Wednesday, August 01, 2012
In a world where bring you own device, cloud computing and mobility are rapidly changing the corporate technology landscape, a pricing expert who understands how to make money in this environment is the most important person an IT solution provider can have on staff.
That message was delivered Wednesday by executives from four notable companies during the Breakaway 2012 Channel Chief Power Panel. Speakers shared their insights on how technology service and solution providers and survive and thrive in a business market where and array of end points – laptops, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices – are operating on multiple platforms and are, more than ever, controlled by the user, not the IT department.
The prevailing attitude, said Doug Smith, vice president, partner strategy and operations, VMware, is, “I’m not waiting for IT to catch up. I’m going to buy what I want, connect to the network and check my email.”
This shift has created “a massive opportunity and an under addressed issue in the marketplace,” according to Janet Schijns, vice president, vertical solutions and channels, Verizon Enterprise Solutions.
She noted that smart people have created a myriad of new devices and applications, but they have little insight into how customers are using their technologies. That’s a role the IT solution provider can fill. But she also cautioned attendees that it may not be easy. One of the biggest challenges for many firms will be figuring out how to make money.
“This is a totally different commercial model,” Schijns noted. “You need a pricing expert, someone who understands how and what a customer is willing to pay. It’s much more complicated than cost plus or margin minus.”
Pricing isn’t the only challenge for IT solution providers.
“We’re also seeing the consumerization of applications, too,” Smith said. “Apps meant for consumers are coming into the workplace. IT is coping with device sprawl and with new applications seeping in.”
Sheila O'Neil, vice president, channel sales, Panasonic System Communications Company, noted that the diversification of endpoints, with products from both the consumer and business worlds. All of them have to be on and reliable, regardless of what it is, where it is and how it’s being used.
Raja Sundaram, vice president, worldwide services partner organization, Cisco Systems Inc., said opportunities for solution providers fall into several categories, including device management, implementing security policies and creating customized experience for customers.
“The opportunity is really the relationship with the client,” he said “Figure out what they are looking to do, what are their objectives. Then it becomes easier for you to figure out how to make it happen for them.”
Focus is another critical element, panelists said.
“There’s a myriad of things you can do, but there’s a finite number of things you should do,” said Schijns.