Over the past decade, delivery center visits — or client site visits — have been a great sales tool for IT services vendors. I believe that new client requirements and changing client/vendor engagement models will increasingly push vendors to transform their client site visit processes. These visits need to focus much more on a customized and intimate client experience, as opposed to just showcasing technological capabilities.

Vendors must move away from presenting delivery capability showcases and instead send three strong messages to their clients and prospects around innovation, experience, and flexibility that evoke a more customized and intimate relationship. Showcasing innovation should be at the heart of the site visit process, as it resonates with what clients believe will give them a significant competitive advantage. I believe that highlighting experience, flexibility, and strong innovation capabilities throughout the visit process creates the best foundation for an effective site visit.

I recently had the chance to interact with Uniken, a technology firm that specializes in developing products in the field of security, computing, and communications. I was impressed to experience some of their innovations around “Net banking solutions.” With its TranSafe solution (a secure private platform on the Internet), I believe that Uniken proposes an innovative approach to Net banking. Uniken has researched, developed, and commercialized this technology at its Innovation Centre in Pune, India. Innovations like these are what today’s clients want to see when they visit vendors’ R&D/delivery centers. I see three areas where IT services vendors need to innovate today:

  • Horizontal innovation allows for competitive differentiation. All large IT services vendors have very similar horizontal offerings in areas such as ERP, CRM, and BI. Horizontal innovations enable IT services vendors to build differentiated offerings that can be showcased as part of client site visits. For example, Capgemini’s CUBE in Mumbai, India is an interactive showcase where clients can experience innovative business information management (BIM) solutions, interact with BIM experts, and review proofs of concept (POCs).
  • Vertical innovation is a key selection criterion for clients. Forrester’s Forrsights Services Survey shows that approximately two-thirds of respondents believe that having knowledge and experience of a firm’s business vertical is important in selecting a vendor. Vendors need to showcase their domain expertise and the fact that they are investing in vertical innovation to help their clients address their business pain points. For example, Accenture and Telstra opened a product innovation lab in Melbourne, Australia with the aim of creating vertical-specific solutions that can run in the cloud and localizing Accenture’s products and designs to optimize them for Telstra’s network.
  • Long-range innovation prepares clients for the future. Clients want the ability to plan ahead and prepare for future growth. During client visits, vendors need to highlight their investments in and commitment to innovation and helping clients drive their future. For example, HCL Technologies worked with Eli Lilly and Company to establish a framework to create POCs for applied solutions. HCL will leverage traditional and emerging technologies like cloud and BI to support Eli Lilly’s global operations, help drive innovation, and prepare Eli Lilly for their future growth.

My recent report further details (including live examples around the globe) how vendors are successfully executing around the three pillars of innovation, experience, and flexibility. The report further highlights the need for vendors to “think locally and act globally” to achieve true long-term success. Finally, it touches upon why we believe reverse innovation will become more common and what implications it’ll have on client site visits.