Cloud is changing everything for big IT suppliers from the business model up.
Firstly, the power in client relationships is swinging back from vendors to clients. Starting a large technology project in the past was a big gamble for the clients, but a relatively cushy deal for vendors. Cloud is reshaping this relationship by doing away with the lengthy, expensive contracts of yesteryear and reducing the upheaval of changing between systems and suppliers.
At the same time, the prices vendors can charge for ‘as a service’ products simply don’t match-up to the big bet contracts of the past. Big tech is effectively having to cannibalise its own margins as it transitions from box-based to on-tap models. Worse, they also have to pretend that they’re enjoying the change.
But client organisations are also seeing their own fundamental changes, and this has a big impact on how IT vendors need to market to them.
From IT to Business
As physical technology drains out of large organisations and cloud computing becomes the norm, the operationally-focused IT leader will largely be swept out with this ebbing tide. The maintenance of IT estates will simply no longer be something businesses need to worry about.
With its traditional ‘keeping the lights on’ role disappearing, the IT function is now racing to reinvent itself for this new world. Most are agreed that it’s the business-focused IT leaders that will survive this transition.
At the same time, other business functions and new roles – such as the Chief Digital Officer – will increasingly take up the mantle to innovate and transform using technology. The key thing is that these are business-first buyers, focused on achieving real business change.
With this transition, IT vendors are realising that they need to realign themselves with the new guard; transforming their offerings and how they gain interest from business-driven technology buyers. As a result, the technical IT sell will increasingly need to be replaced by different language and different ideas.
Selling virtual services instead of physical goods usually requires a much stronger client relationship. It means more effort and thought from the seller to both keep clients happy and lead to new opportunities.
The Rise of The Consultants
To replace revenue streams and build long-term relationships, many tech firms are trying to make the shift from transactional supplier to trusted partner, and in many cases trusted consultant. This change will mean rebalancing marketing efforts from technical to business-led; from talking like a technical fixer to a strategic business consultant.
There are various components to this shift. Above all however, it is about being able to see and present a business in a different light – moving from what you do to what you enable and how this will help your client succeed in the long term. Those IT suppliers with consulting divisions will have this knowledge somewhere in the business, but will increasingly need to bring this business-first messaging to the fore, in ideas, content and marketing.
Tech vendors ultimately must understand how to align themselves with the strategic business agenda and they can learn a lot from the consulting industry’s playbook as they do this.
As food for thought, we’ve pulled together some of our most effective consulting client campaigns into this PDF, we hope you find them useful. If you want to find out more, just get in touch.