46 47 ners,”Lockwood explains.“So,we carved ourselves out a little niche in dealing with those mid-market education customers in the area.We had contacts and knew the procurement cycles, knew the players, knew how that business got done.” Starting out in the northern part of California, over the last several years the company has grown to 70 employees, and has expanded its footprint to include the entire state. Its target markets are schools, school districts, community colleges, and other public sector institutions. Its forté is large scale technology plat- form refreshes: “Entire school districts at a time–30 sites, 50 sites–those types of large scale projects,” says Lockwood. In addition to procuring and imple- menting all of the newest OEM hardware, predom- inantly from Cisco Systems,DGI also provides a lifecy- cle management process for its customers. “One of our fundamental tenets is we’re interested in having a long-term, durable relationship with a customer,which is based on our ability to create busi- ness value for them outside of a single procurement or a single transaction,”Lockwood states.“Customers, in my experience, tend to have ‘bad behavior’ around procurement,meaning they define the success of their IT procurement based on a shopping list of parts, and their sole selection criterion is price.The thing which we’ve come to realize over the years is that that scale of procurement and that scale of im- plementation is not a technology conversation.” “We want to create business value beyond just sell- ing them technology,”Lockwood continues.“The rea- son that they’re going out to buy ‘stuff’ is because they DEVELOPMENT GROUP, INC. (DGI) have a business problem, so the conver- sation that I want to offer the customer is,‘How can we help you to position your IT operation as a contributor to business outcomes and the strategic initiatives and concerns of your organization (which, in the case of education are things like test scores, average daily attendance, increasing enrollment, student success, campus safety, parent engagement, special education, facilities); how can we change the positioning of this function to be more in alignment in support of those things that matter?’ “And I suggest to the customers that it’s in their interest to go to market for the purpose of producing outcomes and solv- ing those problems.And to the degree that we can educate and influence the customers to take a different approach with their procurement, and they’re in- terested in benefitting from our industry expertise and the additional, non-techni- cal resources that we have on staff, like our business advisors, that’s where we’ve seen the biggest successes for our cus- tomers and we’ve enjoyed success as a partner in those projects. “So, the conversation might not result in a meaningful financial transaction for months or years, but that’s okay. If the