Trellis is the key for Emerson to get in front of the customer’s key decision makers of data center hardware and services.
The “One Throat to Choke” battle– From our research we have found that Data Center Managers often think of the bigger, core data center hardware purchases like servers prior to thinking about the complimentary hardware items Emerson sells like UPS systems, racks etc. This drives Data Center Managers to reach out to server providers like Dell, HP, IBM etc. These large conglomerate IT hardware and software providers always work the “One Throat to Choke” angle. This strategy consists of the supplier not only attempting to sell the customer not only the core data center hardware they set out to purchase but also sell their software, services (consulting, installation, etc.) and resell the complimentary hardware items of a partnered manufacture. This is a one stop shop that is truly attractive to Data Center Managers that have the difficult job of managing their existing data center. Unless the core data center manufacturers like Dell decide to involve Emerson in their “One Throat to Choke” model, the sale of data center hardware could come and go without Emerson’s involvement.
Chasing the “Key Decision Maker” – Often times IT sales representatives spend most of their effort trying to get in front of the “Key Decision Maker”. There are some issues with this approach. * Each organization has a different “Key Decision Maker”. Depending on the size of the company relative to the size of the purchase they Key Decision Maker could change. The Fortune 20 company has five different approval levels depending on the dollar amount of spend compared to the large, public university interviewed that has only two approval levels. This information is not offered up freely. It could take a lengthy relationship building endeavor to just get in from of the individual with final approval. * Sometimes the final approver is not in IT. Coming out of a rough recession one thing that most organizations strengthened was their strategic sourcing operations. Budgets are being slashed and big capital purchases are under a microscope. In order to control spending, strategic sourcing organizations were formed to assist with large purchases. In many organizations, including those that we interviewed, the sourcing organization controlled the final approval. * Overlooking the importance of “Key Influencers” – There are final approvers for every organization. For very large purchases those final approvers typically have not been involved in most of the purchasing process. Often times those approvers rely on “Key Influencers” to make a decision. The individuals that will be using and/or managing the IT hardware on a daily basis are those who will be presenting their recommendations to the final approver (data center manager, sourcing manager, etc.). Our interviewees agreed that majority of the time the key approver sided with the influencers.
Partnering with Dell, HP, IBM, etc - This option seems like an attractive approach upon first glance. These suppliers are consistently involved in early data center hardware purchase discussions. They have a wide range of customers. Emerson’s products are complimentary to theirs. Unfortunately there are some serious concerns from this approach. * If Emerson chooses one vendor as their partner it could lead to losing business with customers that use the other vendors * Emerson has little leverage in this relationship. The partner will own the relationship with the customer and will also have several alternatives to move to if Emerson decides to not give in to pricing demands. * Emerson will not have the relationship with the customer which further commoditizes their products. There would be little interaction with the customer to give Emerson the ability to show the differentiation of their products.
Advance functionality of