Over the past decade, delivery center visits — or client site visits — have been a great sales tool for IT services vendors. I believe that new client requirements and changing client/vendor engagement models will increasingly push vendors to transform their client site visit processes. These visits need to focus much more on a customized and intimate client experience, as opposed to just showcasing technological capabilities.
Vendors must move away from presenting delivery capability showcases and instead send three strong messages to their clients and prospects around innovation, experience, and flexibility that evoke a more customized and intimate relationship. Showcasing innovation should be at the heart of the site visit process, as it resonates with what clients believe will give them a significant competitive advantage. I believe that highlighting experience, flexibility, and strong innovation capabilities throughout the visit process creates the best foundation for an effective site visit.
I recently had the chance to interact with Uniken, a technology firm that specializes in developing products in the field of security, computing, and communications. I was impressed to experience some of their innovations around “Net banking solutions.” With its TranSafe solution (a secure private platform on the Internet), I believe that Uniken proposes an innovative approach to Net banking. Uniken has researched, developed, and commercialized this technology at its Innovation Centre in Pune, India. Innovations like these are what today’s clients want to see when they visit vendors’ R&D/delivery centers. I see three areas where IT services vendors need to innovate today:
Was the introduction of the Ford Model T an improvement or an innovation over the horse drawn wagon?
As an SVM professional, you may ask, “Why is this question important for me?” But as an ever-growing number of companies invest in innovation, they will realize a significant portion of this can come from the existing relationships with suppliers.
Forrester surveyed over 1,000 IT executives and technology decision-makers in Q3 2011 about which priorities will have the most significant impact on this year’s IT services spend. The top answer, at 56% of the respondents, was the need to innovate and grow their business. In fact, innovation rated higher than the ever-important lowering operational costs (40%)!
To execute on these innovation priorities, you — the SVM specialist — must understand the innovation potential of your suppliers and how to leverage this in the future. Success on this endeavor will require setting the stage. SVM pros need to understand the difference between a supplier-driven improvement — that we expect — and a service or business-focused innovation that needs investment and management. SVM pros can start with three key items: 1) Use an innovation screening checklist to understand who to partner with; 2) educate vendors on business priorities and key stakeholders within the business to enable innovation; and 3) manage delivery-oriented innovation as a part of your daily vendor governance.
Last week I attended Telefónica’s leadership event, which is held annually in Miami, reflecting its very strong basis in the Americas. This year’s event attracted around 700 visitors from 130 countries, comprising Telefónica’s customers, vendor partners, and analysts. There were several external keynote speakers, like the CIO of the US government, futurologist Michio Kaku, and the chief economist of the Economist Intelligence Unit, that outlined the macro context for society and the economy over the coming 10 to 20 years. Presentations by partners like Huawei, Microsoft, Nokia, amdocs, and Samsung highlighted visions of the future from a vendor angle. Telefónica itself used the opportunity to present its own vision of how technological progress will affect society and business — and how it intends to address the opportunities and challenges ahead.
Telefónica stands out from its peer group of incumbent telcos by having revamped its overall organizational structure. The firm had already announced this new structure last fall; it effectively sets up one division that focuses on global internal administration and procurement (Global Resources), one division that focuses on emerging Internet-based solutions (Digital), and two geographically focused go-to-market-facing business lines (Americas and Europe). Telefónica Multinational Solutions is part of Global Resources and is the division dedicated to delivering services to the MNC segment.