I submit that success by providers in managed business services will be due in large part to an ability to mass customize the experience. The impetus to get this thought out and into a post was prompted by a recent In-Stat research study covering end-users of all sizes was announced and concluded that,”customer feedback indicates that a one-size-fits-all approach to managed services needs to change — by addressing specific vertical and horizontal market stakeholder needs and requirements.” Ahh, the wisdom of The Kinks.—”Give The People What They Want“.The conclusion to give the people what they want is not a radically new topic for managed business services. Providers of all sizes and focus have attempted to solve this either in word or in actual attempts. After all, it’s a mass-customized, on-demand world where end users are emboldened -- at work, home and on the move.I think we’re getting closer. Here’s why:
- Collaboration and complexity (and, years removed from the sour tastes of failed outsourcing) are softening the end-users (of all sizes) to look to an out-tasked solution.
- Web 2.0 is democratizing the experience -everywhere. And, these capabilities will adapt well to the personalized dialogue between managed service providers and their end user customers.
- SaaS is taking off and is further priming the market to accept hosted solutions and it’s going to be a model for SPs, VARs, SIs and other providers to find ways to work together -sharing monitoring tools, processes etc —- but maybe not yet definitions.
- Market understanding around the drivers and opportunity areas for managed business services is becoming more refined. Currently, we’re conducting a”managed services benchmarking study” to determine how SPs intend to accommodate more granularity into their service offerings.
- IP NGN networks and their increased intelligence allow for more intelligent networks capable of scaling and adapting to business priorities.
- Market acceleration resources and programs such as our Cisco Powered Program initiative exist to help managed service providers better create, target, market and services.
- Designations as those we have in our Cisco Powered Program help codify the core set of requirements needed for a quality managed service experience. This takes much of the guesswork out and allows providers to spend less time defining their core processes, people and tools; allowing more time for customization and focus. They enable providers to focus more on service customization (for end-users) and service differentiation (for market distinction).
It makes sense. A network is not just a network. Managed service providers have an inherent need for differentiation. And, no two end-users or service providers are alike. As a result, we shouldn’t expect end-user needs to be the same or for service provider offerings to be the same.What do you think? What managed services focused tools, trends or otherwise do you see shaping the ability of service providers to customize their offerings?