Tag Archives: IT

Why isn’t IT market intelligence obsessed with optimising the multibillion-dollar mature industries?

I’ll level with you, I‘m confused.

When I look at recent premier IT events such as Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona and CES in Las Vegas, I see an industry that is almost entirely focused on the future. Obviously, technology players want to accelerate innovation – the event programme at this year’s MWC for example includes a session called the “4th Industrial Revolution”.

But what about optimising the performance of the mature €650 billion[1] European IT market? Compare the MWC and CES programmes with the Consumer Goods Forum, the premier gathering of the food and drink sector, at €1,048 billion[2] making it the largest manufacturing industry in Europe, and you’ll see a programme in which innovation is there, but sitting alongside good stewardship of their well-established sectors.

In a mature industry, performance parameters are well known, top line growth is small, big players that can’t keep up get acquired by nimbler competitors, and optimisation is key. As well as innovating in emerging technologies, the IT industry should be innovating in its core businesses to optimise performance in the mature sectors. One example – in an area I know well – is how companies see the role of sales tracking in the new world of established technologies, grown up now after 30 years. The over-complication of market intelligence (MI) offerings here is causing a raft of issues, and users of this data should be demanding better. To paraphrase a few people, I’ve heard:

“We are drowning in data, we just don’t know what to do with it …”

“We spend so much time compiling different sources that the real analytics come as a second thought”, and

“We don’t fully understand what each dataset actually represents, or how to act on it.”

In the IT sectors, this sentiment isn’t exclusive to vendors – it is shared in their channel by distribution and reseller partners –it being generally accepted that MI data is sub-par as delivered today.

This problem has been around for quite some time. In a previous role at one of the largest and oldest technology firms in the world, I worked with one of the most sophisticated MI solutions I’ve ever seen. “Well done them”, you might think. In reality, it wasn’t without strife. It took the company over three years to design and implement that solution and, to this day, it still requires many people across the globe to combine multiple data sources into ‘one version of the truth’. The company implemented this solution at the tail end of what was generally considered the ‘maturation’ of the PC industry. Any other company thinking of undertaking a similar task today in the printing, display, PC, or other flat or declining mature industry, would need to be resource-rich and highly committed to the cause.

Whilst it is imperative to stay abreast of shifts in consumer and business trends, managing the at-risk 1% of a multi-billion-dollar established industry is as important, if not more so in some cases, as getting established in multi-million-dollar upcoming categories. Indeed, the frustration voiced by the industry would suggest that this is the case. Is it possible that many participants in these mature-technology industries are struggling to monitor and protect their cash-generating business, and that this impacts their ability to invest in new technology in the future?

What is needed to fulfill the requirements of such companies? At CONTEXT, we are working with our customers and partners to address this issue, and have designed a number of new services that provide both broad and specific analyses of mature IT product categories. The key focus areas for this new breed of deliverables are reliability, cost-effectiveness and simple implementation, so that instead of drowning in data and wasting time trying to bring together multiple data sources, the user is able to integrate information easily into existing operations and spend time more productively in improving their business. In essence, that’s our aim at CONTEXT: to help our customers and partners Optimise Today, and Accelerate Tomorrow.

by TP


[1] EITO Report Western Europe 2013/14

[2] Food Drink Europe 2014

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Filed under Enterprise IT, Market Analysis, Mobile technology, Networking, Retail

As cloud-based technology quickens in pace, Jeremy Davies asks: “Are Resellers prepared for the Cloud?”

If you are like me, and have been around for a while, the next mention of anything to do with “Cloud” will either have you shaking your head and thinking “here we go again,”  trying politely to stifle a yawn, or – like Wordsworth – wandering lonely as a cloud in the eternal debate on where this is leading us.  So much has been written, so much hot air expelled, that it’s difficult to get beyond the hype generated by pundits, soothsayers and venerable Industry Analysts as they attempt to chart and predict the future of what everyone is sure is the IT world’s The Next Big Thing.

The enterprise Cloud businesses are already clearly marked out, we know where that is today and where its going. But as far as a broader adoption goes, and leaving aside any consumer debate, it’s SMBs and the Channel that serves them that will determine how big the Cloud business gets. Today,  it’s still somewhat diffuse as IT distributors attempt to cash in, with several across Europe launching efforts to set up Cloud divisions, but these are early days and the results a while off yet.

But there is one indicator of where resellers, SMB and Cloud are heading, and that is to look closely at what real people are doing.  At a recent European IT Channel trade event, my eye was caught by what I can only describe as a scrum milling around a leading software distributor’s stand. In fact, it was the busiest part of the trade show floor. I walked over, fully expecting to cash in on whatever freebie was on offer.  The distributor was offering were pre-packaged Cloud solutions specifically designed for resellers to offer their SMB customers. The offer was clear, pricing was attractive, and it hit the right spot with resellers anxious to capitalise on their customers’ growing acceptance of Cloud in their businesses. There were twelve neatly packaged solutions, ranging from back-up (of course), storage, security, video conferencing and virtual office. Each application was clearly explained, along with a list of the suppliers who made up the components of the whole offer. On the distributor’s web site, there are videos explaining the service.

And that’s what was attracting the resellers in droves. It was clear, it related directly to business solutions they’re dealing with already, and all the work had been done to integrate the different services into the solution.

Are resellers prepared? Of course they are. It’s up to their Distributors to create the right packages.

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