Justin Augat

It’s Time for Traditional IT Vendors to Think "Outside the Box"

Blog Post created by Justin Augat on Feb 29, 2016

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In a recent blog post, my colleague Greg Knieriemen referenced EMC’s recent earnings call in a discussion he titled “’Just Enough’ isn’t “Good Enough’”. This is a great post if you haven’t read it. The focus is on “traditional” IT infrastructure buying (i.e. not “on demand” buying) and the hold many IT vendors have on their customers with the promise of the “next big thing”.

 

While stating that “customers are buying just enough” is certainly one way for executives to spin stagnant growth, revenue, profit, or other missed expectations – the truth is that many IT vendors simply aren’t offering more than “just enough”.

 

In effect, many large IT vendors have arguably become “anti-strategic” from a customer perspective (at least in the short term) while they sort out their own strategies. Meaning, unintentionally or not, many vendors do not hold to “committed” roadmaps, do not play nicely with previous gen IT, do not support open standards, or simply, won’t commit to satisfying the modern IT buyer’s real needs.

 

Now, to be fair, recent IT industry events have had a lot to do with this. Mergers, splits, executive musical chairs, and hanging the “out of business sign” certainly accounts for some of this inability to provide customers with a long term strategy. At best, these events have caused future uncertainty – and, at worst, they are the proverbial “canary in the coal mine” that may signal future customer service disruption.

 

But even if IT vendors addressed all of the above, would they meet the modern IT customer’s real expectations? Not likely. Let’s be honest: Most traditional IT customers are working to better compete with their “born in the cloud” competition (think Marriott vs airbnb). Satisfying the above doesn’t go the full distance. IT vendors need to bring more to the table. They need to think “out of the box”.

 

Today’s IT buyer makes buying decisions in multiple dimensions that transcend the physical box. Cloud computing has disrupted the playing field forever with extreme flexibility in IT financing, geography, etc. Consider this:

 

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A very different picture than from just 5 years ago. And by the way, this is GREAT news for traditional customers.

 

Back to competing against “born in cloud” companies - traditional IT companies have made investments, they have datacenters, they have staff. As much as they may want to leap into cloud headfirst, there are obstacles with that approach - in many cases, it is financially impossible to just walk away from those IT investments.

 

Where can IT vendors help? Offer flexibility beyond the box – and offer it readily.

 

There are few IT vendors whose solutions scale, upgrade non-disruptively, adapt to changing business requirements, and support an open “ecosystem” for innovation. Fixing this is a great start - but it is also where the difference will be made in the future.

 

Let’s consider HDS’ object storage solution Hitachi Content Platform (HCP). While many of HCP’s 1,300 customers have traditionally purchased or leased HCP upfront and managed it (themselves) onsite, customers’ needs have started to shift with industry trends. Instead of promises, HDS has responded with exactly what customers need. We can now fully align today’s application/technology need for object storage with today’s modern business needs –providing much more flexibility to meet individual business goals.

 

Did you know:

 

  • HCP can be located onsite or HDS hosted. We can even host a second HCP for disaster recover purposes.
  • You can manage it or we can manage it – including service catalog choice or individual service level design - and committed SLAs
  • HCP can be purchased CAPEX or OPEX (usage based). Or even a hybrid model.
  • You can have HCP as a dedicated solution or it can be “shared”/multi-tenant.
  • We can provide with no commitment or a traditional contract.

 

HDS’ commitment to technical, operational, and financial flexibility with HCP (and all our solutions) represents a swift response to changing customers’ needs. To be competitive in today’s marketplace, customers want more than a promise for the future – i.e. “next big thing”. They know full well that the “next big thing” may not work well with the “last big thing”. So, they want a technical, operational, and financial ecosystem strategy that transcends “the box” and can adapt to whatever the changing industry throws at them.


Why not give it to them?

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