Are We Hardware or Are We Software?

Last updated: 13 March 2018

As an IDV (intelligent device vendor), you need to be both. While you have an existing hardware business, you need to think like an ISV (independent software vendor), in order to grow and maintain your competitive edge. Thinking like a software-driven company means that you can no longer expect to succeed by simply offering quality products to your addressable market.

Whether you are an IDV, ISV or somewhere in between, customer-centricity should guide your business decisions. This means providing flexible licensing and pricing options – such as subscription-based models – so that your end-customers are independent, pay only for what they use, and feel that you appreciate their business.

Today the real challenge is providing customers in the B2B world with the same user experience they are accustomed to in their personal lives. According to McKinsey, industry-leading B2B companies are intensifying global competition by putting customer-centricity and experience at the heart of their strategy.

To deliver an excellent customer experience, while fostering positive engagement throughout the complete product lifecycle, vendors need to ensure that a software-centric approach is adopted internally first – across all departments, functions and roles. The transition from hardware to software is what enables catering to customer-centricity demands.

This transition is not a one-time action, but rather an ongoing process as part of the entire digital business transformation organizations are undergoing. Vendors that succeed in getting employees onboard and committed to customer-centricity, will be able to assist their end-customers in achieving their own business goals. This will uniquely position the vendor as a trusted partner, instead of merely a hardware or software vendor.

Rolls-Royce is a great example of a vendor that redefined the way they do business. From selling engines (as good as they may be) they decided to apply software-driven tactics and lease their usage, turning the engines into the foundation for a long-term, valuable relationship with customers. Another impressive vendor is KONE that has elevated its business way above just manufacturing elevators and escalators. They now offer monetization and modernization solutions, and convey the message of making “cities better places to live”.

Such companies have captured the digital opportunity and transformed their perspective into a software-centric one. These vendors are able to truly focus on their customers’ needs and go to market with new software offerings, while preserving and leveraging their existing hardware business.

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