Written by Steve Miller, Senior Account Manager, Riverbank IT Management
Same old, same old
There’s some great news which technology leaders have picked up on: businesses are no longer interested in buying their products.
‘Things’ are out of fashion, commoditised to such an extent that most consumers would be equally happy with any of the main offerings. What business consumers are now interested in is service-wrap. But why is this?
Perhaps most significant is that user expectations for what constitutes ‘standard features’ have risen considerably over recent years. You either have a full feature set or you aren’t in the game. Anti-virus solutions have become locked into a battle over ever-tinier performance percentages. The feature gap between an iPhone and a Samsung has withered away to nothing.
These are no longer areas buyers can meaningfully differentiate over. Unless you have a very specific niche need to meet, most stuff does most stuff. It is often a matter of preference or brand loyalty. But that is not to say there’s no difference at all.
When the products themselves are broadly similar, savvy buyers are asking new questions.
- Is it easy to get started?
- Does it play nicely with the other services I use?
- Is it easy to manage when it needs updating or replacing?
These are especially critical concerns when it comes to IT. Poor integration can hit reliability, uptime, and customer satisfaction. High deployment or admin overheads are a resource-sink that take away from more productive projects. At a time when markets are more competitive than ever, finding and maintaining that winning edge is vital.
The challenges surrounding integration and change have grown enormously. This is hardly surprising, considering the rapidity with which IT evolves. This is driven by a variety of factors:
- Ever-evolving security needs
- Increasingly complex uses
- Constant incremental productivity demands
- Changing regulatory framework
When looking for a new solution, the first question to address is usually, “Will it work with everything else?”
Organisations are finding it a struggle to ‘fill the gaps’ with technologies that are compatible with the plethora of others they already employ. A plethora that is itself constantly up for renewal and replacement, something that has grown piece-by-piece.
Untying the knots
This means the second question we hear is, “How easy will it be for me to manage?”
With more and more things to keep up with, there’s ever-more pressure to decrease the admin footprint of each constituent part. Because, once you’ve added them all up, all those minutes and hours are quite a workload.
With the booming market in ‘-as-a-Service’ technologies such as Microsoft Office 365, the focus is now on building an ongoing business relationship with the user. This allows the provider to add value by managing the integration and maintenance of their solutions. Providers compete with one another for your business by adding more value to their services; enhanced integration, ever-easier deployment, automated updates.
The importance of this shift shouldn’t be understated: if you aren’t adopting the as-a-Service model, you aren’t getting the most out of your IT. You are still buying products, while the market is competing over services. Riverbank IT Management has known this for a long time because it’s what we’ve always done. We don’t win business, we earn trust.
So, next time you need to review your IT needs, be sure to look at ‘as-a-Service’ offerings. And look at what you get from your provider, beyond paying them the subscription fee. Follow the value by asking them, “Why should I buy this from you?”
Steve Miller is the Sales Manager at Riverbank IT Management, with over a decade of consultative sales experience. After several years of strategic IT engagement, he understands the value of forward-thinking IT. His main goal is ensuring delivery of IT solutions that support wider business goals, to deliver measurable benefits.
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