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It’s All About Connections

October 21, 2015 - 0 Comments

Last week I had a chance to spend time with some of our Cisco Partners at the 2015 Best of Breed Conference in Orlando. The conference focused on the disruptive technologies that are transforming our business landscape and what leaders can do to both embrace these changes and innovate to retain – and capture – market share. I really enjoyed Jeremy Gutsche’s keynote “Better and Faster: The Proven Path to Unstoppable Ideas” and Robert Faletra’s interview with Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins.

What really struck a chord with me was during Logicalis CEO Vince DeLuca’s keynote. Vince shared his insights on how the rapid changes in IT are dramatically impacting engagement models with customers and partners.

Logicalis Slide

(image shared with permission)

The Logicalis survey of CIOs shows what we’ve seen in the industry for a while now: Budgets and decision making are steadily shifting to the line of business (LOB) and more purchases are being made outside of IT.

The statistic that really jumped out at me is that 66% of CIOs surveyed report that the IT department is responsible for managing LOB-purchased technologies and services. My take-away on this is that IT doesn’t always participate in the strategic discussions, but they are still accountable for the management of these decisions. If these business decisions complement their IT environment, great; if not, it’s their headache to figure out.

One thing that we – as technology providers working with the best partner ecosystem in the industry – can do to mitigate the negative impact of this trend is to help companies bridge that gap between IT and line of business. After all, if anyone knows about the power of connections and a strong ecosystem, it’s us!

Now, more than ever, we need to cultivate line of business relationships alongside the relationships we have with IT, so that business leaders understand not only the solutions and the technology, but the operational impacts of their purchasing decisions.

As we focus on solutions and outcomes for customers, we need to remember that it’s not just an IT conversation; it’s fundamentally a business conversation. Ultimately, it’s a business conversation that must focus on results, as well as the real business outcomes associated with those results.

How do we bridge the gap between the line of business and IT? Connect and engage with the line of business whenever possible. Work with partners such as vertical independent software vendors (ISVs) and specialty system integrators (SIs), who deeply understand the customer’s industry and who can complement your value proposition to open up opportunities you never knew existed. Bring value to the line of business during your discussions and show them how you can positively impact their business.

What are you doing to make connections between IT and line of business? Let me know in the comments below.

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