Binod Sriwastav , Vice President-Global Sales Group (India) , Tata Communications

In today's communications market, there are no more buyers and sellers, only partners.

The market has changed so much in the last three to five years that the roles we play have had to change as well. Service providers across the value chain are seeing that traditional relationships between buyers and sellers have been replaced by partnership.

We have all become more interconnected and interdependent and that drives the need for stronger relationships and deeper collaboration. It is not enough to simply sell a service and then hand it off to the customer. Buyers want long-term relationships, where they can grow with their supplier partners and influence their solutions portfolios.

I see a growing need for more dynamic relationships where the lowest price is not always the best way forward. Buyers are recognizing that it is no longer in their best interest to squeeze their supplier's price. This can create a cascading effect across the value chain that leads to cost-cutting and ultimately lower quality solutions. That makes it difficult for the buyer to meet their business objectives.

Today's buyers of communications services want partners that are dedicated to their success and have a sustainable and evolving solutions portfolio. They want long-term relationships that are based on collaboration rather than just offering a product and handing it off after a sale. There is more to it than that.

I see four drivers for this evolution from buyers and sellers to strategic partnerships:

Innovative Portfolios. Buyers would much rather work with an organisation they know and trust. The challenge for sellers is to offer new solutions that meet the buyers' demands today and in the future. Sellers should be continually refreshing their solutions portfolio and delivering a compelling set of services. They must be proactive in developing their solutions to stay ahead of their sellers. Cloud and as a Service models are making new services more accessible and easy to deploy. The seller's job is to curate these services and match them with buyer's demands.

New Scalability – Being able to grow together is critical to this new partnership model. Buyers want to be able to scale up their services and grow with their suppliers. As their businesses grow, they do not want to have to search for another provider and go through the pain of migrating away from an organisation they understand and are familiar with. Sellers should have the ability to scale up to meet growing customer demands. Scalability is the foundation for long-term relationships and sustainable revenue.

Collaboration and the Feedback Loop. Listening is the key. The days of selling a service and that being the end of the transaction are over. Buyers and sellers can work together to get the best possible outcome for both sides. They can collaborate to develop new services or to refine existing ones. The more they collaborate, the better the resulting service will be. The feedback loop drives innovation and helps to evolve not just the solutions portfolio but every aspect of the relationship from customer support to billing and invoicing. This creates happy customers and better offerings.

Creating Shared Value. Partnership is about creating "win-win" situations. Both buyers and sellers have to achieve a positive outcome. If one side has the upper hand, then it is not a true partnership. From the beginning of the relationship, both buyer and seller should be clear on each other's objectives and how they can help each other grow and deliver the best possible solutions. That creates shared value and benefits all parties.

These four drivers show the way forward for a healthier and more dynamic market. Each player is winning while innovation is accelerated. That's really exciting. When collaboration instead of cost-cutting is cascaded across the ecosystem, everyone benefits. Strategic partnerships will deliver the future of our industry.


 

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