BMC One is a longstanding member of the Verizon Partner Program. The New York-based company provides integrated technology and network solutions that help companies seamlessly and securely manage their telecommunications services. The goal is to streamline the management function so companies can focus on empowering their employees and better serving their customers.
We sat down with Michael Goodenough, the company’s vice president of cloud solutions and services, during the Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas last month to discuss the value of cloud-based solutions, why service providers need to think and speak in the language of their customers, and the danger of providing too much sales training.
Q: What do customers want in a cloud-based solution? What do they value?
A: Cloud is so generic as a term and used to promote thousands of products. It fits everyone. It has no meaning unless the purpose of the cloud technology is also divulged. Customers are demanding cloud solutions that are specific to their market that have helped peers solve the problems they are running into. We talk about cloud-based solutions being easy and cost-effective to deploy because of their “one-size-fits-all” nature, but clients don’t necessarily want “one-size-fits-all.” They want something that provides unprecedented SLA’s yet is simple and flexible, for sure, but they also want something that is built – or at least tailored – for their company or industry. That’s where the solutions providers come in. We need to speak our clients’ language and understand their business. The technology is the technology but our clients don’t think in terms of “peak uptime or peak downtime.” They think about a busy selling season or rush hour. If we understand how they work, and illustrate how specific cloud-based solutions help them work better by speaking their language, they get it.
Q: What’s next? What help do your customers say they need now and tomorrow?
A: Predictive analytics and machine learning will change the understanding of what we call big data – another term that is generic and confusing. The future is predictive analytics — analysis of that data to help businesses predict the future to make better decisions. And those better business decisions are key. All markets are competitive and understanding likely future scenarios could be the difference between winning and losing. When will a piece of equipment break? When will my customer need a new service? What is the value proposition of a new product? How do I track the success of a technical roadmap? Our clients need this insight and we can help them get it.
And it’s not just our customers. We need to use predictive analytics with cognitive learning to understand more about customers. If I talk to a customer in January but they aren’t ready to buy until August, I’m not helping them. In fact, I might be bothering them and hurting the relationship. Predictive analytics is going to be a big focus going forward.
Q: How do you better serve customers?
A: More effective training. Again, it’s not just about knowing the technology. It’s about understanding the market and how the technology is used to develop solutions for that specific market. The focus needs to be on developing experts in a particular market – manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, etc. – while also giving them expertise on certain solutions – order management, electronic medical records, bank branch automation, etc. This way, we can actually sell what customers want as they want it. Verizon is hitting the mark with this.