As IT buying increasingly moves beyond the back-end to now involve line of business heads alongside the CIO, new breeds of end users are born, leaving partners well-placed to capitalise across all industry verticals.
Certainly, this means opportunities abound for the channel to sell solutions and services that transcend multiple markets. Particularly in a period where every industry sector has embarked on some kind of digital transformation journey in response to changing demands and expectations among end users, according to Gartner.
Yet, there remains two sides to the strategy coin. Is there more value to be had by taking a vertical-centric approach or adopting a solution-centric strategy?
According to Gartner, successful vertical differentiation is a business and operating model choice, not a marketing choice.
“Not all technology providers will benefit from greater verticalisation, but the approach adopted needs to be a considered decision,” the firm said.
For Melbourne-based managed services company, Thomas Peer Solutions, the strategy is simple: the actual technology is more important than the industry.
“These days, the major disruptors in an industry are solutions like mobility, cloud and security,” CEO, Udara Dharmadasa, explained.
“If you think about companies like Uber and Airbnb, these technologies are very big disruptors in industries and they took the market share right out of their competitors. So if you look at competition from an industry point of view, these companies were not ready for the disruptors.”
Since starting out as a consultancy firm in 2012, Thomas Peer turned over $2.56 million in revenue in 2016 and Dharmadasa attributes the business success to its transition into a solution-centric company, integrating products for security, virtualisation and infrastructure-as-a-service.
“Everybody wants to mobilise their salesforce. Everybody wants to look at their security. Everybody wants to deploy faster and more efficiently because they want to be agile. No matter what industry you are in, these are the priorities. So, security, agility and mobility - these are the priorities for business from an IT view,” he said.
However, in recognising that there is not one strategy that fits all, Dharmadasa explained that the approach largely depends on the companies a partner is targeting.
“If you are focusing on a very traditional business that has been in the market for 25 years, then [a vertical-centric] strategy is correct. But if you are targeting modern companies who are looking for new technologies, then you can disrupt them and prove to their shareholders that they are progressive.”
Dharmadasa added that because of both current and unknown “disruptors” and “the new way of thinking”, many companies want to utilise what other industries experience to grow in a particular technology or field like security, mobility or cloud. And these disruptors transcend many industries.