Putting business into focus: Why selling technology solutions is so 2013

Since my last blog post, I’ve spoken with numerous partners and customers across Canada at events here and abroad.

Interestingly, in addition to the conversations we’ve had around our announcements (such as Intercloud), there has been another topic brought to my attention again and again in recent weeks: The disempowerment of the IT buyer.

Or perhaps, that should read the empowerment of the business buyer.

Cisco Services Blog Post - May 2014

Let me explain. Right now we are in the midst of a massive shift in our industry. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings have given rise to immediate and ever-available technologies for businesses. Need more storage? No longer does a CEO need to task CIOs and IT Directors with the purchase of new servers. Instead, business leaders can leverage cloud technology to purchase scalable, affordable storage in less time. While this scenario is not repeated in every business across Canada, it is repeated enough to realize that a significant shift in our approach to selling technology is needed.

In fact, it’s time to put business into focus and leave technology selling in the past.

Historically, IT leaders purchased technology based on their technology needs. Today, business leaders will purchase technology based on what best serves the needs of the business. In short – we need to change the conversation because we are now speaking with business leaders.

This is where being part of Cisco is so exciting. As the leader of Services in Canada, I see Cisco Services as a catalyst to create this change in our methodology and a driver in our conversation with Canadian business leaders. Why? Because Services are able to give business leaders information on their technology environment, identifying the problems they knew – or didn’t know – they had, and enabling them to make educated purchasing decisions.

For example: a growing Canadian company realizes they need to expand their infrastructure to account for new employees. Instead of making a significant capital investment and purchasing a new server, the company’s CEO instead requests a data centre assessment at a fraction of the cost. The assessment reveals that the company’s server footprint is actually adequate for the increase in employees, but the company’s routers are nearing end-of-life and should be replaced. By replacing them, the company’s network will run more efficiently and save hundreds of hours in employee productivity.

Through this exercise, the company ends up with the right technology for their needs. And at the end of that day, that’s what matters.

Business leaders are taking an active role in technology purchasing and should ask their technology vendor how their products will ensure they meet their desired business outcomes. What operational problem will it address? How are similar solutions helping other businesses in your industry or geography?

If they can’t tell you, it may be time for a new vendor.

In the meantime, I am working with my team to develop Cisco Services Assessments across technologies and industries that will help Canadian businesses leaders discover the solutions that are right for them, presented in a way that makes sense. You speak business, and it’s time we spoke it back.

Stay tuned for more information on how we are changing the conversation with business leaders across Canada.

If you are interested in scheduling a Cisco Services Assessment for your business, email can-services@cisco.com.

About John Christensen

As the Vice President of Services Sales for Canada, John Christensen is responsible for the ongoing success of Cisco Services in the Canadian market. Christensen is also executive co-sponsor for the U.S./Canada theater services sales program office, responsible for the development and implementation of the Cisco Services Partner Program portfolio. This includes Partner Support Services, Smart Services, emerging collaborative Advanced Services, and Partner Enablement services. Previously at Cisco, Christensen was the director of Partner Services Sales at Cisco Canada. Before that he held leadership roles in direct and channel service sales management for Canada involving technical and advanced services for enterprise, commercial, and service provider segments. Christensen joined Cisco in 2000 as global services manager, responsible for technical and professional services sales to Canada’s largest service providers. Prior to joining Cisco, Christensen spent 14 years in various sales, marketing, and operations roles with EDS, Systemhouse, Wang, and Honeywell Bull. Christensen holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from York University. À titre de vice-président des ventes de services pour le Canada, John Christensen est responsable des succès répétés des services Cisco dans le marché canadien. M. Christensen est également coresponsable du bureau des programmes destinés aux segments des services pour les États-Unis et le Canada qui est chargé du développement et de la mise en œuvre de l'ensemble des programmes destinés aux partenaires des services Cisco. Ceux-ci comprennent les services de soutien aux partenaires, les services intelligents, les services évolués en matière de collaboration et les services d'habilitation des partenaires. M. Christensen était auparavant directeur des ventes de services destinés aux partenaires de Cisco Canada. Il a avant cela occupé des postes de direction dans la gestion de la prestation directe ou extérieure de services directs pour le Canada comportant des services techniques et évolués auprès des segments des grandes entreprises, du secteur commercial et des fournisseurs de services. M. Christensen a rallié les rangs de Cisco en 2000 à titre de gestionnaire des services généraux, de responsable des ventes de services techniques et professionnels pour les plus importants fournisseurs de services du Canada. Avant de joindre Cisco, M. Christensen a œuvré 14 ans dans diverses fonctions de vente, commercialisation et opérations au sein de EDS, Systemhouse, Wang et Honeywell Bull. M. Christensen est titulaire d'un baccalauréat en psychologie de York University.
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One Response to Putting business into focus: Why selling technology solutions is so 2013

  1. Marc Lijour says:

    This is clearly happening in the education sector. Directors of Education (and Superintendents) in K-12, and Deans/Provosts in Higher Education want to be part of the conversation about 21st century teaching and learning, the connected classroom (how to use space to enable active learning -the third teacher), and ultimately the kind of skills required to succeed in today’s workplace. Effective CIOs understand this and they make sure IT conversations are really about meeting business goals like student success, recruitment/retention, and cost savings.

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