Zanders and IT2
A partnership based on respect and independence
A partnership based on mutual respect and independence Zanders and IT2 Zanders has worked closely with IT2 since 2006 on various client implementation projects.
They are partners and yet both companies are proud of their independence.So how does this complementary yet unbrased relationship work?
IT2, the provider of the IT2 treasury management system that supports a range of treasury functions, was founded in 1982 and has offices in New York, London and Hong Kong.
But it wasn’t until far more recently that they set upon a strategy to create a partner network that would allow them to extend their reach to local markets. Zanders, with its intimate knowledge of treasury operations and its objective, tailor-made approach to consulting, was a perfect fit.
Kevin Grant, CEO at IT2, recalls that Zanders became IT2’s first official implementation partner in 2008 soon after he took up his role at the company. He says: “When I took over my position at IT2 in 2007, part of our strategy was to create a partner network that would allow us to tap extra resources, language and business culture.
“Ultimately what both companies are trying to achieve is a positive client experience with IT2’s product and with the consulting service from Zanders.”
So for me it was an ambition that Zanders would become a partner of IT2 in the Benelux region. Zanders was the first of those partnerships.” Bart Timmerman, consultant at Zanders, has been involved in several important implementation projects with IT2.
He explains how the partnership grew from the interest shown by Zanders’ clients in IT2’s system: “We had to get to know IT2 and the product really well as we could see a number of our clients were interested in using it – so this was a driver at the start of this partnership. Since then it’s been very successful, with several implementations completed.”
Frank dialogue and independence
IT2’s relationship with Zanders goes back much further than 2008 however. Kevin Grant first met Zanders partners Judith van Paassen, Sander van Tol and founder Chris Zanders in the late 90s. He explains that a relationship of personal trust and understanding developed: “We are able to have a very open and frank dialogue – those are the things I appreciate about Zanders.”
Despite their close working relationship, both companies are keen to emphasize their objectivity and independence. Grant sums it up by saying: “Both companies are fiercely independent – and are protective of their own credibility and independence in the market.
Because we are so protective of it, we demand the highest standards of each other. This very positive and collaborative competition ensures that together we deliver a best practice solution for our mutual client.”
And it is this emphasis on client satisfaction that makes the partnership work for both companies. Kevin Grant says: “Ultimately what both companies are trying to achieve is a positive client experience with IT2’s product and with the consulting service from Zanders.”
Bart Timmerman echoes this sentiment, saying: “The objective is to have a good return on investment for the client. We make sure the client makes the best use of IT2 in order to streamline their process and make them as efficient and effective as is practical, in all ways.”
The short chain of command in each company ensures that they can respond quickly to unforeseen circumstances and their priority is always the client.
Kevin Grant reiterates this point: “Both organizations are of a size where they do not wish to fail in any implementation. We are both extremely focused in ensuring that the client gets full benefit from their engagement with Zanders in redefining their processes and with IT2’s product day-in, day-out.”
People, processes and product
So far Zanders has carried out successful implementations of IT2’s treasury management system for several large corporates in Europe. Bart Timmerman explains: “Zanders was able to help the client on the one hand to understand IT2’s product, and on the other hand for the vendor to understand the client and I think there is a very good fit there.”
By developing a close relationship with the client, Zanders is able to understand their strengths and weaknesses. They assess what the treasury department can do to support the organization’s needs and what processes should be put in place. At that point Zanders can advise on what technology can support the necessary work flows.
The combination of the communication, the understanding of the processes and the technology are all important to each implementation project, as Kevin Grant points out: “Any project is a combination of people, processes and product.” And it’s worth noting that the processes invariably come before the product, because both Zanders’ consultancy and IT2’s treasury management system use an approach that focuses on the client’s critical business issues, enabling the customer to design its work flows together with the consultant and to then select and implement a system to suit those processes.
Bart Timmerman says: “In consultations we use a process-oriented approach, where we look at how we can streamline the client’s treasury work flows, and then at how we can support the optimized environment by means of a system.” If IT2 is the best fit for that client, then Zanders is able to use its specialist knowledge of the system to facilitate the implementation. Zanders consultants participate in IT2’s educational forum to ensure they are fully up-to-date on IT2’s functionality.
Due to Zanders’ close involvement with clients they have been able to make recommendations on how to develop, extend and improve the product. Another dimension of the relationship is that Zanders, in its role of managing an outsourced back-office for an investment fund client, is also an end user of IT2’s treasury management system.
While there are no plans to extend the partnership to other regions, this could well happen of its own accord if both companies find themselves operating in the same country. Kevin Grant says: “We’re not joined at the hip, but there’s a strong mutual respect, so when we find ourselves operating in the same region, we’ll look for complementary opportunities to give benefits to the end customer.”
For more information on IT 2 go to www.it2tms.com