A MailGuard client since July 2018, Software Optimisation Services (SOS) provides specialist skills and data to help organisations make the best software investment decisions.
The consultancy enables organisations to optimise their current licensing positions, reduce cloud sprawl and quickly identify potential security vulnerabilities via the latest IT diagnostic tools and domain experience.
MailGuard caught up with Filipa Preston, CEO of SOS, to understand more about her views on the current cybersecurity landscape.
Q & A with Filipa Preston, CEO, SOS
MG: What motivated you to start the business?
Filipa: Back in 1994, I was working as a Software Licensing Specialist; most of my mentors and clients were CIOs there was a gap in the market for independent, objective opinion about software they were investing in. That couldn’t come from a partner always doing the selling of the software. That, basically, formed the purpose and motivation behind me starting this company – the clients. When you act for clients, everyone always wins – the vendor wins, the client wins.
MG: Any particular achievements you’re proud of over the years?
Filipa: From what I know, in Australia and New Zealand, we are the only female-owned, independent, niche company like this that exists.
In the short time span of 7.5 years, we have been recognised as one of only two vendors in Australia and New Zealand included in Gartner’s first-ever global 2018 Market Guide for SAM Managed Service Providers. And a winner of the Microsoft 2016 Worldwide Partner of the Year Award. Both of these are unreal achievements.
In addition, SOS is the first accredited Microsoft partner to achieve Microsoft Software Asset Management (SAM) Managed Service Partner, increasing clients' confidence of our ability to help them manage their software assets.
MG: Elaborate on your selling strategies. What advice or tips do you have for our partners/resellers on how to sell or upsell solutions?
Filipa: The market is so saturated, that just showing the features and benefits of the solution isn’t enough anymore. You have to solve a clients pain and your solution must be relevant to their current, future state and their ability to manage their software.
For example, a client the other day told me this “Filipa, Microsoft are telling me this, the CSP is telling me this and the LSP is telling me this – I don’t know what to do. Can you please help me make a decision; in fact, can you make the decision for me?” In response to that client, I started off by finding out what their current levels of resources are, how they currently manage their solutions and what their future plans are. It’s all about understanding the client situation and instead of trying to sell what you would normally sell.
That’s why what’s really important to me when upselling relevant professional services is the client’s maturity, their willingness to improve and be better. In certain cases, we have actually turned around and said “I don’t want to take your money, you haven’t accessed our product in 12 months, you didn’t even access this tool that we set on site to access information, so you don’t actually need our services.”
Rather than taking my customers’ money, I believe in selling relevant services that make the customer transform, perform, reduce costs and show results. That’s because customer lifetime value is more important than anything else.
MG: What do you think is the biggest contribution that MailGuard plays to any company looking to solidify their cybersecurity strategy, including those who are already users of Microsoft Office 365?
Filipa: From my low-tech, high-level point of view, MailGuard reduces the noise of malicious cyber activity and makes us more secure. It minimises the amount of irrelevant content that’s clogging our mailboxes, and reduces our risk. That is the selling point for me.
Another selling point is that it is attached to Office 365. It’s an add-on, meaning it works with what we’ve got right now. It’s not like I have to go get a ton of other different things that are as equally as effective as Office 365, and compatible with it. MailGuard grants me the added protection and peace of mind that I want.
MG: What do you think the future of cybersecurity holds for Australia and worldwide?
Filipa: I’m always looking over my shoulder, never complacent. I’m in tech, I’m educated in this field but I’ve fallen victim. I worry about organisations thinking how they still find "open-doors" in their systems despite saying they’ve got “it all covered”. I worry about those not as fortunate to be as informed as we are, like my Mum and how their identity and savings can so easily be compromised
And I’m deeply concerned that despite the threats, I don’t see this as a high enough priority for governments, boards, CEOs, CIOs and our community.
As we move forward, it’s key to remember that you can never be overprotected. Cyber attacks are becoming all too common and when it comes to cybersecurity and data protection, too much is never enough.
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