The ‘As-A-Service’ phenomenon in today’s technology industry has spawned the acceleration of innovation, and hyper-adoption of those innovations. That means your competitors may be gaining a competitive advantage against your company by leveraging products, technologies, and vendors that you might never have heard of. A scary thought, isn’t it?
The sheer volume of technology options is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, the ability to select the option that best meets an end user’s circumstances is a beautiful thing. On the other hand, identifying and evaluating those options can be a time consuming and daunting task. It often assumes a level of expertise that most business people simply don’t have. Meanwhile, on-staff specialists who actually have the necessary expertise are increasingly expensive, tough to find, and difficult to keep.
Thus, the ability to leverage technology without spending boatloads of upfront money and pay for it based on usage instead can be a very compelling value proposition. That, combined with readily available bandwidth, is why the ‘As-A-Service‘ model has grown so popular in recent years.
When this trend began to gain momentum, there was rampant speculation that agents, channel partners, and other trusted advisors had reached the end of the road. After all, people could simply go online, point-and-click, and add whatever new capabilities they wanted. But, we at AVANT knew this would not be true. Human ingenuity and expertise in service development would dictate the need for assistance from someone who had complementary ingenuity and expertise in making the service selection decision.
Features and functionalities needed to be understood and evaluated. Disparate software and services needed to be integrated in order to maximize their value to the user, and to the organization-at-large. And most importantly, business people needed someone who can take the lead on these initiatives so that they could focus more fully on meeting the imperatives of their customers, instead of on key decisions that lived outside their comfort zones. Thus, the role of the Trusted Advisor became even stronger as time went on.
Trusted Advisors can take a variety of forms. In the parlance of the old-world industry, they could be resellers or value-added resellers. They could also be integrators, agents, or consultants who may specialize in the customer’s vertical market, a specific technology area, or any other defined space that the market will bear.
Whatever their business model, Trusted Advisors can take a perplexing array of technology options and either make those decisions on a company’s behalf or boil them down into a far more workable short list that demonstrates the pros and cons of each. Customers should clearly define the extent to which they want their Trusted Advisor to make such decisions. By doing so, they meet their own responsibility in guaranteeing the success of the engagement.
Trusted Advisors can also take the lead on executing limited rollouts of potential service selections so that the customers can get a feel for how they work, and the extent to which they meet the company’s needs.
But most importantly, Trusted Advisors become the customer’s true advocate, representing the customer’s best interests in an objective and vendor-agnostic way. Even members of the managed service provider community have quotas and specific offerings that maximize their best interests. Trusted Advisors can sort through those value propositions and help the customer make decisions at a level that other people in the sales chain cannot duplicate. They truly are Trusted Advisors in every sense of the term.
The ‘As-A-Service’ phenomenon brings great benefit to customers in the form of streamlined modernization, enhanced efficiency, and cost control. Trusted Advisors customize that value to the customer’s particular needs.
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