Does the buyer need to know what the sellers know?

Presently, we can experience not only explosive growth in the number of IT products but also in a number of their types. If you analyze the number of categories of services and products in the classification of analytical agencies (taxonomy), you will see a minimum doubling of the number of categories in the last 5 years, particularly in the areas of cloud services and IT security.

Vendors have also increased the number of materials and training courses for sellers to report this to the market. The number of vendors' events has grown so much that in order to attend all the annual leaders' industry conferences, you would have to live a couple of months in Las Vegas, a place where the main players like to conduct such conferences. And this is despite the tendency for vendors’ events to be moved to online.

How successful are IT vendors in this sphere?  The number of IT selling-companies has not grown in the industry for the last 5 years by 30%, however, the number of their sales managers has been more than ever. Moreover, some vendors deliberately reduced the number of partners by switching to a service or cloud model of a direct sales model and did not compensate this by employing new sellers on the ground.

How much has the quality of training IT professionals and sellers improved? 
By analyzing the volume of the market of certified training, you can see that there is also no significant overall growth, although the training for developers, DevOps, cloud engineering competence and IT security are growing rapidly. Therefore, this only increases the engineering competence of buyers, but not the suppliers'. The shortage of staff and the growth of salaries for solution architects in the field of software development is also a confirmation of the development vector.

The volumes of services provided by suppliers of Managed Services suppliers today cannot compensate for the growing demand for the services and products traditionally delivered, and transformation takes time.

Therefore, a CIO or CISO with work experience of over 5 years is faced with a growing number of challenges from the market, new business requirements, security and various regulators, and on the other hand a sales manager who does not have time to visit the vendor's webinars and took on a newly qualified manager yesterday with little experience.

Today, everyone knows that, for example, IT security is not only about IT, but about business, that big data and artificial intelligence is not a fantasy, but a pledge of the company's competitiveness. These technologies give rise to whole new directions in business and there is a demand for Digital Transformation. Thus, for projects other than the competence of technology, not only competence in IT technologies is needed, but also knowledge of business processes in a particular industry.

Where is this competence due to the reasons listed?

One possible solution is to rethink the information that the manufacturer gives the user and transfer some of the functions to the buyer from the seller.

Often a client, who, using data on the Internet, reviews colleagues, already knows more than a seller does today. Why not help him?

Should I give the client information that the producer has not given him?

The first question that interests the client is the price. This is, perhaps, the biggest fear of the vendor. This is usually the reason, why the buyer does not understand the price formation or knows exactly what he needs. If the customer misunderstands the price, this can be the reason for a refusal to buy, which may also lead to disappointment.
This is not always true. However, it occurs when the project depends on the client's budget. There is also a likelihood that the seller may be mistaken.

The second prejudice of vendors is related to the comparison of their product with competitors. This information seems secret to the vendors (sometimes they really require the NDA even from the client) perhaps because choosing the sets of parameters by which they compare themselves, they can expose themselves in the best light. This manipulation is meaningless, firstly because the client himself knows the necessary parameters and not those that are better for this vendor. Secondly, such comparisons are still openly available to independent experts. And certainly, the price comparison is the secret of the policy. Why is a tender needed?

The following information, which people are not in a hurry to share with the client, is the real benefit. ROI and other valuation options require a complex calculation and a large amount of data from the client. Maybe that's why you need to give this information to the client? Perhaps he will not want to share his business data to understand the benefits of the product, but will he want to study this data? The client will not trust the closed ROI models until he understands them.

Another important point is the experience of actual use. Often references are not given by users because their policy prohibits the publication of information that they use.
Sometimes a vendor needs to solve this problem by organizing closed reference visits to existing customers for potential buyers.
The problem of the anonymity of the references is unfortunately not solved yet. Not everything can show testing on the stand, and without real exploitation, no one will know the real level of the vendor's support and so on.

The above allegedly closed materials, whether they are available to the user would give more benefit than harm. But this is a new vision that breaks the stereotypes of the modern IT market. There is an IT startup, a platform that makes an attempt to open all the information that is closed by vendors to IT customers. The ROI4CIO platform publishes prices in the form of calculators, which the buyer can use and calculate his specification, the same with the ROI data. Comparison tables with competitors are published there and references from buyers are collected, although buyers still often hide the name of the company. The platform model is not yet justified and meets both the delights of innovators and the outrage of conservatives. But any attempt to develop the IT market is certainly commendable.

In fact, the seller needs arguments as much as the buyer. After all, inside the organization the CIO/CISO also "sells" the solution, he needs to justify his choice and sometimes needs a quick answer to the management questions.

If buyers can solve the problem of transferring knowledge from the existing vendors, what about the new vendors, that may have an important technology, but do not have resources to promote it?

Previously independent information about new technologies and trends were distributed by the mass media, various user profile communities, forums, conferences, etc. Of course, there is a problem with the reliability of the information that is spreading through this channel. Fake success stories with new products should somehow be identified and the data must be confirmed by an independent party. For example, this problem can be solved by the modern technology of block-chain.

It is obvious that the detection of trends in useful IT products and technologies and informing users about them is logical to solve with the help of artificial intelligence technologies. However, the problem remains how to convince and motivate the user to share information about what technologies really helped them.

The next step will be automation and the function recommendation and the selection of product for the client. Therefore, the main goal of the client will be to correctly define his tasks, explain in a clear language for algorithms how he sees the definition of IT efficiency, as well as what problems he has. In this case, on the contrary, the more verified information the vendor will give about the product that he previously showed only to the sellers, the more likely it is that their product will be offered.

We are waiting for a market where it will be very difficult to hide the shortcomings of products so that only those who possess the best technology could win the client.

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