Tag Archives: bpo


re Guy Kawasaki post telling entrepreneurs to ‘just dive in’

• I'm usually in agreement with this gent but I think that he is over-simplifying things a little when he suggests that businesses 'just dive in'… like everything else, awareness and planning are required if only to ensure that there actually is water in the pool before you dive!

I am not suggesting that Consultants and Social Media Specialist Advisors are the right answer – nor that they are the wrong answer… simply that the question should be more clearly defined before answers are considered.

I wouldn't expect a small business to spend weeks in planning a Social Media strategy but I would advise that a clear and documented view of your requirements will help to determine which social media tool(s) can deliver to that requirement.

This type of planning starts with a few questions along the lines of:
– what is the need / the economic driver / the business result you are hoping to achieve;
– how will you know when you have achieved it;
– which cross-selection of the myriad of tools out there are the right ones to deliver to your objective
– do you have time / resources in place to define a process and then regularly execute and manage that process?

Once underway this type of process tends to steer itself towards helping you see more clearly just what are your needs, which, to me, makes it so much easier to fill them

in response to the question “How best to sell a solution in the technology market?”

One of the first challenges – and this is from the p.o.v. of one whose experience is based on a history of visioning conceiving and designing solutions – is to get all parties on the same page as to exactly what is the definition of “solution” in the current context…

But, to the original question “How best to sell a solution in the technology market?” I respond “by not selling a solution”.

Instead, sell a proposition which (once you all agree on that definition) is typically a compound of solutions.

To paraphrase myself from a post in a different LinkedIn forum:

In the world of organisations selling tech and tech-based solutions to business and government, a salesman requires the ability to clearly, precisely, quickly and concisely state:
– exactly what it is that he is selling
– exactly why his customer would buy it
– and why buy it from him rather than the competitor
– what his customer sees as the value what he is buying
– what his customer sees as value in terms of who he is buying from

I don’t mean as an elevator pitch or as sales material… these are the components of your account development plan or customer intelligence and without them I would suggest that you are only selling technology solutions and are not likely to succeed (or, if you have been successful are unlikley to remain so).

To get to this requires your clearly understanding which of your competencies, capabilities, credentials, etc. combine to form the correct proposition (solution, product, service delivery set – – take your choice of handles).

The proposition needs appropriate staging and presentation based on the needs and perceptions at a customer-specific level: what value will it provide and how will the ROI manifest, not what tech it uses or the world-class offshore development facility…

In my opinion, everything is secondary to what your customer sees as the value in buying it, and in buying it from you.

and a quick response to John: while I agree that change can be troublesome, it all depends on the objectives. To use random examples:

– if you are replacing the telephone system across a vast business organisation – or upgrading versions of Microsoft Exchange or other back office software – or even moving users from XP to Windows 7 then mimimised impact is required… and there are likely countless other, better examples but yes, sometimes change is bad
– if you are introducing a tech-based solution to transform a business unit, whether doubling output, halving resources or generally miminising costs, change is necessary and desirable: if the work packages being delivered by 10 people today will be delivered by 4 people, SAP and a dog next week then change is inevitable and is in fact a primary target of the exercise

True concern for the end user is laudable but only if that is what the man with the spreadsheet is paying for – which is of course the final part of the equation: once you know what it is that you are selling & why your customer would want to buy it, and from you then the next step is to ensure that you are selling it to the right person (another example: the IT department of your Local Government customer might not have VoIP on the roadmap until next year BUT VoIP in the contact centre would increase the base of people who can be employed in the contact centre – demand for contact centre resources as one of their current business issues base – by enabling simplified and connected home-working – – and in doing so offer employment to home-bound people which in turn provides extra “ticks in the boxes” around accessible employment targets.

and yes, it should be a great year!

Do feel free to contact me directly if you want to discuss further propositions as the basis for results in selling tech and tech solutions

In response to a question on LinkedIn as to what constitutes an effective sales meeting…

Let me start by saying that I am neither a salesman nor what a professional coach would consider a coach however I consult in the sales and pre-sales space around technology, IT services and outsourcing… and I have spent far too much of my life, like the rest of you, in sales meetings that were clearly NOT effective, and so would like to offer a few opinions on the discussion.

I agree with all everyone says about circulating agendas, themes, guests, schedules, outcomes, the responsibility of all to participate in the success of the meeting, minutes and all the rest – but publishing your agenda and encouraging participation and openness is standard for successful team meetings in most aspects of a business.

While I won’t tell you how to motivate your teams since I don’t know them or what they need, I do want to mention a few things that are sure to convert all of the aforementioned good work into an ineffective meeting:

– Facilitation: whoever manages the session should manage the session; the group needs to act like a team with a single conversation only

– Bad slides: I won’t bore you with detail – though I do hope that you know the difference (if not, let me know… we’ll talk)
o One way to fix it: pay attention, care, produce better slides (audience members: criticise poor slides when you see them… better to point out areas for improvement internally with peers than to deliver a bad presentation to your customer… then again, do you always needs to use a slide deck?

– Focus of agenda on interests of all: we don’t care how much Robert, Mark, Susan and Bill sold last year, this year or hope to sell next year… okay, we do care a little but do not require extensive reporting: the boss needs the deep detail, for the most part the rest of the team needs only an overview.
o Ways to fix it: mix it up, but things that might be valuable, depending on the needs of the owner of the meeting, include: did they do anything different on that recent closure; have they come up with an approach to have that ‘different kind of conversation’; tell us why they went after the CFO for that last deal and why it did or didn’t work;… in other words educate and inform the team with things that their peers are doing that could apply to their own space. One approach that I have used in the past is to ask each member of the team to provide one roadblock encountered and one roadblock cleared since the last meeting, the former to seek ideas and assistance, the latter to inform and pass on skills and knowledge

– Repetitiveness is boring
o Ways to fix it: rotating different team members as facilitators each meeting, charged with changing something from the last time and ensuring interaction during the session
o Boss’s choice: deliver something needed topically = it may be education one session, a customer / expert / exec speaking the next

– Show that you are listening and interested: capture and document ideas, plan how to take the good ones forward

If you manage some or all of the above, you will have people leaving the meeting not only feeling that it had not been a waste of their time – and maybe even motivated by someone else’s idea, solution or comments or, just as often, by the thoughts tweaked and synapses fired in his own head, generating the right answer for his issue based on the knowledge and interaction of the session.

All of the above is opinion, take it as you may… but one thing I can guarantee you is that playing ‘that’ scene from Glengarry Glen Ross is not the motivator that you might think it is.


The Truth About Cloud Economics: a brief intro to an HBR article


The truth is, companies adopting cloud computing often miss the risk and depth of change needed to take real advantage of what is on offer

Not that this is so different from pretty much everything I've seen in a thirty year information technology career: from back office apps to front office transformation and from IT services outsourcing to full blown BPO, it is almost always resistance to change (attributable too often to poor communications) that can, on review, be identified as a root cause of the failure!

HBR state:

But the truth is, companies adopting cloud computing often miss the risk and depth of change needed to embrace a cloud economics model as they embrace cloud services. It turns out that the financial model for cloud computing has far more nuances for both a company and its cloud services provider than many people understand up front.

So what is the financial model for cloud computing? Let's start by saying it's a combination of how people make money in the cloud and the risks associated with adopting new payment styles. Many people assume it's all about moving to a "pay-as-you-go" (PAYG) model and while this is certainly a big piece of it, it also involves operating versus capital expenses, subscriptions to services, and customers paying for outcomes (not technology). The good news is that these models are already familiar to most businesses.

Companies routinely spend money on items vital to the business. They also trade operating expenses for subscriptions and services necessary for business operations, but not directly related to the business. This includes those that would otherwise be too expensive to own and operate (think electricity). They expense nonessential items to someone else who specializes in offering these items as a service.

Cloud computing is no different. Why should a toy or cosmetics company own and operate multiple data centers? It's much easier and economically sound to pay for a service for a short time period and then stop paying for it when you're finished with it, rather than wasting money on something another company can do better, faster and cheaper. But this can present issues for both the consumer of the cloud service as well as the provider.

For companies, cloud computing's new economic model stands in stark contrast to the traditional economic model of IT where we buy technology from a vendor as a capital investment and continue to invest in maintaining and servicing it over time. Traditionally, much of the money allocated to technology has been locked away in capital expense allocations used for buying physical goods. However, cloud services are just that, a service, and require reallocating money to operating expense budgets. This can be a big change when your company must still pay to maintain existing infrastructure. It may even mean that new lines of expenditure must be created if cloud services don't replace existing services. (And you don't need us to tell you how hard it is to create new lines of expenditure.)

The reward for this potentially painful transition to operating expense is that the business gains flexibility and the ability to buy the services they need when they need them. But if you're a CFO, you'll have to decide whether you like consistent or variable expenditures. Operating expenses can be difficult to predict and control because service subscriptions can come from anywhere at any time. Ask yourself if you have a predictable cloud requisition/governance strategy that makes future service acquisitions easy.

For cloud services providers, the PAYG model's flexibility lets customers scale their services up or down based on their needs. If the consumer can easily add or subtract resources and pay for cloud services in small increments, the provider has no guarantee of future business. Therefore, to reduce this risk, the provider must dictate service terms and conditions in its favor. But here's the problem: if the consumer assumes most of the risk, then he will never host a critical application with a cloud service provider. That would limit cloud computing's market growth to the set of noncritical applications or to small-to-midsize businesses that would rather use cloud services than build a $500 million data center in the U.S.

On the other hand, if cloud providers assume all the risk, then in most cloud environments (with multiple consumers), the amount of liability within a provider's service could be greater than the value of the company (which we all know is no way to run a business). And if the service provider cannot afford the insurance premiums necessary to cover the liability without raising prices to the level that the service becomes too expensive to consume…well, you get the picture.

So, to combat this kind of risk, cloud providers will enter into what are called "enterprise agreements," where the two parties can define the parameters of the relationship based on mutual risk sharing. Essentially, this ensures that each party has a vested interest in the financial success of the other party. There's risk, but there's also reward for better service.

In the end, providers that deliver better service and better guarantees will ask for — and get — more money. Consumers, on the other hand, will get the flexibility of "pay-as-you-go." As long as they can figure out a way to pay for it.

The original article can be seen here