Shifting perspectives of value generation

resultsAs I was getting ready for the SAP conference this week, I listened to a speaker from Gartner discuss the Internet of Things. They went through the normal discussion about the number of devices, the need to use the data in new ways and then they said something that I’ve been saying for a very long time.

It is not about the things it is about the people.

I have another statement that is related.

It is not about the data it’s about the context.

Both of these perspectives are focused on the value side of what businesses are trying to do, not the technology side, still motivating so many in IT.

Last week, I was talking with a number of technologists who were enamored with problem solving — looking at new ways to address situations using technology. That’s great and a foundational element of any technical services organization, but it is not sufficient. By the time you may see the problem, the real opportunity may be lost. Today, organizations need to look deeper and not from a technologist’s perspective, but from the business. The CFO is likely to be the greatest ally to using technology for growth and impact. Organizations need to make the business case that they can internalize and the possibilities of Big Data, IoT, security and whatever is coming next will be realized.

There are software companies whose customers seem unwilling to take the next release (or worse uninterested). This is not an issue your typical sales person can address anymore. In today’s business, many clients are far into their internal sales process before their interest may even show up on the service or software sales organization’s radar. The context of their decision is developed through the organization’s social interactions and understanding of the business objectives. If organizations need to be “sold”, it is likely too late.

To address this, service and software companies need a real assessment of how these decisions are made (possibly by industry) and what capabilities will be impacting the value generation approach. They should float balloons of possibility early. Fund some projects that bring diverse perspectives together to see what other possibilities are out there. Just because your software has a feature map and investment plan, doesn’t necessarily mean that is it is actually used. Find those alternative perspectives and cultivate them.

We live in an unpredictable and ever changing world. Both the business leaders and technologists need to look for those serendipitous accidents that shift perspectives and buying behaviors. Make them happen.

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