- "Our new product/tool will change the world." - Occasionally this happens, but more often that not it's just a feature that could be implemented on any existing platform.
- "Our new product delivers immediate value to customers and solves an existing (widespread) problem". Companies will typically pay money to solve problems, especially if it saves them money or unlocks a new market opportunity. Typically this creates a new market for the vendor. VMware ESX did this for many years. Consolidate servers, save money.
- "Our value is no longer distinct, so let's embed it into a suite/bundle with other things, and hopefully take a larger piece of the pie (customer's budget) that is currently allocated to somewhere else."
I've had the privilege to attend many VMware events in the past 4-5 years (PEX, VMworld, VMUG, etc.), and the theme of those events always seemed to fall into the #1 or #2 buckets. It's what created such a passionate following for the products and the company. It created a very unique, "wow, if I do this, then something better happens" moment for many companies.
But this year's event was different. It had a #3 feel to it. Many of the themes that had been critical to VMware (VDI, virtualizing Mission-Critical Applications, etc.) were now buried within "suites".
Overall, the value proposition to the customer was no longer obvious. Most notably by the VMware people that were presenting solutions like "vCloud Suite". The theme had shifted from "buy for value" to "buy for potential value, if we can unlock it".
Here's an example. I sat through a "How to sell vCloud Suite" presentation, given by the Director of Product Management for vCloud (apologies, I didn't catch the presenter's name). The audience was VMware partners, primarily their go-to-market partners (VARs/SIs). After introducing the pieces of the vCloud Suite, his pitch went something like this (paraphrased):
- Great job selling vSphere. 30-40% of most applications are virtualized. Sometimes more.
- We're not going to call it "Cloud" anymore. It's now called "Software-Defined Data Center" (SDDC). vCloud used to be the answer to "how to get to Cloud?". vCloud is now the answer to "how to get to SDDC?".
- Getting to high-levels of virtualization was a CAPEX story. Inefficient hardware. Save customers hard costs. Getting to SDDC is an OPEX story. Inefficient people and processes. Save customers unknown/soft costs.
- IT still isn't very efficient, mostly because storage and networking aren't virtualized and controlled (via VMware) like server virtualization. Get your customers to virtualize those things. (NOTE: How to do that is not covered in this presentation).
- Overall, IT still isn't operating very efficiently. Sell them vCOPs to figure out where there are more inefficiencies, like stranded VMs, poorly provisioned storage, poorly configured networks, etc.