Ajay Goel, Senior Vice President - Industry Business, Strategy, Operations, Cisco India & SAARC
Anyone who has conducted an IT vendor selection process knows that finding an IT vendor who is able and willing to supply the recommended hardware is the easy part. Beyond hardware supply is the tricky process that involves the coming together of distinct organizations, with possibly very different business approaches.
Growing and globally competitive businesses, which see the need to invest today in systems for tomorrow's success, are in more of a crunch. Not only do they need to invest heavily, but also have to expend serious man-hours looking for the most efficient, economical, and appropriate software or hardware.
However, we do see around us numerous IT success stories with a vendor or service provider underpinning. In most such successful cases, a vendor moves beyond the basic role of providing IT hardware or support and makes the effort to understand their customer's business, needs, and strategy. This enables the vendor to make recommendations and offer service solutions that go beyond the customer's current needs while taking into consideration the direction, scalability, response time, logistics, geography, and growth plan.
An IT vendor who works closely with the customer understands and addresses customer's pain points. The vendor is able to take a 'bird's-eye view' and locate and manage root causes. Such a vendor also values the criticality of a particular product or solution at a given time. This facilitates timely deployment, while ensuring uninterrupted running of mission critical systems and applications during the transition and upgrade.
An IT vendor, offering such a value-addition, is likely to have built capability and capacity to offer a deep service relationship to their clients across the board. It follows that only larger vendors are likely to have such bandwidth and resources as to offer such a value-addition drive. For the customer, it is a multiple bonanza to align with an IT vendor of this stature. They not only gain through the consultative approach of the vendor towards problem solving but also through access to global learning, comparable deployments for similar markets or similar global challenges, and overall better levels of experience in managing complex customer deployments.
Even so, these success stories of deployment by IT vendors are not a one way street. They are more comparable to marriages with multiple components to their smooth-functioning. These new rules of engagement could be clubbed under,
The new rules of engagement call for enlightened IT vendors who would don the role of consultant for their customers, and who are committed enough to their customers' business to advocate the most realistic and appropriate solution. This will be the IT vendor who truly succeeds in addressing the needs of their customers, and one who is poised to grow alongside each of their customers.