Dear CIO – 5 Reasons you should Make Way for Smaller IT Vendors

Small IT vendors vs large IT vendors

Depending on which blogs and articles you read from around the web, the notion of large, traditional IT vendors being the only viable option for helping your brand create a digital product that disrupts the marketplace seems like it’s alive and well. However, by digging a little deeper than the standard chatter, it doesn’t take much to uncover the truth and see that this viewpoint couldn’t be any more incorrect. The marketplace is shifting away from these large IT vendors, and your brand needs to understand this fact before it spends its digital product development budget on an approach that is destined to fail.

The reality of the situation is that small, innovative, and nimble service providers can do so much more than cumbersome larger vendors when it comes to meeting the specific needs and demands of your digital product project. It might seem hard to believe initially, but after spending a few minutes reading over our five strong reasons that prove this point, it won’t be long before you realize that defaulting exclusively to a large vendor that relies on dated and ineffective practices isn’t the right way to disrupt your marketplace with a great digital product.

Reason #1: Larger, “Legacy” IT Vendors Aren’t Built to Provide Services in the New Digital World

To help kick start the discussion and dive headfirst into our first point, the team of experts over at the research and analysis firm Horses for Sources notes that larger, “legacy” IT vendors simply aren’t built to provide services that match up to the requirements of the new digital world in which we live. Instead, these organizations continue to focus on the safety, comfort, and ease of production that comes with larger, static deals that don’t require proper optimization or client services.

Additionally, this approach leads to an inability to effectively bid on unique or custom projects, as well as accurately scale services to a client’s specific needs. In other words, these vendors are too “vertical” as far as their organizational infrastructure goes to properly accommodate the needs of brands that want to succeed in the modern digital environment.

“In most cases, service providers are too vertically set up, for example, most still have an infrastructure service line, an application service line and a BPO service line – and most have product service lines too…” – Horses for Sources Research Team

If this doesn’t sound too appealing to your start up or detail digital product project, you’re not alone. The team from Horses for Sources goes on to note that six out of every 10 decision-makers are willing to dump these legacy providers and seek out a more effective, efficient, and nimble team of development professionals.

By switching to a smaller service provider that tailors its digital product development exclusively to your needs, you align your brand with experts who approach each project from a drastically different angle when compared to the “traditional” competition. Specifically, these organization are causing quite a stir in the marketplace by providing the following benefits to their clients:

  • Designed to work efficiently on lower margins.
  • Able to effectively optimize resource allocation.
  • Ensure projects remain on budget and appropriately costed.
  • Create an efficient and pleasing digital product development experience.

When faced with these two development paths that cover both ends of the production spectrum, it’s hard not to immediately make the switch to a smaller, boutique service provider. Even if you’re not quite convinced to ditch the legacy portion of the industry, there’s still plenty more reasons to consider a different route to satisfying your digital product needs.

Reason #2: The Bigger Digital Product Developers Rely Upon “Chain” Customer Service Tactics That Don’t Mold to Your Needs

As far as customer support goes, there’s also the fact that bigger digital product developers aren’t able to give you the quality service you need, because they rely upon “chain” tactics that simply can’t mold to your needs. While this method definitely helps keep the process rolling when dealing with a large-scale operation, it’s not an optimal way to foster a healthy relationship as you work toward the completion of a digital product project.

What makes this unfortunate scenario even more complex and unwieldy is the reality that many of these organizations outsource customer service or maintain these departments off-site. Clearly, there’s nothing inherently wrong with outsourcing; it’s just that adding unnecessary hoops and hurdles to the channels of communication between you and the IT team in charge of your digital product development can lead to a rather unpleasant experience as you seek out answers to questions and concerns.

“Which company is most innovative? Which one will provide best customer support? Which company’s employees are most committed to being and doing the best? I believe these best attributes are now found in the smaller companies.” – Peter Schroer, Aras Corp

These words, from Aras Corp’s Peter Schroer, help emphasize the difference in technical support and customer service that a brand can find between larger IT vendors and specialized, smaller development teams. The smaller companies must innovate and excel with stellar customer service to stand out; anything less gets lost in the ever-growing number of options within this marketplace.

Going a little deeper, the one-on-one time provided to each client by the more adaptable development teams ensures that your brand has the opportunity to get exactly what it asks for out of its original product. When you’re dealing with strained budgets and tight deadlines, having access to this kind of service isn’t just preferred, it’s essential the success of your project.

Reason #3: Larger Members of the Digital Product Creation Community Aren’t Willing to Implement “Non-Traditional” Solutions

With so many brands entering the digital landscape with the hopes of releasing a disruptive product, the need for non-traditional or “outside of the box” thinking in relation to development is at an all-time high. However, the rigid guidelines and status quo that the larger members of this community subscribe to creates a cognitive roadblock that derails these goals and aspirations with ease.

“This shift in mindset starts by separating consumer interactions into two distinct stages – ‘Divergent’ and ‘Convergent thinking.’ These two stages have different purposes and outcomes, and call for different techniques.” – Soren Kaplan, Innovation Point

Convergent and Divergent Thinking

As Soren Kaplan of Innovation Point explains in his look at this dilemma, it all comes down to the concepts of convergent and divergent thinking. Convergent thinking – in which developers avoid innovation and stick with what is already accepted as best practices – dominates the established, “Big Box” IT vendors. Divergent thinking attacks the problems of digital product development from an entirely different angle by placing an emphasis on creativity and innovation.

In other words, not being bound by the rules of their larger counterparts – and allowing divergent thinking to take center stage – gives smaller service providers the ability to delve into the exploration of unique and unexpected solutions to your digital product needs. Some great examples of what to expect from working with a team of divergent thinkers includes:

  • Enhanced input throughout each step of the creation process.
  • The utilization of powerful and effective techniques that would otherwise be overlooked or dismissed.
  • A willingness to explore all options on the table, not just what’s worked in the past.

The message here is clear and straightforward: If you’re interested in providing the exact same digital product as the rest of your competition, then a large IT vendor is the right call. On the other hand, if you truly want to disrupt your market and capture the attention of your audience, you’ll need to align your brand with a team that’s willing to break the mold and try something different.

Reason #4: Large-Scale IT Vendors Aren’t Willing to Change Their Practices and Mentalities, Despite Dwindling Customer Satisfaction

Perhaps the most startling point that arises from all of this discussion comes from the realization that large-scale IT developers aren’t willing to change their practices and mentalities, despite the fact that brands like your own aren’t satisfied with this situation. While some might argue that this shift toward innovation is a recent occurrence and that the bigger members of this community deserve a chance to adjust and evolve their methods, Search IT Channel’s Esther Shein proves that the allotted amount of time for growth and change to occur has come and gone.

Time Graph

“…in the past five years, partner satisfaction with vendor programs has declined.” – Esther Shein, Search IT Channel

This surprising refusal to adapt to the unique digital product needs of potential partners like your own brand in the face of declining satisfaction rates stems from one of two different issues – a lack of understanding of the current development climate or an inability to appropriately address these concerns. Simply put, these organizations either don’t know about the needs of your brand or just don’t care to provide the services that you request.

Of course, this situation serves as the perfect foundation for smaller service providers to step up and meet your specific project requirements and stipulations. By avoiding the developmental inertia that inhibits growth and change within large-scale vendors, as well as making strong use of cloud computing, flash storage, and other innovative methods of collaboration, the more nimble and aggressive IT teams can truly stay on the cutting edge of this industry and provide brands with the services they need.

Reason #5: There’s Always a Smaller Vendor That Is Ready and Willing to Do What a Larger Vendor Cannot

“…large vendors with broad product bases are increasingly trying to make sure they’re in a solid position with 20% of the largest partners. He said all the vendors are “fighting” over the 20% classified as the highest-performing partners “and making sure we get all their love and attention,” at the expense of smaller partners.” – Esther Shein, Search IT Channel

This quote – also from Esther Shein of Search IT Channel – provides the basis for the final point on our list: Smaller vendors are more than willing to do what a larger vendor can’t or won’t, even if you’re not a “premiere” client. As strange as it may seem, failing to fall into this arbitrary top 20 percent of clients precludes your brand for the service and support that you need to create a digital product that truly disrupts the marketplace.

Fortunately, smaller vendors don’t play by the same rules. By letting the competitive forces of the marketplace guide their growth, these organizations espouse the belief that every client – regardless of size and budget – is special and deserving of premium quality services.

Coming to a Conclusion That’s Right for Your Brand

By now, there should be no doubt left in your mind that large-scale IT organizations simply aren’t capable – or willing – to let go of the “old-style” approach to development. If you truly want to capitalize on the potential that comes with a disruptive digital product and take your market by storm, it’s time to work with an innovative, smaller vendor.

To recap, these five reasons support the veracity of this claim and serve as proper motivation for your brand to make the right call in relation to its digital product needs:

  • Larger, “legacy” it vendors aren’t built to provide services in the new digital world.
  • The bigger digital product developers rely upon “chain” customer service tactics that don’t mold to your needs.
  • Larger members of the digital product creation community aren’t willing to implement “non-traditional” solutions.
  • Large-scale it vendors aren’t willing to change their practices and mentalities, despite dwindling customer satisfaction.
  • There’s always a smaller vendor that is ready and willing to do what a larger vendor cannot.

While this is undoubtedly quite a bit of information to digest in one setting, it’s important that you understand the true nature of the digital product development environment. This way, you can move forward with this knowledge in hand and make a choice that guarantees only the best results for your business as it aims to generate a digital product that truly captures the attention of its target audience.

Sameer Jain

About the Author

Sameer Jain is the founder and CEO of Net Solutions. Founded in 2000, Net Solutions, today, is a name synonymous with the high standards of quality, thanks to Sameer's passion and commitment. Sameer has featured in global publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, and Inc.

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