The Culture of Complacency

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

The Culture of Complacency

"In their book "In Search of Excellence," Tom Peters and Robert Waterman list a "bias for action" as the first of eight attributes that distinguish excellent and innovative companies. Many of the companies they studied were very "analytical in their approach to decision making, but they are not paralyzed by that fact (as so many others seem to be.) In many of these companies, the standard operating procedure is: 'Do it, fix it, try it.'" [WSJ]

Many companies are going through change -- mostly M&A change which isn't the change I mean. EarthLink and Cbeyond were going through very public change - like Dell, Microsoft and others.

Sangoma will be going through big changes after buying FreePBX as they transition from a hardware vendor to a service provider. The same thing that occurred at ShoreTel when they bought M5.

The industry has been morphing for a few years - some more reluctantly than others. But I think that the next couple of years, the companies that embrace change, indeed have a culture of that embraces change will be the most competitive.

The customers of ours are looking to be competitive, flexible, efficient and productive. Our job is to enable that through technology that we provide.

But to do that, YOU - the service provider - have to be flexible, innovative, take risks, fail, try stuff, learn, try again, keep smiling. More Google like or even like

As sales flips from outbound - like we have been doing for years - to inbound, your organization has to change with it. Dialing for Dollars is more like dialing for dimes. The ROI is inversely proportional to the frustration.

Internet Access, Voice, cellular, TV - buyers know where to get them. These have become Salient Sales -- you have to be top of mind when the current service breaks or comes up for renewal. Drip Marketing and relationship building are the main methods to being there when the door opens. How many do either well? Damn few.

Inbound means content marketing, which is time consuming - and the pay off is NOT even close to immediate, especially for generic mass merchandising.

"Westcon Group is running a series of vertical sales enablement workshops to support its partners with tools and expertise to sell more effectively into vertical markets," according to reports. This is the way of the future: Specialists. In many professionals, the way to profit is to specialize. Now it comes to our segment.

We live in a market where Layer 7 (apps) is more valuable than the network (layer 1 on the OSI Model). Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple have a higher market cap than the RBOCs. Everything is flipping. The whole Dumb Pipe scare of a couple of years ago is indeed happening. Maybe because everyone that wants Internet access has it -- and has it in multiple ways - cell phone, home, work, library, free wi-fi. There are still a bunch of folks (about 35%) not on the Internet. That is remarkable.

CompTIA and others talk about the trend: the Nexus of Forces (cloud, mobility, social and big data). Data is at the Core, but you have to participate in the other 4 in some way to stay relevant -- at least in a single vertical. Panterra and EarthLink are. Are you?

Again, it is about being flexible. Not many service provider skate where the puck is going. They chase after it, behind the Duopoly and end up with the task of the guy at the circus following the elephants.

In 2011, I wrote to EarthLink about chasing retail and using their AX platform as a way to bundle better around security. I blogged it and sent them a strategy slide deck. I only say this because 4 years later they are doing it. And 4 years later most everyone else did NOT. Heed this advice NOW. We have no idea how much longer the runway is.

We are in the Connection Economy (according to both Seth Godin and Gary Vee). It will change the way we sell (and what we sell). Seth Godin explains that VISA and Mastercard are nothing more than connection platforms for payments. Square and Paypal are taking advantage of that.

Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb are just public examples of digital sharing powered by smartphones, apps, ubiquitous broadband, and the economy.

These are visible examples of the shift happening. Is it happening in your company?

Treehouse Interactive asks, "How are you making the partner experience better?"

It appears that the channel is being pursued by more companies today than ever before. Look how many vendors master agencies have - way more than ever before. However, the partners will need training, deal registrations and engagement with emails and web content. These are not the things that SPs are good at themselves - and now they have to assist their partners with this!

These shifts are happening now. The culture of complacency that most of us revel in has to shift to a culture of change. Or not. You can always ride it out.

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