What’s involved when creating a client centric IT architecture focused on value creation? Just the thought of mixing the term “client centric” with the phrase “IT architecture” makes your head ache, right?
Not so fast, Grasshopper.
At the 2017 IBM PartnerWorld Leadership Conference, client-centricity was the focus of every aspect of the revised partner program. In addition, this revamped channel partner strategy mirrors the new IBM business model.
- First, consider how the IBM business model has morphed significantly in the past three years.
- Then, the iconic IT giant moved into the realm of cognitive computing. That transformation is now complete.
- Now they have streamlined and combined former product and service offering silos into a cross-functional and horizontally-integrated mix focused on creating valuable and enduring solutions for clients.
Just as IBM has increasingly flattened its own business model, they ask the channel to do the same. Why? After all, to fully walk the digital transformation talk, the focus becomes how hardware and software are combined to best serve clients and drive value.
In my previous blog post about the conference, I spoke about the three critical decisions organizations of all sizes are making about IT architecture strategy.
The first decision concerns what form of cloud infrastructure to create. Yes, organizations continue to move from legacy IT infrastructure into increasingly cloud-based applications. The focus remains creating, not just continuing to talk about, a viable, dynamic and highly responsive hybridized IT infrastructure.
The second decision involves choosing a common data platform to create greater insights – and value – from both structured and unstructured data sets. Finally, the third decision involves understanding, creating and leveraging value-driven insights from choice(s) of cognitive platform.
When the channel focuses on creating a client centric IT architecture for customers, the decision making process becomes translational.
It’s not all about selling a specific product or service or software. Rather, client centricity calls for greater involvement of the CIO in working with specific partners and sellers who have specific IT core competencies. As a result, the channel becomes more embedded in focusing on how their solutions continuously contribute to their clients’ digital transformation and value stream.
That’s a big idea for the IBM channel and for the CIOs they sell to. This move marks the culmination of a channel reorganization announced by IBM in 2016. That reorganization very well might become a blueprint in a broader manner, for any type of channel selling related to IT architecture strategy.
Finally, a client centric IT architecture leverages cultural buy-in to catalyze value creation.
Consider that a client centric IT architecture has the potential for connecting operations to the C-Suite to achieve data-driven decision-making. Not only does a client centric IT architecture digitally transform internal customers. This focus also has transformative implications for the external clients an organization serves.
As a result of a flattened channel partner strategy, the CIO takes on a greater role as organizational catalyst. The CIO becomes the discoverer and interpreter of the collective voices of all internal customers which are served by her organization.
After all, the focus in creating a client centric IT architecture is value creation. When decision makers work with channel partners and ask “What does value look like throughout the organization?” the types of solutions proposed expand the overall customer lifecycle.
The interesting aspect of how the IBM channel partner strategy plays out becomes the impact made on the IT infrastructure of each client served. Talk about leading by example.
That outcome, in and of itself, is valuable to all parties involved.
This post was brought to you by IBM Global Technology Services.
Babette Ten Haken is a catalyst. She writes, speaks, consults and coaches about how cross-functional team collaboration revolutionizes the industrial Internet of Things value chain for customer loyalty, customer success and customer retention. She connects the dots between leadership, human capital / HR strategy and developing a data-driven, team-based workforce committed to creating enduring business outcomes. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.
Image author: barakudka. Image source: Fotolia.