The cloud may provide the perfect platform for technology as continuous improvement, but most customers still think about IT in terms of discrete projects.
While DevOps and agile development promote the concepts of incremental improvement, far too many customers still want a start date and an end data for their IT projects. And, with the cloud, they expect the time in between to be smaller than ever.
One of the toughest challenges for partners in the cloud era is to reset this traditional perspective of IT and help customers view technology as a path to ongoing, continuous improvement. To change the perspective of customers, partners need to realign their own processes to promote the long-term view. From sales through service delivery, partners need to help customers take an evolutionary approach to technology and business process improvement.
Some of the ways that partners can promote the concepts of continuous improvement to customers include:
Develop a roadmap for the customer's journey. As part of the sales cycle, customers should be educated about the need for a strategic technology roadmap to help them realize the full value of the business solutions they are implementing. Identify and prioritize each of the workloads the business needs to reassess and streamline.
Business process consulting. For most partners, business process consulting has become an integral part of any service offering. Customers need help in applying technology to the functions of their business, and you should have the resources on board who can deliver that guidance.
Change management program. Help customers realize success early by proactively working with them to ensure adoption success. Identify and manage resistance while generating enthusiasm towards more intuitive, streamlined processes.
Ongoing customer education. Through webinars, newsletters and blog posts, continue to educate your customers about business process improvement and the advancement of technology solutions. Microsoft FastTrack offers a broad range of educational resources you can tap to make the job easier.
- Customer strategy sessions. Meet with your customers face-to-face periodically to check in on the strategic technology roadmap. Take the time to understand changing priorities and align your services to help them. As a proactive participant in their business plans, you can become an integral part of their strategic team. Old habits die hard and the perception that technology comes in nice, neat project form is still ingrained in most businesses. It's up to partners to change those outdated ideas -- one customer at a time. By implementing internal processes that promote continuous improvement concepts, partners can build stronger, more profitable relationships with customers.