In the last post to this blog we talked about enterprise IT, and their likely role in cloud computing discussions. There is another reason for ISVs to actively search for opportunities to include enterprise IT organizations in discussions about cloud computing offers. In fact, these organizations are usually highly influential within the management hierarchy of enterprise businesses, and, therefore, may have the authority to mandate enterprise wide use of solutions — which can result in substantial sales volume for ISVs.
Enterprise IT organizations can take on this role as a sponsoring authority for a computing standard either as a driver, or, on the other hand, as an implementer, working on behalf of a line of business (LOB) organization. When enterprise IT drives products as company standards, LOBs within the organization will usually adhere to policy and implement approved solutions for requirements.
When enterprise IT implements products on behalf of LOBs, the LOBs are usually powerful within their respective organizations. If ISV sales teams have done their work, meaning that they have reached out enterprise IT organizations and established credibility, then they have an opportunity to leverage successful implementations as a reference for other LOBs within the same organization. This latter approach requires more work, but can be equally productive as regards sales volume.
The point is that ISVs — especially Cloud ISVs — need to understand that enterprise IT is a very important group within the organization, and, certainly, not one to be treated in a casual manner. Gaining this understanding means carefully modulating promotion based upon the bring your own device (BYOD) movement, or the consumerization of IT to ensure that enterprise IT guidelines and policies are respected, and, further, presented to LOBs as they emerge. There is no more certain failure plan for a sales strategy for enterprise business opportunities than to go against enterprise IT policies and mandated procedures.
In fact, enterprise IT organizations will usually welcome outreach. They understand their obligation to provision as optimal a computing environment for internal users, as possible and will, in all likelihood, make reasonable best efforts to deliver on their mandate. We need to note that outreach should be effected appropriately in a carefully modulated manner. There is no need to include enterprise IT in early stage negotiations with LOBs beyond simply establishing, within the lead generation stage for the opportunity, whether or not LOB contacts are aware of any enterprise IT policies or procedures for the type of solution under discussion. Lightly covering this base very early in the sales cycles makes sense. A lot of wasted effort can be spared by qualifying prospects on this question.
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