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Working in the technology industry means having to do the best you can to keep up with changing trends and shifting business models. Keeping an eye on leaders in the technology sphere, as well as up-and-comers, can give you a greater perspective on how your own business can adapt and change. Specifically, Microsoft has been really interesting to watch as they have made some significant changes over the past few years. Their new CEO, Satya Nadella, is changing their strategy so they can remain relevant and successful in the modern world.
Microsoft is a very large company but are far from perfect as they have made a few questionable decisions over the past few decades. Google and Apple have capitalized on some of these mistakes and gained market share in areas like smartphones, tablets, search engines, and web browsing. But instead of fighting their competitors, Microsoft is embracing them and opening up much of their software applications to their platforms. Most notably, Office was developed for iOS and Android mobile platforms. Allowing this to be on the competitor’s devices and operating systems might appear to be the wrong direction but Microsoft is very aware that to be relevant then you must be on the device that the consumer is using. Microsoft has even been featured as part of Apple’s product releases in past years to show the collaboration and dedication that they have to mobility and availability on every device.
So, what can we learn from Microsoft’s refreshed strategy?
There is no shortage of reports detailing the fact that mobile devices outnumber desktop computers. In fact, there are more mobile devices in use in the world than there are humans.
With these product announcements, Microsoft is embracing this reality. Your customers want mobile solutions, period. Many manufacturers and ISVs in our channel are focused on providing integrated mobile solutions. Challenge your team to consider ways your products can evolve to meet the rapidly changing needs of your customers.
Embrace A Wider Market
Don’t be too proud to develop new business. Make your offering as flexible as possible so you can capture the attention of a wider market. Today’s technology landscape includes consumers who mix-and-match hardware and software manufacturers.
The PC-based finance firm, for example, may issue iPhones to their employees for business use. Folks who are given iPhones by their companies may own Android devices for their personal use. It’s imperative that the products we’re offering our customer’s work together to solve their problems; not create new headaches as a result of incompatibility.
The Office for iPad apps are free to download. The apps offer useful functionality for free and expanded functionality at a cost. The strategy here is to make the consumer’s initial investment low to hopes that it will result in an easier sell down the road.
This business model will continue to grow as customers would rather have a short term subscription commitment compared to a full cost license. This model is already in our channel and gaining popularity. Consider if this is strategy that could apply to your product offerings.
Companies that are winning are focusing on experience. People want more than just a product or service, they want to enjoy the process of using it. Sometimes, that enjoyment is not being frustrated by getting their technologies to work in harmony.
Microsoft is doing this by making sure they have great offerings on all platforms. This same mentality must be applied to the solutions that you provide. Is the experience seamless from all devices for all users? Is the customer’s interactions with your company seamless from sales to service? Focusing on experience will make you the partner of choice for your customers.
Embrace change head on. Companies both large and small must react to change whether the source is disruption in the space from new competition, expansion in consumer use cases or new challenges in everyday life. The companies that are committed to reacting quickly and adapting innovations into their offering will last.
If your primary vertical is point-of-sale and you’re not integrating security or inventory control into your solutions, you should research this growing opportunity. If your primary focus is barcode labeling you should consider whether you would benefit from expanding into warehousing solutions. Your customers have a wide range of needs and if you can meet more of them then you become more valuable partner to them.