by Ted Grossman, Tech Principal, Alexander Group
In recent years, the state of the economy has grown increasingly turbulent amid a host of supply chain disruptions, geo-political influences, and rising inflation. These unpredictable external market factors, combined with the rapid speed at which technology evolves, makes it exceedingly difficult to for players in the high tech industry to ensure consistent growth andprofitability. Furthermore, as competition continues to innovate and newer technologies are introduced, tech vendors are at risk of becoming obsolete.
Given these compounding challenges, tech vendors need to adapt their go-to-market strategies regularly. However, to do this, they should take an outside-in perspective, which begins with understanding the interconnected environment they play in. The three key personas of change which should inform this process are customers, partners, and the broader technology ecosystem.
It is essential that technology enterprises observe fundamental ebb and flow of market evolution through all three of theselenses to overcome disruptions to their business development.
Over the last ten years, customers’ demands have changed dramatically. The move from on-premise to cloud-based infrastructure and delivery systems, while not a new story, has continued. More customers looking to invest in both software and hardware solutions look for term license and consumption-based options. Both of which impact the way tech vendors design and sell their solutions. Finally, customers today have significantly more access to information than buyers of any previous generation. Internet, social media and other sources force tech vendors to offer a higher value conversation in earlier stages of the buyer journey in order to stay competitive.
The result is that vendors must offer modern, cloud-based products and offerings and in turn have strategies to migrate their on-prem customers to cloud. Vendors must also continually focus on how their pricing/contract options (one-time services or hardware, subscription, consumption based) impact their GTM coverage model, job roles and compensation plans. min. Lastly, they must reconfirm or update their partner eco-system, to ensure the right mix of partner skills and value.
Similarly to customer relationships, partners also look for more valuable and substantive relationships with their tech providersthan ever before as well as adapting their own business models. By doing so, they also can create recurring revenue models themselves, which is an attractive business opportunity. Vendors in turn, need to understand their Partner’s changing business model and adapt their channel programs and enablement to support this evolution.
The opportunity for Partners to provide more value exists. Partners can either offer enhanced capabilities and services, and/or they can provide enhanced support and customer success to drive better end-customer outcome. Additionally, as customers look for expertise in their vertical industry and specific use cases, partners have the ability to become more niche, and provide deeper levels of industry and technology expertise.
To take advantage of an expanded role for Partners, Vendors and their GTM leadership need to update their own channel facing organization, as well review and update their partner incentive and enablement programs.
Broader Technology Provider Ecosystem
Looking at the evolution of the broader technology ecosystem, customers want and require a symbiotic relationship between the tech vendor, partners, and other technology players including independent software vendors (ISVs), Managed Service Providers (MSPs), distributors, integrators, indirect competitors and more.
Customers expect more value for their business solutionsinvestment than ever before. The previous need to compromise on selections and features by buying a fully integrated solution from one mega-vendor is not as valid today where more solutions are available and highly integrated and transferrable on the cloud. This means that customers expect offerings to uphold those principles of integration, high levels of user experience and best of breed applications and services. As a result, more traditional platform software companies need to find the right mix of other software vendors and services companies within the ecosystem to meet this demand.
It’s essential that tech vendors remain responsive to change and competition to accelerate transformation rates. The technology industry is seeing an algorithmic curve of increase in the rate of innovation with business model transformation times decreasing from three years at a time to just 12 to 18 months. This will continue to shrink in the coming decade.
While external market factors can be unpredictable and create turbulence, vendors can mitigate their effects on revenue growth by better understanding the three personas of change. Customers, partners, and broader players in the tech industryhave separate needs and impacts on the ways tech vendors create and sell their offerings; however, they are also closely intertwined and must be evaluated holistically. Maximizing awareness of these basic principles will allow enterprises to see past the immediate market status and enable successful future planning for consistent growth over time.