Last Wednesday, I attended an all day seminar hosted by IDC, a technology oriented analyst firm. The seminar was focused on topics that those of us who work for high technology firms care about; i.e. what's the next big thing that our firms should capitalize on in order to continue to thrive. I attended sessions on Software as a Service (not so new), Software Appliances (still pretty new), Social Networking (kind of new), Innovation (not new at all), and a session on "The New Customer".
It's this last topic that I find fascinating - mostly because the attributes of "the new customer" seem pretty darned similar to the attributes of the majority of the customers I've served in 26 years of working for high technology companies. Specifically, customers purchasing high dollar technology solutions want to know that once the implementation is done, the solution they bought actually achieves the outcome they were shopping for. Sometimes that's true business transformation, often it's cost savings, but in all cases there is a project sponsor on the hook to find the right solution and make sure it works for the business. During and after the sales process, that project sponsor wants to talk to people who understand their business and the technology. They don't want their relationship "managed", they want the straight scoop they need to ensure they choose the right tools and partner to get the job done. People who've taken the risk to introduce a vendor's solution into their organization want that vendor to be standing by their side as a partner who shares in solving the hard problems that inevitably accompany change.
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