Feature creep in IT Asset and Software Asset Management
It’s typical of a maturing market that competiting products offer many of the same capabilities. After all, how many ways are there of reporting your Adobe installations? To provide differentiation, products will also sprout unique capabilities, some of which may have been requested by particular customers and are of dubious value to everyone else. This creates a challenge to the designer, to maintain simplicity and ease of use while providing access to all the little details which are intended to provide that crucial differentiation. All this investment in more and more finesse also creates pressure to maintain prices, creating opportunity for new entrants to the market to come in with cheap and cheerful products, which may satisfy some customers until their needs evolve toward more sophisticated requirements.
Helping the customer while making the ITAM/SAM sale
Those looking for solutions to their needs are faced now with a massive range of choice. With limited time and resource to evaluate options they are likely to be lucky if they choose the solution which is actually closest to their needs. It’s become more and more important for a solution provider like Vector to work closely with evaluators to really uncover their needs, establish where they are in the evolution of their ITAM/SAM programs, and help the customer determine what requirements are core today, and which are likely to become vital in twelve and twenty four months’ time. This needs a solid foundation on a culture of honesty and customer service, which can be uncomfortable characteristics for a salesperson whose targets have just been increased for the second quarter in succession.
ITAM and SAM vendors and their partner relationships
The same need to truly support evaluators also puts pressure on channel partners to increase their product knowledge and be prepared to invest more in each opportunity. This knowledge in turn can only be supplied through training from the vendor. This industry has both direct and partner-oriented vendors, but its my belief that even the partner-oriented players are going to need to take a more direct role in the development of each new opportunity. There will need to be a basis of trust that enables the partner to call in the vendor whenever appropriate to help develop the opportunity. That’s also going to be quite a challenge for some players in our industry!