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The Death of the Five-Year Plan

September 28, 2016

Amit Sachdeva   

Amit Sachdeva, Global Head, Cloud and Application Service Provider Business

The market is moving too fast for five-year plans. The traditional plan of developing and delivering new services over years no longer matches customer demands that change day-by-day and month-to-month.

In a cloud-centric market, I’m seeing technology and services as well as customer expectations evolving faster than ever. In almost every conversation I have with service providers they are asking about how they can be more agile. Agility is the key to success and five-year plans are being replaced by 6-month delivery cycles.

Service providers are looking to execute quickly and evaluate what works and what doesn’t. They want the flexibility to change when something fails and the ability to adapt to new market conditions.

In my own experience the start-up mantra of failing quickly is only part of the story. I want to see innovation happening faster than competitors and that speed can become a real differentiator. This is where partnering becomes critical to accelerating delivery cycles and enabling service providers to deliver new innovations in 6-months or less.

Strong partnerships remove the need for internal R&D investments and enable service providers to benefit from their partners’ service development and expertise. This enables the service provider to ramp up new services and rapidly monetise them.

Within a five-year plan, it is difficult to anticipate market needs in the future and deliver services that are still innovative. The biggest risk with a five-year planning process is that a service is developed that no one wants when it is finally ready. The investment needed to develop a new service internally also makes it very difficult to monetise. Service providers could wait additional years for a newly launched service to become profitable and even before launch the service could be obsolete.

Partnering manages the risk of a service failing and enables the service provider to pivot quickly to serve their customers with something new. It gives them the freedom to focus on growth areas and experiment with new services. This not only supports revenue growth, it also enables new innovations to be tested in the market.

Service Providers can execute a six-month plan with the help of a partner and deliver new services enterprise customers. This reduces time-to-market, enabling service providers to differentiate their businesses with agility. Service providers can move faster and shape their offerings to meet the needs of their local markets or the vertical sectors they serve. They understand customer needs and with the support of a partner can be more agile than competitors.

By finding a trusted partner, service providers can capture new opportunities faster than competitors and deliver innovative services that truly define their business. I think there’s a real opportunity for service providers to look at how they are planning for the future and what impact partnering can have on service delivery. I’ve seen this mindset shift transform how service providers operate and accelerate how they grow their businesses.

Service providers should look at their partner strategy as a way to move faster than competitors while expanding their capabilities. As businesses evolve month-to-month instead of year-to-year, I see partner strategy as the most critical part of not just keeping up but being successful in the long term. I think every service provider should ask themselves how they are going to compete in today’s market and what role partnering will play in deliver new agility.

How do you see partnerships transforming the way providers deliver services? Let us know in the comments below.