Speed defines today’s market. For consumers that means deleting an app as soon as it underperforms. In the enterprise world, it is about outperforming competitors and being faster to change and evolve. For service providers, it is no longer about the big eating the small. It is the fast eating the slow.
That is the market we live in and should also be a wake-up call to a lot of service providers. Market dynamics have changed and service providers who don’t want to get eaten have to think about how they are going to move faster than competitors. Service providers so far have been keen to partner with consumer OTTs but not for enterprise services. That needs to change.
This is really a mind-set shift that will free service providers to look at where they can add value and where partners can strengthen their offering. It isn’t just about getting services to market anymore. Being faster than the competition will enable service providers to capture more long-term opportunities that will create profitable and sustainable businesses.
Throughout our Partner Summit Europe in Budapest, we heard service providers of all sizes talk about how partnerships are shaping their organisations. In different ways each of the participants discussed how they want to be:
- Faster to manage disruption – In today’s market disruption comes in many forms. New competitors, services and business models are changing the game for service providers. I think we all recognise this but what is important is how fast you can react to these changes. Disruption will hurt a business that is standing still. For example, new enterprise demand from cloud services can be quickly turned into an opportunity with a cloud-centric partner that can help a service provider rapidly monetise cloud.
- Faster to deliver for customers – Partnering can be a driver for a new kind of consultative selling. Service providers can select partners based on customer needs and the conversations they are having with enterprises. That takes immediate demand and matches with a partner’s capabilities to give customers the services they need. It laces together partnership strategy and consultative selling to deliver for customers faster than competitors.
- Faster to develop platforms and ecosystems for verticals – I see consumer ecosystems like Apple, Google Android and Facebook capturing users and there is very little churn between them. Service providers can learn a lot from that. When you develop and deliver ecosystems, you can cater for customer needs, ensure they depend on you and retain their loyalty. There is a real opportunity to plug in solutions provided by partners to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts. I think we’ll increasingly see this in the unified communications market where platforms can be developed to serve specific vertical requirements.
- Faster to co-create and deliver the future for enterprises – Enterprises want their service providers to do more for them. They want to see automated processes, APIs and self-service portals. Service providers need to find new approaches to delivering security, cloud and software defined networking (SDN) solutions. Partnering removes the barriers to making them a reality. It also positions service providers at the centre of the enterprise IT ecosystem. Collaborating and co-creating solutions ensures that service providers remain critical to the future of enterprise IT.
Each of these themes represents an opportunity for service providers to push their organisations to new places. They can find success faster when we learn, share and win business together. In this way, I see partner strategy creating the first-mover advantages of the future.
How do you see service providers seizing these new opportunities? Let us know in the comments below.