|By Ardath Albee||
|April 3, 2014 12:29 PM EDT||
Despite the shift in the B2B buyer landscape that puts them squarely in the power position, I still hear marketers insist that the product is the hero of the story. Well, I'll just rip the bandaid off and say it straight up - You Are Wrong.
As a level set for this post:
The hero of the story is the protagonist or main character. The protagonist has a goal; is impeded by the antagonist/villain in achieving the goal; seeks knowledge along the way from a mentor to vanquish the villain; and achieves victory to accomplish his goal successfully at the end.
Does this description of the hero represent your product? Nope.
Instead, B2B marketers need to make their buyers and customers the hero of the stories they tell.
The buyer has a business objective (goal), is impeded by problems or issues (villain) that get in the way of achieving it. The buyer seeks knowledge along the way aided by vendor expertise (mentor) and achieves his objective with the help of your product to enable him to resolve the problems and issues keeping him from achieving his goal.
Nowhere in here is the product playing the starring role in the story.
Now try this:
A CTO and founder of a startup SaaS company that's the subsidiary of a global enterprise is building a new application with a business model dependent upon low price, high volume sales. He knows that, at launch, the delivery and support of his application must be rock solid, the site unwaverable - regardless of how much traffic hits it. This is a key product launch for the parent company with a lot riding on it - including his career.
He's formed a great core team focused on the development of this leading-edge application. He is trying to decide how to support taking the application to market.
- Build the infrastructure in house - hire the team, buy the hardware, develop the network, co-locate the servers, etc.
- Build it in house and spin up the servers from Google or AWS to host it in the cloud - but this also means hiring the team to build and support it
- Outsource the infrastructure to a managed services provider and keep his team's focus solely on core product development, delivery and service
- Employ the services of his parent company's IT division to support roll out - which is what his parent company would prefer and his board is pushing for
- Use the vendors his parent company uses to try and find economies of scale - which could be easier for his parent company to swallow than new, unproven vendors
Some of his concerns include:
- A move up of launch date that means he has to get the infrastructure up faster than he'd planned
- Concern about security and compliance in the cloud - his customers will be all over this
- A reluctance to split his or his team's time between innovations for the new product and managing the infrastructure
- Scaling the infrastructure if volume grows faster than forecast
- He's been burned by managed services vendors in the past and has low trust that they'll do what they say they will after the contract is signed
- Controlling costs to keep slim margins in the acceptable range for the board - they're already slim in the best of scenario forecasts
- Minimizing any perceptions that will get in the way of his potential customers embracing this new application
If you are a managed cloud services provider, how will you build the story for this buyer?
Will you tell him that the cloud will save the day because you're the leading provider of cloud services?
Or will you:
- Share deep insights about the challenges of taking a new SaaS product to market and how cloud compares to an on premise deployment for scale, uptime, responsiveness and rolling out product updates?
- Produce content that talks about the role a managed services team plays in collaborating with the core team to make sure the infrastructure supports new product developments and customer demands?
- Help him to understand how the security and compliance measures you can provide will be a selling point for his customers - and his executive board?
- Show him how a pay for what you use model will help him keep margins where they need to be?
- Share your insights about how the future trends you see for the industry will be easier to address with a cloud infrastructure and why this is important for his app and his customers?
There are many angles your story can take and a number of chapters to unfold that will be integral to helping the buyer build the trust and credibility he needs to take the risk of choosing to use an outside vendor, let alone the cloud. There will be a lot of information he'll need to build the business case and drive consensus with his board and parent company. But only if you can convince him first.
None of the stories this buyer needs revolve around your product or solution as the hero. Your solution is simply one component of the business the buyer is building. The story you need to tell is one that builds the buyer's confidence that he's making the best, lowest risk choice that will lead to his SaaS app succeeding in the marketplace and help to elevate his career.
Do you see the difference?
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
Jan. 26, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 2,699
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
Jan. 26, 2015 01:00 AM EST Reads: 2,510
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by mining large volumes of unstructured data, and how data tracking delivers uptime when it matters most.
Jan. 26, 2015 12:45 AM EST Reads: 3,457
SYS-CON Events announced today that ActiveState, the leading independent Cloud Foundry and Docker-based PaaS provider, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's DevOps Summit New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. ActiveState believes that enterprises gain a competitive advantage when they are able to quickly create, deploy and efficiently manage software solutions that immediately create business value, but they face many challenges that prevent them from doing so. The Company is uniquely positioned to help address these challenges thro...
Jan. 25, 2015 11:45 PM EST Reads: 1,780
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
Jan. 25, 2015 07:45 PM EST Reads: 2,325
SYS-CON Media announced that Cisco, a worldwide leader in IT that helps companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow, has launched a new ad campaign in Cloud Computing Journal. The ad campaign, a webcast titled 'Is Your Data Center Ready for the Application Economy?', focuses on the latest data center networking technologies, including SDN or ACI, and how customers are using SDN and ACI in their organizations to achieve business agility. The Cisco webcast is available on-demand.
Jan. 25, 2015 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,240
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...
Jan. 25, 2015 06:15 PM EST Reads: 3,805
Dale Kim is the Director of Industry Solutions at MapR. His background includes a variety of technical and management roles at information technology companies. While his experience includes work with relational databases, much of his career pertains to non-relational data in the areas of search, content management, and NoSQL, and includes senior roles in technical marketing, sales engineering, and support engineering. Dale holds an MBA from Santa Clara University, and a BA in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Jan. 25, 2015 06:00 PM EST Reads: 3,007
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly in the process of breaking from its heretofore relatively obscure enterprise applications (such as plant floor control and supply chain management) and going mainstream into the consumer space. More and more creative folks are interconnecting everyday products such as household items, mobile devices, appliances and cars, and unleashing new and imaginative scenarios. We are seeing a lot of excitement around applications in home automation, personal fitness, and in-car entertainment and this excitement will bleed into other areas. On the commercial side, m...
Jan. 25, 2015 06:00 PM EST Reads: 2,732
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., showed what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He discussed opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and technical point of vie...
Jan. 25, 2015 04:30 PM EST Reads: 3,040
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, addressed the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. Rodney Rogers, chairman and CEO of Virtustream; Brendan O'Brien, co-founder of Aria Systems, Bart Copeland, president and CEO of ActiveState Software; Jim Cowie, chief scientist at Dyn; Dave Wagstaff, VP and chief architect at BSQUARE Corporation; Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc.; and Andris Gailitis, C...
Jan. 25, 2015 04:00 PM EST Reads: 2,439
SYS-CON Events announced today that CodeFutures, a leading supplier of database performance tools, has been named a “Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. CodeFutures is an independent software vendor focused on providing tools that deliver database performance tools that increase productivity during database development and increase database performance and scalability during production.
Jan. 25, 2015 04:00 PM EST Reads: 1,567
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
Jan. 25, 2015 03:00 PM EST Reads: 2,452
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 25, 2015 02:30 PM EST Reads: 2,256
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
Jan. 25, 2015 02:15 PM EST Reads: 2,877
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
Jan. 25, 2015 01:00 PM EST Reads: 3,778
“The age of the Internet of Things is upon us,” stated Thomas Svensson, senior vice-president and general manager EMEA, ThingWorx, “and working with forward-thinking companies, such as Elisa, enables us to deploy our leading technology so that customers can profit from complete, end-to-end solutions.” ThingWorx, a PTC® (Nasdaq: PTC) business and Internet of Things (IoT) platform provider, announced on Monday that Elisa, Finnish provider of mobile and fixed broadband subscriptions, will deploy ThingWorx® platform technology to enable a new Elisa IoT service in Finland and Estonia.
Jan. 25, 2015 11:00 AM EST Reads: 1,476
Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are increasing at an unprecedented rate. The threat landscape of today is drastically different than just a few years ago. Attacks are much more organized and sophisticated. They are harder to detect and even harder to anticipate. In the foreseeable future it's going to get a whole lot harder. Everything you know today will change. Keeping up with this changing landscape is already a daunting task. Your organization needs to use the latest tools, methods and expertise to guard against those threats. But will that be enough? In the foreseeable future attacks w...
Jan. 25, 2015 11:00 AM EST Reads: 2,872
As enterprises move to all-IP networks and cloud-based applications, communications service providers (CSPs) – facing increased competition from over-the-top providers delivering content via the Internet and independently of CSPs – must be able to offer seamless cloud-based communication and collaboration solutions that can scale for small, midsize, and large enterprises, as well as public sector organizations, in order to keep and grow market share. The latest version of Oracle Communications Unified Communications Suite gives CSPs the capability to do just that. In addition, its integration ...
Jan. 25, 2015 11:00 AM EST Reads: 2,817
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, shared some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, deploy, and manage applications integrating voice, video and data. He is the co-founder of TeleStax, a...
Jan. 25, 2015 10:45 AM EST Reads: 2,949