JCL Blog

Selling to Enterprise; or the Shadow Enterprise

Everyone agrees that IT at the enterprise level is messed up.  Here at CloudFair it is just an excepted fact.  The are those that think the Cloud will save us and we just don't have to think about the Enterprise anymore.  That would be nice, but most people realize that Enterprise IT will be here next year, and some of them realize that it will probably not be much different than it was last year.  

This thought tracks along with a post from famed VC Ben Horowitz:  Meet the New Enterprise, Same as the Old Enterprise. So what should channel partners do today to span the widening gap between new technologies and Enterprise IT.

  1. Skip the hyperbole: talking about the end of the world as we know it is tiresome
  2. Realize your value: wide gap = big opportunity, where do you fit?
  3. Find your voice: the new entrants have done a great job at this, so can channel partners
  4. Find like minded clients:  there are so many potential clients that qualifying becomes the key.  

As an industry, we need to think differently about channel partner attributes.  The badges of yesterday (gold status; certifications) will fade and new  badges (success cases and competencies) will rise.  Newer still will be complete end runs around old thinking. When the environment gets confused and uncertain, decisions slow down (or stop).  

The enterprise sales landscape is littered with stalled sales cycles that can be tracked back to the uncertainty associate with the changing IT environment.  Salesforce.com has benefited from the stalled CRM environment.  Salesforece.com may soon become a casualty of this very phenomenon.  Most companies buy Salesforece.com because they just cannot bring themselves to buy a big CRM ($ millions, years...) projects, but must do something, so they buy salesforce.com by the seat by the month.  Then Twitter comes along and enterprise IT really does not like it, so it they buy Chatter.

By some measures, half of all big IT initiatives (and that is big in terms of dollars and time) never even make it to launch. 

Add to all of this the growing trend of shadow IT in big enterprises and it is clear that we live in interesting times.