I was at the first VCE analyst event last week and the most fascinating session was a panel of customers who took us through the benefits they got by converting to VCE Vblocks. One of the most interesting comments they made was that other IT vendors sell them “stuff” and then they buy VCE’s solutions. This was subtle but I found it a fascinating concept.
They were then asked to give us highlights of the bid process and it seemed clear to me that the competing vendors didn’t know why they were losing.
The VCE customers walked us through the massive, unbelievable, improvements to cost, reliability, agility, and capability that resulted from their move to VCE’s Vblocks. But the most interesting question was on how each of the vendors that bid against VCE played the game. These vendors mostly weren’t great and I’ve heard stories like this from other IT shops. And I’d bet money the executives in these vendors who are seeing lackluster sales are no more aware than my executives were, or I was, many years ago with respect to why.
The VCE Strategy
How VCE wins is they don’t sell parts. They bring in a team to understand the problem, they go off and craft something that fixes it, and they pitch the result, which generally can be up and running 45 days later or weeks if not months before most competing products are even installed. The resulting cost, agility, and staffing benefits exceed reasonable expectations (the word “unbelievable” was used a lot by the VCE customers). This results in a massive amount of subsequent additional sales to existing customers.
When VCE loses it is because of excess headwinds in the IT shop. Since they are a forklift effort – to get the benefits the buyer has to remove what is in service and replace all of it with the Vblock – it may represent a level of change that IT shops don’t want to make. They also may lose because folks don’t believe it will work (one customer said he had to overrule his staff, his engineers, and a long list of consultants who absolutely were positive it wouldn’t work at all and were surprised when it was up and in production in 45 days, beating expectations).
If you’re a vendor that lost to VCE you might want to do a detailed win/loss review. As a side note, all of this was exactly what the service Ombud was created to point out.
One final question. Which is worse: a vendor that is in denial about the fact their hardware isn’t up to par, one that doesn’t seem to understand their stuff won’t work out of the box, or the vendor that has a solution but refuses to listen to the customer in order to sell it? I’d vote for the unfortunate vendor behind door one because you can fix the others, but given how big this vendor is others either disagree – or are so locked in they can’t move.
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