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Tech vendors must transform to survive digital era, says expert

14 Sep 16

Customers today wield more power and have a wider choice of vendors than ever, and vendors must transform to meet new, rising customer expectations to remain relevant.

That’s the word according to Clement Teo, principal analyst for IT Services at Ovum.

Teo says organisations that persist in pushing an ‘inside out’ perspective risk losing to those that articulate a clear customer-centric view, that is, from ‘outside in’.

“Tech vendors must transform for the era of digital business,” Teo says.

Teo says he has observed a common theme in some vendor presentations: Use our product or service as we are the best in class (or similar).

“As tech budgets increasingly shift to line of business (LoB) leaders, my bet is that these vendors will struggle to be relevant to the customers they serve,” he says.

“Why? They didn’t articulate how they were trying to solve a business problem, as opposed to a technical one.”

Teo says there are ways vendors can better engage line of business leaders.

Be customer adaptive

 A customer-adaptive enterprise is able to sense and respond rapidly to change, especially that which impacts customers’ behaviors, wants, and needs.

“Vendors will become trusted advisors, for example, if they can help businesses grow their revenues. IBM’s ‘Smarter Planet’ campaign comes to mind,” says Teo.

Commit to, and drive, change

According to Teo, the leadership in vendor firms must attract and retain the right people, forge the right processes, and use the right tools to enable them to become customer adaptive.

“At heart is a customer-centric culture that permeates throughout the organidation,” he explains.

Enhance the customer experience

Teo says vendors must continually enhance the customer experience. “Rich customer data proffer new insights into what LoBs need,” he says.

“In the digital era, these insights become more critical for vendors to compete as suppliers. Service providers (SPs) could also become critical go-to-market channel partners, helping vendors fine-tune the customer experience,” explains Teo.

“Vendors and SPs that are customer adaptive will thrive in the era of digital business.”

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