by Rajesh Kandaswamy
In my recent webinar, Market & Technology Trends in Banking, NA, 2015 (available on-demand), for technology and service providers, I held a poll to get their opinion of involvement of non-IT buyers in technology purchases at banks. Nearly 4 out of 5 participants (79%) said they see more buyers and functions involved now compared to 2 years ago, vastly outnumbering those who see no change (16%) or a see a decline (5%). Most providers do see this trend of more business involvement in IT and they have been investing in vertical offerings and messages.
But, most providers I speak with do not have a specific plan to identify the business buyers, what they will do to improve their brand presence with these new buyers and how they will cultivate relationships. Last year, I attended an event of a provider who has been investing to increase revenue from new business-focused IT services, while reducing emphasis on older commoditized products and services. The focus of the event was to project the new face of the company and give a glimpse of services that customers can expect. While the event clearly indicated the company’s commitment and effort, I noticed that many of the attendees from the banking and securities industry were from functions that the provider was trying to reduce focus on. While those client executives might be the ones who the provider knows best and they can see the company in a new light, I wondered if that is enough. All the effort in identifying the right vertical areas, investing in building business solutions and marketing this message might not matter much if it is not communicated to those right business owners whose job performance depends on your solution. Providers should take a more strategic approach to identify such roles, those owners, their key issues, their sources of information and find ways to reach them and build relationships. Unfortunately, using your IT customers as your best weapon to identify other internal business customers is a shot in the dark.