Having watched Month Python and the Holy Grail again recently, it made me consider the Holy Grail for many hardware and services companies. Simply, a sales team that can communicate and sell business outcome based solutions for their firms products. This then gets the next Holy Grail of a services delivery team. However, sales first.
Hardware and software firms and their partners have great box selling skills. However due to a large number of well discussed factors they are willingly making a push towards more solution and business outcome sales approaches. This is creating significant problems for sales teams. The skills required to sell a product is very different to those skills required for a solution. Skill transfer takes time and really is only possible in a very small majority of product based resources. However, this has not stopped every major vendor I talk with (basically all of them) having as a centre piece of their strategy the Holy Grail – solution enabled sales teams. This is not just a challenge for their direct teams. The indirect or channel teams also have this requirement.
The resources to do this are scarce across the Asia Pacific region. They are scarce in mature markets such as Australia, and impossible to find in smaller emerging markets such as Vietnam and the Philippines (that still demand similar requirements of business aligned solutions). Education will come part of the way, but it takes such a major cultural shift and investment in resources and time for vendors. The lack of development of these resources is also a key reason why the links between technology and business integration have been poorly developed.
There are some vendors who do this well, unfortunately again, they do not have the industry or geographic depth to enable their firm to have a distinctive and differentiated offering. The continued risk for these vendors is that consulting firms (KPMG, Deloitte) and large services integrators (IBM, Accenture et al) will be able to provide these business related solutions and again align the product providers to a commoditised IT function and not be able to be seen to drive transformational business initiatives.
The challenge therefore to vendors is to invest and develop the holy grail to afford a real horse, or like a then cash strapped Monty Python, just bang two coconuts together and wander aimlessly around a ye olde medieval world.
If you believe you have discovered the Holy Grail please let me know.
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