Customer Expectations are Changing, Entrepreneurs need to Catch-up
Date: Monday , January 02, 2012
Emergence of a disruptive technology, has always presented a great opportunity for our Industry. After the Internet revolution in the late 1990s, we are now witnessing a new wave around "Consumerization of IT". Cloud, mobility, social computing, and analytics and security are some of the technologies that are seeing increased attention and investment from the enterprises. While each of these areas offer tremendous potential for our customers and hence the IT providers, it is really the combination of more than one of these technologies that is leading to innovative solutions and business model disruption. Another significant trend visible is the need to engage, influence and sell to the business users.
Analytics, social CRM, customer loyalty, and SaaS based business process solutions have a direct impact on business, and hence have to be conceptualized and pitched to the business managers. This is easier said than done in an industry where majority of the players take a skills forward approach to garnering business.
The macro-economic environment around us will drive the expectations of clients from their IT service providers. This in turn will influence and shape our industry. Firstly, an almost flat IT budget will force IT providers to deliver more value for the same dollar investment. The proposition of offshoring more to lower cost and getting access to qualified talent for high quality work will no longer be sufficient. While cost reduction will continue to be important, the service providers will also be expected to help businesses increase revenues, drive innovation/differentiation, build customer engagement and advocacy and to improve agility and effectiveness of operations.
Secondly, increased adoption of Cloud and SaaS based solution/services will begin to slowly impact the traditional revenue streams from application management of legacy applications. This will push IT industry to discover new sweet spots.
Thirdly, almost without exception our global clients are shifting their attention to the emerging markets to pursue growth. It is therefore inevitable that the IT Industry will also begin to increase their focus on these markets. Heightened attention from IT services companies on India as a market is a good case-in-point. However, providing solutions and services in these markets will need an IP centric solution/services approach. IT providers will be pushed to leverage a Cloud based customer access and delivery model for business viability.
Changed customer expectations will push entrepreneurs to benchmark their relevance and re-articulate their differentiators. Given the softness in the macro environment, the trick would be strike the right balance between investing for the future and ensuring a healthy balance sheet today.
The author is President & Co-CEO, HappiestMinds