I must admit that I am more of a fan of conversations that happen out there than I am of the “original” posts, so for a few people I subscribe to the blog comment feeds in addition to the article lists. Helps me see what others think in response. This comment in particular really made me think of Office Space, it’s of an IT consultant looking for Microsoft to paint a better “value proposition” picture for his clients:
“I guess the thing I struggle with is knowing *how* to engage with MS when MS are just one of my product stack. I reckon that when we put a proposal together we get stuff from about 8-10 different sources, one of them being Microsoft. Microsoft are basically box-shifters, they want volume and I can’t (and probably never will) give them great volumes. All their campaigns, go-to-markets etc all seem to be about shifting product whereas what we need is something that helps with blending all those disparate strands together to make a compelling message for our clients.”
In USA, Microsoft has gotten a lot better in helping smallbiz IT consultants paint a compelling picture of integrated services, software and benefits. They will help you market, deliver, support and even finance the solution.
That bold faced part in the quote above really made me think of Office Space where the two consultants look at the employee, puzzled, and ask: “What would you say it is YOU DO around here?”
So allow me to help: You see, it is your job as an IT consultant to make a compelling message for me as your client, it is your job to do it based on experience with the product and not what the vendor cookie cuttered for you, it is your job to tie it in as to make the most benefit for my current problem and fit my business process, it is your job to make it happen and support it in my environment.
Otherwise, what is it you do? Sit around and click Next/Finish all day?
Food for thought people. You cannot just be a reseller anymore or an MSP that only claims to keep computers up and clean of spyware because the big boys are coming and you need a competitive edge. And you need differentiation, and if you’re all going into a pitch with the same Microsoft canned page then you’ll be judged by the only differentiating factor you present – your price. And when you compete on price, you always lose.
* P.S. Regarding the commenters “struggle with Microsoft” – give it up sir. Microsoft’s answer to being used with competitive third party software has been, is, and always will be “We have a product that will do that, why don’t you use it instead?”