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Solution selling on steroids

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Solution selling on steroids

What we’re seeing with IBM, and this launch in particular, is the evolution of solution selling – call it solution selling on steroids. There will be much more business content in the pitches and more selling to line-of-business executives and executive management. We’re going to see much more emphasis on actual business results from the systems and, along with that, much higher levels of integration between IBM systems, IBM software, and services.

This doesn’t mean that it won’t still be talking the typical feeds/speeds/benchmarks to the data center; it will. But that style of selling effort will happen in concert with business-oriented solution pitches directed at the business-side crowd.

In my mind, this is a natural evolution, and is to be expected. There are several trends that contribute to this change in sales approach and strategy.

First, customers are more technically sophisticated, but at the same time have fewer people to handle integration chores. Technology has rapidly become the source of business differentiation, and a contributor to the execution of every business strategy.

By the same token, the tech industry has advanced to a place where most vendors have mastered the basics and can provide help on higher-level tasks, like advising customers on how to best use this stuff. (Even if a vendor hasn’t mastered the basics, don’t worry, they’ll still offer the advice.) What we’re talking about is counsel beyond the trite “Align IT with business goals” or “Use data to drive outcomes” drivel.

On the expense side, vendors are addressing IT operational issues; helping customers cut data center costs has become a key competitive focus for them. They’re also pushing harder to provide value to the business as a whole, by enabling and even suggesting new strategies and initiatives. While every major vendor has vertical market organizations and has had them for years, what we’re seeing today is that these organizations are getting more sophisticated in how they approach customers, and they are providing higher level value than in years past.

The focus on business-side solutions isn’t unique to IBM, although IBM has probably taken it the furthest. Oracle’s recent discussion of how it will use the purchase of Sun to drive integrated solutions is right up the same alley, as is HP’s increasing emphasis on what it's doing with its EDS unit.

Dell’s Perot Systems buy was also designed to allow it to offer a wider range of business-side benefits to customers. As competition ramps up in all areas of the tech business, expect to see more emphasis on business outcomes in the future.

Read The Reg's highly detailed discussion of the new Power7 chip and some historical context here. ®

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