This is the latest in a series of posts featuring partner success stories where partners share how they’re helping customers achieve their goals by using Cisco technology. This week we’re pleased to feature Chris Gabriel, Vice President of Solutions Management, Logicalis Group.
Say you are the CMO of a retailer who has just surveyed your customers and found that providing an iPad-enabled queue jumping option in your stores would make them three times more likely to choose you over a competitor. Wow! A Eureka moment if ever there was one.
Now say you are the COO of a major manufacturer who has just realized that your business is producing a mountain of data that if used in real time could reduce your cost base by 2% and improve your margins and competitive edge. Pow! The value of big data hits you right between the eyes.
These moments of insight are now happening more and more at a faster pace. New technologies transform the way we think about our world; just think how many new business apps are available on your iPad, and it’s only three years old. There’s a lesson in this speed, and it’s that looking smart in the IT world isn’t about how much technical jargon you know, but rather how quickly you can enable your customer to meet its business priorities.
Time to Opportunity is the only thing a customer executive team wants to know about. Yes they still want robust, well-engineered, well-architected, operationally sound, cost effective IT solutions. But they don’t want their business opportunity waiting around, and what they really don’t want is to have to delay their execution.
For many of these executives, the thinking goes like this. Somebody, somewhere must have done this before, tested the solution against the problem, made sure all the technical pieces fit, and did the design due diligence. In other words, when a customer needs a big data solution around SAP HANA, the customer assumes it’s already been thought through, and that he or she will be able to move quickly to get something in and work at the speed the business wants.
Now, don’t get me wrong, if I knew the secret to vacuum-packing guaranteed business success from a technology implementation, I would be typing this email somewhere far warmer than England in March. But, what I do know is that the world isn’t as complex as it sometimes seems.
Accelerating Time to Opportunity
While every retailer is different, in some way, creating an agile and secure mobile infrastructure capable of making every store smarter for the customer, for the employee, and for the business operating them can be designed, architected, and verified so that any retailers can move quickly to make mobile part of their in-store experience.
While every manufacturer will do things its own way, creating a high performance platform for running real-time analytics that give any business unique and powerful insights into how they are operating, right at that moment, doesn’t have to be different for everybody.
What we’re talking about is creating a smart solution that takes into account what a lot of these customer situations have in common. And Cisco has taken up the challenge of accelerating time-to-opportunity.
By doing something quite unique for a company that builds hardware and software products, spending their own money, and investing their own intellectual capital, Cisco isn’t simply drawing a design of what a suitable solution to a problem might look like. Cisco’s team is doing all of the heavy lifting and leg work needed to test, verify and certify solutions that usually would be done by the channel or the customer themselves.
They call this approach Smart Solutions, and after a bit of a long introduction, I want to quickly tell you why I think Cisco has nailed something that their channel and customers should not simply like, but should applaud.
It is a simple contention. We should applaud anything and anybody who enables resources to be directed with maximum efficacy to minimise time-to-opportunity.
Let me be even more direct. Who ever won a business award for re-inventing the wheel and ending up with the same wheel?
When a CEO, CFO or COO wants to transform their business, they expect things to be done properly, but to be done quickly. By taking the time to do things properly, test them, verify them, and most importantly, write all of that down for channel partners and customers to use as a base level design, Cisco is aggregating all of its knowledge so that business doesn’t have to spend time, energy and most importantly money doing something somebody else has done successful somewhere else.
Some might say this diminishes the value of the channel partner or the IT department because it takes away the value-added integration work those parties would do.
I couldn’t disagree more.
In a world that is split between economies struggling under recession or those booming with economic growth, nobody has time to expend energy on activities which slow down the pace of change. I want Logicalis specialists working with clients to solve their business problems, and because they can now leverage Cisco’s massive investment in Smart Solutions, they can get that customer in a better place sooner rather than later. We look smarter, the customer becomes smarter, and we both appreciate that we didn’t waste extra time or money on getting the right result because we know we got the right result.
In today’s world you have to know where you can add value, and Cisco has got it about perfect with Smart Solutions. I can only foresee more coming, and I can only foresee it becoming ever closer to Cisco in understanding how we can bring more business value to our customers more quickly.