Do you depend on the Gartner reports to predict this year’s business growth? Don’t.
A few months ago Gartner projected 3.9% growth in IT spending. More recently this was downgraded to 2.4%. Does it matter? Perhaps. If you’re a major shareholder at Cisco or EMC you might be worried. But if you’re a rep selling technology, manage a VAR, or spend your time consulting on technology, it really doesn’t matter.
The real question is, are you selling the right stuff? Software will grow about 5% according to Gartner, data center will be at about 1.8%. If you’ve attended my training classes or read my books, I predicted this. VoIP isn’t even mentioned. No surprise here. It’s a commodity. So is most infrastructure. I wrote back in 2007 that VoIP would die out within 10 years as a strong profit driver for most. If you provide a managed VoIP service you might still have a business, but it’s a commodity like most managed offerings. I also pointed out that Data Center is not a discontinuous innovation on Geoffrey Moore’s model (Insider the Tornado), and so you can’t expect it to act like one in terms of sustained profitability. The 1.8% growth Gartner has given us is pretty low compared the other growth areas.
Computerworld ranks it like this:
- BIG DATA
If you work on infrastructure, you’ll want to beef up your security offerings. If your income comes from managed services, make sure security is central to your offering – everything else is a $/seat sale – total commodity. If you work on the software side you want to be in the cloud, investing your time in analytics and intelligence or customer experience. Everything else is destined to decline. You’ll be competing on price.
How Much Will Gartner’s Number Affect Your Salary?
If you sell things people need – like security and customer experience, you’re selling something everyone will be buying. The question is, “Will they buy it from you?” It’s a value proposition and unique positioning statement question.
Value Proposition: This why people do business with you rather than someone else. If you’ve been in an account for a long time, don’t assume they’ll stay with you. Companies are demanding more and more in terms of customer experience. Recently my daughter, who owns a natural healthcare products business, asked me if she should refund a customer’s shipping charges on a product they didn’t like. “Of course!” I won’t do business with someone who won’t refund my money. A great buying experience is critical to your value prop. But you also need differentiation of products and services. If all you do is resell a product, its time to wrap some consulting / advisory services around. Again, security is the most important thing you can possibly bring to your client.
Unique Positioning Statement: This is the message that sets you apart from everyone else. There are dozens of choices when it comes to buying infrastructure. Software is even worse – no one really has to come onsite. So what can you say to grab your prospect’s attention? The technology companies out there are spending very little on training when it comes to great messaging…big mistake. This is the first thing a customer experiences. If it’s not great, it won’t go any further. In my book, The House & The Cloud I provide a number of ways to do this. One concept parallels The Challenger Sale. It’s coming in with a predictable message. 80% of your client’s security budgets are being spent on the wrong security controls – attempts to sure up the perimeter. Very little is being spent on technology that will detect an intrusion. In my book I explain why this is so important…but to get you started, the perimeter is an outdated concept. Mobility and BYOD have taken the data outside the firewall. There’s much more to it…if you want to stay relevant, focus on what’s really needed, develop offerings that help clients move from their current state to a secure one, and be prepared to offer ongoing support, with security as the central part of that offering.
© 2015, David Stelzl
P.S. eGestalt, a cloud based security management company is sponsoring a great session (online) in February. I’ll be presenting strategies to grow your business by adding cloud based detection and response offerings – the next step in developing a strong security offering… you can attend by registering here:
Build Your Business On Security <<< Click to Sign Up For The Event!