(Disclaimer: I currently work for IONA Technologies)
My other alter-ego is back, Greg the Architect has a new episode out that talks about SOA ROI. First, we should all be afraid when there are too many acronyms used right next to each other…
Even though I have issue with the transparency of the sponsorship behind Greg, I have to admit that the episodes are very well done, highly relevant (as anyone who has been selling or buying enterprise technology, specifically SOA technology, can tell you), and funny.
Side Box: I do have to congratulate the TIBCO Marketing team. I was contacted by their Worldwide Direct of Marketing and was informed that they received an Internet Advertising Competition (IAC) Award by the Web Marketing Association for the first episode of Greg the Architect. Dan and Ram, keep up the great work!
This episode talks about something that is near and dear to my heart, how to measure the value of technology. This is one of the corner stones of my new role at IONA. As part of the Customer Value Sales Team, I’m responsible for working with IONA’s west coast account teams to apply IONA’s value selling model, what we call the Value Assessment Program, to how our clients use IONA’s technology within their enterprises.
Everyone has heard the terms ROI and Value before. If you’re a buyer of technology you have heard countless vendors claim ROI numbers for their products or provide statements of value that you can achieve through the use of their products and/or solutions. If you are (or have been) a vendor selling technology then you have most likely been given ROI and value statements from your marketing department at some point to assist with your sales. You might have even used one of those magic ROI Calculator spreadsheets to help show a customer the value in hard numbers (more on that later).
I think this is a good topic to cause us to sit backwards on our horses to see where we have traveled over the past few years in technology with regards to RIO and Value.
A long, long time ago, back when you needed to go through 2+ years of serious and all encompassing training to receive the title of sales executive, value was something that described how a technology would directly impact your business. Granted, when dealing with new technologies there was a bit of faith involved in accepting the numbers. But that risk is what lead to great rewards. During the most recent bubble years, when a monkey wearing a vendor’s logo polo shirt could sell technology, the concept of understanding (or explaining) the business value that a technology purchase would create was considered “old fashioned”. How many millions of dollars were wasted…
The past five years has seen the industry pendulum swing back. Right after the bubble burst, technology companies started to realize this “new way” of selling technology, based on a calculated Return On Investment. Unfortunately, a lot of these ROI models were just smoke and mirrors reflecting MBA speak around a product. I have seen countless ROI calculators that would generate a positive ROI…even when all zeros were entered int them.
Now we are back full circle to businesses expecting to see financial validation behind their technology purchases. Most monkeys are back in the zoo (though I think we are running short on animal catchers), and an account executive for enterprise technology and solution companies are expected to be business partners of their customers. This means helping their customer use the technology to help address business problems their customers are facing or sometimes ones they don’t even see. This also includes explaining that business value in the customer’s business terms.
This was one of the primary reasons why I decided to join IONA almost a year ago. We have a dedicated team with executive support focused on helping us and our clients understand the value that can be achieved through the use of IONA’s Distributed SOA Infrastructure technology. Our Value Assessment Program (VAP) involves a commitment from both IONA and our clients to understand this value. This 30-45 day program consists leveraging IONA’s decade long set of experiences from Global 2000 companies to conduct focused interviews within a client’s organization, validate of the risk areas identified, and jointly craft a solutions to minimize these risk areas. This solution’s core is a value statement, built upon numbers provided and confirmed by the client’s people, detailing how this solution will impact the client’s business.
As I promised in my entry about recent changes back in February, I was planning on writing more about this Value Selling Methodology. I have not had a lot of entries on this topic since due to the success that we have been having with it in the field. I have been working clients over the past three months detailing how IONA can savee them millions of dollars in technology spend or create millions of dollars of business revenue thought the acceleration of their software development lifecycles.
Consider this my renewed pledge to start sharing more of this with you in the near future. To quote a good friend of mine “a couple of no-doze and a pot of coffee and I’ll be up all night writing manifestos.”
Pour me another cup!