Gartner Identifies Go-to-Market Strategies for Data Centers

Competition in the data center infrastructure and services market is fierce, and things aren't likely to let up anytime soon. If there's any economic sector where betting on growing demand is a sure thing, integrated computing and telecommunications is probably it. Organizations are bumping up against bandwidth and system complexity constraints, and they're increasingly turning to third-party data center and cloud services providers to help design, build, administer and manage their networks.

In a new report, Gartner Group identifies six alternative strategic approaches IT managers are beginning to use "to view the data center more holistically." Studying these six alternatives can yield benefits to both customer IT managers and technology and service providers that "sell into the data center," according to Gartner.

"Today, you have increased competition not only in your specific area of technological expertise, but for overall enterprise mind share, as well. Providers will need to expand their view of the competitive landscape and consider alternative ways to go to market in order to highlight their strengths and maximize their sales potential," said April Adams, a Gartner research director.

Here's a synopsis of the six alternative data center "go-to-market" approaches, that spells out, according to Gartner, the primary advantages and disadvantages of each in terms of strategic marketing, product marketing, product management, marketing communications and brand management:

Option 1. The Specialist

  • Primary advantages: The approach is familiar; build "best-in-class" brand recognition.
  • Primary downsides: A changing market environment means keeping at the cutting edge and facing down new competition.

Option 2. Traditional Portfolio Provider

  • Primary advantages: Enterprise size and resources capable of covering a broad range of technology and services that meet customers' marketing strategies.
  • Primary downsides: Losing out as the market moves towards integrated, converged solutions.

Option 3. Partner to Achieve a Portfolio Offering

  • Primary advantages: Can build a portfolio while continuing to focus on core strength.
  • Primary downsides: Partnerships can be "fickle," and require more in the way of resources than anticipated.

Option 4. Develop a Converged Offering

  • Primary Advantages: A definitive strategy with the potential to position the provider as a market leader.
  • Primary Downsides: A bold, risky move as it commits the provider to building a new type of data center and new types of relationships with customers. Requires significant investment and good ROI but over the long-term.

Option 5. Hedge your bets with multiple approaches.

  • Primary advantages: Covers all the bases, as providers can offer customers products and services on a "silo" basis, as well as a converged system or integrated stack.
  • Primary downsides: All the disadvantages of both the portfolio and converged systems approaches.

Option 6. Sell Data Center Technologies as a Service - Cloud or Otherwise

  • Primary Advantages: Flexibility to offer at least four alternative customer-provider relationships for data center infrastructure. Allows providers to keep to what they know best while meeting the needs of customers.
  • Primary Disadvantages: Challenges related to if and how to transition existing customers to these models or to embrace "a dual strategy" that entails selling both traditional and service models simultaneously.

Gartner's Adams noted that, "Considering these trends as part of your forward-thinking, go-to-market planning and making thoughtful decisions based on your company's unique set of strengths and weaknesses will position you well in the changing market and could give you a marked competitive advantage relative to providers that do not."

Written by Kevin Kutcher at 00:00

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