I see a lot of product demos each week, and most of them are truly impressive. I strongly believe that showing off the technology in this market is valuable to both the IT and business executive — but in most instances, there is a significant air gap between the demo and the actual usage in a production setting.
Many solutions in today’s market may solve a piece of the mobility equation, but fall short of addressing multiple use cases. For example, one vendor may be great at helping deliver applications and data to managed devices, while another vendor has a strong competency with unmanaged devices. I also find some vendors lead with security strengths, while others fall flat in this area and feel the need to highlight a long list of features to compensate for their shortcomings.
If I put myself back in a business IT setting (I previously spent a lot of time there), there are three key things I expect when I‘m evaluating mobility technology:
- Impress me with a demo. As I’m searching for solutions, I’d ideally like to see a video demo on the company website. The demo should provide a perspective from the business executive, IT operations, and end-user points of view. The value to each of these constituents should be clear, and quickly map to the key values of time, money, and risk. Simply put, show me how it will save me time, provide favorable economics, and reduce risk.
- Show me that you understand my business. I’m likely trying to solve a specific problem, or proactively planning for a future investment. I need to quickly know that you understand the problem I’m trying to solve, and show me any blind spots that I haven’t completely thought through. At this point, I want to see case studies illustrating that the vendor has the relevant experience and competency that can help with my unique initiatives.
- Where do I start? Once I see the value of a solution, and how I can benefit from it, I immediately begin to think about the potential complexity of an implementation, and the resources I’ll need. Since many organizations are short on resources, it’s important to have a good understanding of how this solution will impact staff, if I have the right skill sets in-house, and which KPIs I will use.
Since mobility technology demos very well, it’s easy to get excited and start the gears turning on the various ways the solution could potentially apply to existing and forthcoming challenges. I would give most vendors I see a passing grade here, but the next steps towards implementation are critical and not something that most vendors do well with.
While it’s one thing to “show” the technology, businesses must be able to understand how it applies to their unique environment and what steps they must take in order to achieve potential value. IT vendors must also be aware of the mobility technology surplus that exists in the market (specifically in the area of applications delivery and management), which is complicating the customer decision process. And while having a good-looking demo is certainly helpful, IT vendors need to be able to educate and actually demonstrate how their solution is relevant and provides value, while also helping potential customers plan and execute a successful implementation.