Our continuous readers, partners, and customers know that earlier this year, I wrote a blog post on the State of the SSP, From My Desk to Yours. In this post, I outlined SSP’s core values and talked about our growth, our success, and our plans for the future within the electric, gas, water and telecom industries.
I would start by echoing the sentiment of that post related to SSP Innovations being a market leader in quality delivery of Esri and Schneider Electric solutions across our targeted verticals. The trust that over 60 utilities and telecoms have now placed in us has brought this success based on the delivery commitment and long term relationships we establish via each engagement.
Our #1 company core value is honesty and integrity, and my personal goal is to be as transparent as possible with every customer, partner, and employee that we have the privilege of working with. Today I want to continue that culture of transparency by updating you all on a change in our industry.
SSP began its full-time Schneider Electric/Telvent/Miner & Miner services practice eight years ago and has grown steadily each year since that time. Just over four years ago, Telvent asked SSP to be one of its first three implementation partners in the newly-formed partner program under Andy Bennett and Kenton Graber.
The principles of the Telvent partner program were based heavily on the success of Esri’s partner network. As stated by Telvent, the implementation partner program was formed for organizations that have a proven track record of success working with and supporting the ArcFM™ Solution. The implementation partners possess a knowledge base and skill set within their own organizations allowing them to provide an array of services to customers including leading ArcFM™ Solution implementations. The partner program was reserved for those organizations looking for strategic alignment and a collaborative relationship within the domestic GIS market.
These principles genuinely defined SSP at the time they were written. Based on widespread successful ArcFM™ work across many customers leading up to that point, SSP was grandfathered into the program, bypassing certification requirements. SSP was honored to be among the initial partners that helped drive the program to the height of its success soon thereafter.
During the last 4+ years, both companies mutually benefited from a true partnership which resulted in the overall expansion of the ArcFM™ footprint within the domestic United States. During that time, the market has evolved and SSP’s business has grown.
In recent months, Schneider Electric has been reevaluating their partner program. Through that process, Schneider has elected to make several changes to the program, including dissolving the partnerships with those partners that they believe compete too heavily with Schneider in the services realm.
SSP Innovations was one of those partners affected by this change. While I am personally disappointed in the decision, I do respect Schneider’s right to make it. I also take it as a huge endorsement of the value that SSP and the other implementation partners bring to this community. Schneider was clear that this was in no way due to a competency issue but was solely related to the economics of their market strategy.
SSP was a top-notch ArcFM™ implementer prior to the partner program being established, and we will continue to provide these quality services moving forward. We sincerely appreciate Schneider’s formal endorsement of SSP over the most recent years of our operations, and we look forward to continuing to grow our Esri and ArcFM™ business in the years to come.
We still believe the ArcFM™ suite is the market-leading software extension for utilities and telecoms. And we know that SSP is the strongest firm you can count on for your services needs surrounding product implementations, upgrades, customization and systems integration. We’ll rely on our delivery success record to say the rest.
With that said, we know you may have questions about how this decision will affect SSP, Schneider Electric, and our valued customers and partners. To that end, we have put together a list of frequently asked questions about this change.
You can review the entire list here and we encourage you to submit any additional questions you might have via our contact page or the comments section. We are committed to answering these questions and publishing the responses for other readers who may have the same or similar questions.
Fundamentally, the way this change affects our customers is related to the logistics of your project implementation. When SSP identifies the occasional product bug, we will work with you to submit the bug to Schneider Electric instead of submitting it directly ourselves.
This practice has inherent benefits for our customers; we actually already do this on some of our larger support accounts to allow the customer to have visibility to the issues. And don’t worry, we’ll still be there to provide all the needed detail along the way.
Our customers all pay annual support and maintenance fees to Schneider Electric, and Schneider is committed to providing the same level of core product support that they have provided over the past years. As always, the product support will only be utilized if the issue is truly a product issue. SSP will help make that determination and will provide the supporting technical detail you need to allow Schneider to work it effectively.
The other significant change is that you won’t see SSP folks answering questions directly on Schneider Electric’s Exchange website or presenting at the LINK conference. In the past, we have supported Schneider and the ArcFM™ community by extending our expertise to their forums and conferences and have received a lot of positive feedback from the customer community.
While this practice will end, rest assured, our tenured staff is still intact and available to answer questions via our website or email. We’ll continue to write our industry-leading Energy Advisor blog posts and case studies. And you’ll continue to see a large presence from us at all of the Esri industry conferences.
I wanted you to receive this information directly from me. My staff and I have been in the Esri/ArcFM™ community for a long time and know many, if not most of you, personally. If you have further questions beyond our FAQ page, we’d love to hear from you directly and are happy to discuss our future together. Our commitment to delivery, relationship, and customer success is unwavering. We provided quality ArcFM™ services yesterday and we’ll still offer them tomorrow. As always, we appreciate the constant vote of confidence you give us and commit to never taking it for granted.