Ossama Eldeeb, Director, Partner Organization, VMware, Middle East, Turkey and North Africa explains that the majority of the business leadership now wants tech-savvy CEOs and other senior management, so in this scenario, channel partners need to enhance their profile and be strategic advisors rather than just a supplier to their customers
Business is digital. This year has forced an acceleration in organisations’ transformation plans, and they are now faced with the challenge of having to both preserve their operations, while also future proofing their business against whatever disruption comes next.
The resulting focus on technology means leaders need to understand it intuitively. Thankfully, many recognise that – a new VMware study found that more than 70% of EMEA business leaders believe CEOs and executive leadership positions should be filled by people with technology career backgrounds, such as in app or software development.
Why? Because technology literate leaders delivered improved efficiency across the whole organisation (50%), increased business performance (42%), greater innovation potential (40%) and better customer experiences (37%).
But what does this mean for partners advising and delivering technology solutions to businesses? Does a new age of tech-focused leaders offer opportunity or challenges for the channel?
The rise of the tech-literate CEO
On one hand, a more tech-literate leadership means the business case for technology investment is easier.
On the other hand, where that investment should be prioritised can pull the business in different directions. It’s why many of the channel partners we work with are talking to customers about their digital foundation – a platform that enables organisations to deliver the experience customers expect, runs the apps and services that are fit for today’s disrupted markets, and supports employees that are able to work in the ways that best enable them to do their job.
Yet, even with a detailed understanding of how that digital platform can future proof their business, being able to effectively implement it requires support – and that’s where a significant opportunity for the channel lies.
Why now is the time to become the C-suite’s technology partner
Businesses with real technology knowledge are going to be much clearer on what they need. As they move IT into the heart of the boardroom, they do so understanding what is at stake: 80% of EMEA app developers and tech leaders know, for instance, that without successfully modernizing applications, organizations will be unable to deliver a best-in-class customer experience.
It is vital, therefore, that partners enter into those conversations knowing that the focus will be on delivering that end result for customers, and talk the same language as to how they get there. Both understand the role technology can play, and it presents a great strategic opportunity for partners to use their knowledge, experience and solution set to help.
The partners that can do that are asking their customers questions like; how are they creating a multi-channel experience? How can multiple clouds help deliver the apps that customers need? How are they getting the digital tools they need into the hands of its employees at scale?
The strategic advisor to knowledgeable leaders
Having those conversations, recognised at driving business value to the customer and not just about improving speed and efficiencies or utilisation, isn’t an overnight process. It requires investing in training and certification provided by vendors, like VMware’s Master Services Competencies.
This isn’t necessarily anything new – by undertaking an education and awards process, partners are able to prove to customers that they have the skills and knowledge required, through vendor validation of their service capabilities. However, what is changing is the rate of technology evolution – enterprises need to know that what they’re getting can deliver both today and in the future.
Kassem Issa, Director, Managed Cloud & Telecom Services at Kuwait-based Diyar United Company, said “The VMware Master Services Competencies are the new gold standard. They are hard to achieve and even harder to maintain. That’s a good thing for the customer. It means that they’re getting the highest level of assurance that we can work with them to achieve their goals and that they can sleep better at night.”
If they can do that, and provide that knowledge and support, then partners will be primed to make the step from supplier to strategic advisor to business leaders, with a focus on how technology can support delivering commercial goals, rather than just on the technology.
If anything, tech-literate leaders need knowledgeable advisors more than ever. If they are to elevate technology to a strategic position across the organisation, if they are to create the environment which delivers modern apps to serve customers with the experiences they expect, then leaders need to be able to access the tools they need quickly. This can only be achieved with truly strategic consultancy and advice.