For Dodds, this should again be a great sentiment for service providers but the real question is, especially from a vendor perspective, how do you stay in touch with the customer?
“Don’t be afraid when you’re talking to your customer to talk about their customer and to talk about their volumes of customers and how they might aspire to add more value in a digital space for them,” he adds.
“They could be the channel that they didn’t see coming but if you don’t help them they will just go directly to a vendor and do it themselves and this is the reality. If everybody is willing to disrupt then naturally, they will.
“And as such, if businesses are under threat then they behave in an unnatural way because they are forced to do so which has caused a real flattening of the market place.”
Open to innovation
While New Zealand organisations are open to being innovative, from a bold statement perspective, Dodds believes enterprise organisations are struggling in this new world.
“They are struggling because the concept of technology and automation coming through, and the ability to use systems and tools instead of people to execute, makes it clear that they are facing a huge movement to shift away from people heavy orientation to technology heavy orientation,” he adds.
“Enterprise organisations are forming separate businesses outside of the organisation to reframe the business to become what it could be.
“That means the organisations that are unwilling to canabilise themselves and reframe themselves in that way are all going to take guidance and advice from the service providers.”
But for service providers this isn’t enough to win business, with Dodds advising them to “come with the right business outcomes in mind.”
“The biggest failing that we see in service providers today goes back to the key questions of, ‘do you know my business?’, ‘do you know my industry?’ and ‘how can you transform me into what my industry is actually going to become?’ he adds.
When quizzing New Zealand organisations on how they perceived new and innovative technology and the focus areas they are honing in on, IDC reports that “bar none”, converged infrastructure services and software-defined infrastructure top the list.
“You’re right on point,” Dodds adds. “Look at Google Glass, wearables, smartphones etc, they are all nice to have but there is a real problem statement around this space right now and the real problem statement is around the HR function within a business.
“The reason why is because when you think about say, an Apple Watch, a watch might be about extending information to the user but ultimately the value of a watch is actually being able to track stuff.
“In thinking that through, it’s about contextual based identity management and security but the reality is that until HR comes on board, we are going to be wondering aimlessly in this space because at present, the Lion’s share of information still sits within that software-defined space.”
But to be clear about software-defined, the aspiration of software-defined is that the application can mandate and influence.
“We’re not there yet and we won’t be there for some time,” Dodds qualifies, “but what we are seeing is the high levels of automation available through these new technologies where you can actually shape traffic well and can compartmentalise different approaches to different field offices.
“When thinking of off-premise, on-premise and public cloud and SaaS adoption, you begin to have an incredibly high dependancy of running an elastic network.”
The current state of play in the industry sees software-defined moving into an awareness space, which then leads to interest and then a buying cycle.
At present, Dodds reports that organisations are “aware of software-defined” but they are still in the process of figuring out a use for it so fundamentally, technology expansion is the biggest driver for investment.
“If you think that it’s a matter of just wait until people have gone through a refresh cycle, that is not the case,” he adds.
“In reality, the opportunities are there to almost double and triple. If you can articulate how it can improve the business, then there is money to be had.”
While accepting that such advice is not necessarily new, Dodds was quick to hammer home the importance of ensuring the information registered.
And in a room housing top performing data centre providers across the country, at Westcon New Zealand’s one day technology event, that message was heard loud and clear.