One of the best things about working in the tech industry is the passion we feel about what we do. We create products that change the world and change how business is done. We tackle challenging problems, we make incredible breakthroughs, we market our new products, and we move on. It never stops. There is always another challenge, another breakthrough, another great thing you didn’t even know you needed that is going to change your life (and your company) for the better.
The problem with this however is that because we’re moving at such a fast pace, we sometimes forget that those outside our industry are on a different timeline and see things through a different lens.
Take cloud for instance. There are people in our industry that have been working on it in some form or another for ten years now—easily. Some developed the software that enabled it, others worked on the hardware that supported it, and still others provided the consultative services to help customers pull it together.
At this point it’s an established technology. For us anyway. Old news. We’ve moved on to the next round of challenges: enabling different PaaS layers to work on top of our clouds, integrating different storage solutions to work with them, making the most effective use of containers, and managing multi-cloud environments. We rarely talk about “The Benefits of the Cloud” on a general level anymore, instead delving into very technical descriptions of the latest cloud advancements. Our marketing materials, our webinars, our speeches, and our websites all moved on—in spite of anecdotal information that suggested many of our customers weren’t even ready for cloud yet. Or if they were ready intellectually, weren’t ready organizationally.
I suspect that this is still the case.
So today I’m here to say that if you’re feeling like the Cloud train has already rushed out of the station without you, you are not alone, and you should have no reservations about hauling it right back to the platform.
What do I mean?
Speak frankly with your sales representatives. Put them to work for you. It’s not your job to listen to pitches about products that don’t solve your problems or that are too far ahead of your roadmap. It’s their job to listen to you and find the very best ways to help you make measurable improvements. So back the train up. Re-frame the relationship. Start by telling them exactly what your IT challenges are, and push them to sort it out in a holistic way that will deliver a solid, long-term ROI.
Maybe the solution they come back with will involve cloud—maybe it won’t. Either way, it’s on us to explain the technology and the benefits to you again and again until you are completely clear on what we’ve got to offer. If you like it, buy it. If you don’t—at the very least you’ve used your leverage as a potential customer to gain a great deal of knowledge about what cloud technology can do for you at this particular point in time.
Best of luck! Most of you already have Cisco account managers, but if you need help connecting with a cloud expert, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll be happy to put you in touch with one.