James Pathman, CEO, Data Resolution
Formula car racing and executive leadership have plenty of things in common. CEOs, like race car drivers, need to call upon fast reflexes, steady nerves and a miles-long strategy perspective that constantly monitors and adapts to competitors, operating conditions and team performance.
This is never more true than when an executive team is driving a Fortune 100 opportunity; and this thinking was at the forefront as our company, Data Resolution, pursued a strategy delivering a cloud computing industry-first: placement of Microsoft’s SharePoint within Amazon Web Services. This deal changed the way enterprises access SharePoint’s global platform, and built a first-ever pathway between the two cloud giants and streamlined solution access for the marketplace.
The experience produced a wealth of lessons-learned, and a road map for thinking that can help other executives pave towards uncharted market opportunity and Fortune 100 wins.
Be Willing to Change Market Assumptions
To seize the moment and create new opportunity, it’s critical to be willing to change market assumptions. In our case, we had to challenge the conventional assumption that Microsoft’s technology couldn’t be made available through Amazon’s cloud platform due to intensive integration requirements, and vastly different usage billing models. We tackled those challenges, and changed the market assumption in the process.
The take-away for changing market assumptions?
- Don’t be afraid to take on what’s been tried before.
- Look for ways to do it differently than past attempts, including your own.
- Look at what others have done, and learn.
Research, Then Risk
We didn’t know, ultimately, if the market would embrace this new approach to access and integration, but we felt the need was there. We took a risk, and it’s paying off with a new approach to a Fortune 100 offering.
Company executives grapple daily with the mantra “the only constant is change.” One of the most helpful tools I’ve come to rely in dealing with the ever-present change factor is to eliminate assumptions and look at perceived risk from a fresh set of eyes.
Case in point: one of our offerings is a data center, which we maintain control of for our clients. The rise in public cloud offerings, think Amazon, Google, Microsoft, would appear to be a potentially huge blow for our share of the marketplace.
However, we changed our assumptions about our offering, and the market. Here’s the roadmap we created to re-thinking market assumptions and risk factors:
1. Identify the competitor pain points
Our clients and prospects were intrigued by inexpensive, public cloud solutions. They were also uneasy, and worried about security.
2.Create the pain point solution
We identified the need for easy, affordable cloud hosting, and recognized market skittishness about placing their sensitive data in a public cloud.
3.Create a win out of a competitive situation
Developing this new approach was work and strategy-intensive. But the pay-off is a new market offering that delivers benefit to our customers and prospects and a new Fortune 100 offering.
Don’t let change destroy your enterprise offering. Tweak your offering, reposition and challenge market assumptions in the process.
Building the Foundation:
Creating credibility & track record
My top advice: don’t be afraid to share. We attend conferences, give presentations, and are always willing to share what we’ve learned with our peers.
Although I’m sure we’ve helped a few competitors out along the way, we’ve also opened doors to other opportunities from partners, customers and colleagues who have taken what we’ve shared and invited us to try new initiatives with them.
- Think of change as the Grand Experiment, remove the fear.
- Define what you do by excelling.
- Commitment to excellence creates new opportunities.
- Don’t be afraid to share.
- Size of company doesn’t’ matter, big ideas will lead to big opportunities.
- Don’t be tied to an idea, process or solution.
- Always experiment.
Now get behind the wheel and drive your enterprise’s Fortune 100 success.
About the Author
James Pathman is CEO of Data Resolution, an award-winning Microsoft partner enterprise and a leading global provider of hosted technology solutions for businesses of all sizes. More information: www.dataresolution.net, or contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.