarbourPortsmouthHampshirePO63AUUnited KingdomProduced in the United States of AmericaJuly 2011All Rights ReservedIBM, the IBMlogo and ibm.com are trademarks or registered trademarks ofInternational Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries, orboth. If these and other IBMtrademarked terms are marked on their first occurrencein this information with a trademark symbol (®or ™), these symbols indicate U.S.registered or common law trademarks owned by IBMat the time this information waspublished. Such trademarks may also be registered or common law trademarks in othercountries. A current list of IBMtrademarks is available on the web at ‘Copyright andtrademark information’ at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtmlOther company, product and service names may be trademarks or service marks of others.This case study is an example of how one customer uses IBMproducts. There is noguarantee of comparable results.References in this publication to IBMproducts or services do not imply thatIBMintends to make them available in all countries in which IBMoperates.IBMGlobal Financing offerings are provided through IBMCredit LLC in the United States and other IBMsubsidiaries and divisions worldwide to qualifiedcommercial and government clients. Rates are based on a client’s credit rating,financing terms, offering type, equipment type and options, and may vary by country.Other restrictions may apply. Rates and offerings are subject to change, extension orwithdrawal without notice.