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it budgetWhen it comes to IT, seeing is always believing. The trouble is that most IT organizations don’t have the time or money needed to set up a proof-of-concept (PoC) to determine if the technology solution they’re interested in actually works for them.

A new report from ZDnet suggests that the number of PoCs requested by IT organizations should be rising, though, as IT budget dollars appear poised to increase substantially in 2017. Buried deep in the report is data that both IT vendors and IT service providers should take to heart.The top three things that IT leaders want from vendors in terms of helping them manage their budgets are:

  1. Simple to understand pricing models (72 percent)
  2. Help with setting up pilots or no-obligation PoCs (63 percent)
  3. Assistance calculating the total cost of ownership (TCO) and the return on investment (ROI) associated with any given project (53 percent)

The cost of willing new deals

Naturally, most of the onus associated with providing insights into costs and licensing as well as setting up the PoC falls on the shoulders of IT service providers. Given that fact, it should come as no surprise that IT service providers favor vendors that share that financial burden by, for example, helping to defer the costs of setting up a PoC.

The good news is that setting up a PoC that employs cloud services has never been easier. But, it’s still amazing the number of IT vendors that want to charge IT service providers some kind of fee for helping to set up a PoC or trial of a product. More often than not the IT service provider will find a way to charge those fees back to an IT vendor if and when they win a deal.

Those fees tend to limit the number of deals an IT service provider might be willing to lay out cash and other resources to chase in the first place, though. In reality, most IT service providers are confronted with PoC requests that involve products and technologies involving multiple vendors that need to be integrated. That makes responds to PoC requests significantly more complicated.

True sales enablement

Because of that issue, executives at IT vendors who are in charge of managing the relationships with IT services firms, generally known as channel chiefs, are almost to a person obsessed with sales enablement. As a theory, sales enablement is all about making sure sales people are having the right conversations at the right time with all the people affecting any given purchase.

In practice, sales enablement often comes down to what pre-sales assets in the form of sales engineers can that IT vendor afford to make available to their partners. A good sales engineer is worth their weight in gold. As a result, it’s not all that surprising that good sales engineers are a scarce commodity. After all, most IT professionals didn’t get involved in IT because they have particularly strong people skills.

Barring any unforeseen economic collapse, the number of sales opportunities that IT service providers should be able to avail themselves of should steadily increase in the months and years ahead. The issue now is keeping the cost of chasing down all those opportunities manageable. More often than not, that will mean finding a way to share costs with the IT vendors most financially willing to sustain them.

Photo by Helloquence

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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