In their latest book, B4B: How Technology and Big Data are Reinventing the Customer-Supplier Relationship, authors J.B. Wood, Todd Hewlin, and Thomas Lah describe how “The product B2B model was designed to sell things to customers, whereas the new B4B model will be about delivering outcomes for customers.”
In other words, suppliers used to be able to sell a fish, and customers would be happy to pay them for it. The premise in B4B is that this model is changing….customers really don’t want a fish, they want to learn how to fish so that they can catch as many fish as they’d like.
Think back to your last material technology purchase (a fish)…were you able to achieve the “brave new world” of improved quality, reduced costs and/or increased revenues that you were promised during the sales cycle (fishing lessons that allowed you to catch many fish)? Me neither.You know why? In today’s world of ever-increasing technology complexity, customers face more risk than ever that they will fail to realize the expected benefits of enterprise technology purchases.
The authors discuss how customers can radically reduce these risks, allowing them to improve the speed and magnitude of the benefits they realize.
One of these risk areas is Remote Supplier Management, which the authors describe as follows: “What if the customer did not have to rely on internal staff to manage the product’s day-to-day performance? We are in the age of the internet, right? Why can’t suppliers better manage their products for customers on a one-to-many basis?”
Advanced remote monitoring tools like ISOdx ARM were developed with this specific point in mind.These tools allow suppliers to automatically collect support information from each and every customer, providing them with (1) tactical information that can be used to address specific technical issues (a fish, if you will), and (2) strategic insight and analytics about how their products are being used, and where customers may be struggling to derive value and realize benefits (fishing lessons that provide ongoing value to the customer).
In the book, the authors make it clear that the current model for how customers and technology suppliers conduct business is approaching a tipping point. A new model is fast approaching – a model that rewards the technology suppliers that have the greatest insight into their customers use of their products. Technology suppliers that leverage tools like ISOdx ARM to gain insight and provide value to their customers over time will enjoy a competitive advantage because they will be teaching their customers how to fish….while other suppliers will be complaining about the one that got away.