Picture the scene. Line cards and product brochures scattered on the table, agitated sales leaders circulating like vultures and an out of touch engineer stumbling through slide 46 of 83.
Painful for C-level executive attendees, but even more damaging for the messenger.
Such a scene stands as a rule rather than the exception however, as customers across Australia continue to be suffocated with speeds, feeds and irrelevance.
Yet old habits die hard in the channel, with technology providers still favouring out-dated approaches in the hunt for happy customers.
“We don’t do technology solutions,” explained Jodie Korber, managing director of Lanrex. “We do business solutions backed by technology and that’s what makes all the difference.”
A simple switch at surface level perhaps, but in delving deeper, this represents a fundamental shift in how the Sydney-based managed service provider (MSP) goes to market.
“We’re committed to connecting businesses with the technology they need to drive process automation and transform business functions,” Korber added. “We’ve evolved from being technology obsessed to business obsessed.
“It was a logical and natural transition as new technologies dramatically changed how we deliver and mange solutions for customers.”
Technology in isolation is cold and unaccommodating, enlightened only by the context of business.
Driven by outcomes, customers today are ambivalent about technology to the point that such responsibility now sits with the MSP, as buyers disconnect from comparing apples and oranges.
Irrespective of whether the flashing light is red, blue or green, end-user priorities now lie elsewhere.
Triggered by the rise of as-a-service models, Korber said platforms and systems can now be switched on (or switched off) in “moments rather than weeks or months”.
As a result, IT budgets are no longer consumed with merely keeping the lights on, and the features embedded within each product.
“We’ve evolved our services and consulting methods to help our customers firstly develop a technology strategy which aligns with their business strategy, and follow this with an implementation and management framework,” Korber added.
“This starts with our four-stage business diagnostic, where we help our customers to better understand where technology can be connected to their business strategy.
“Once this is clear we develop a digital transformation plan that’s right for their business. We’ve developed our digital transformation framework which enables our customers to embrace an organisational mind-set turning their intentions into action.”
The framework starts with business strategy, establishing a customer’s key future objectives before examining employee engagement levels.
After completing phases one and two, Lanrex then performs a total technology audit, identifying best practice methods alongside maximising existing assets to deliver improved performance.
Finally, the MSP leverages data to outline optimum technology systems, assets and operations, through the final procedure of best practice benchmarking. Collectively, this four-point plan serves as a key blueprint for customers.
“Technology is an enabler of business strategy, for each strategy mentioned there is an associated opportunity to leverage technology to achieve the business outcome,” Korber said.
“However, it’s important not to focus on a single business application or business transaction process. It’s crucial to improve the entire gamut of technology, process and people to achieve a competitive edge.”
The framework reflects a changing of the guard within the IT department, as CIOs morph into executive leaders, and new line of business buyers emerge across the organisation.
“Investing in talent will be sitting on most priority lists,” Korber said.
In drawing on almost 20 years of experience consulting small and mid-sized businesses, Korber — who re-joined Lanrex in 2009 — advised that business growth and customer retention remain key investment priorities in 2018.
“But how it’s tackled differs,” Korber cautioned. “Some focus on digital marketing strategies, for others it’s about expanding into new markets or the higher maturity customers are leveraging technology to solve customer problems.
“Generally, customers are not looking for growth at the detriment to their bottom line, so they’re investing in optimising the way they operate.”
Irrespective of core priorities however, leaders remain aligned in the quest to create a digital business, with executive roles widening as initiatives move from pilot phases into mainstream adoption.
“For our customers, it’s all about their digital transformation journey, and there are many technologies implemented to deliver their overall business strategy,” Korber added.
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