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Evolving Customer Expectations

The behavior of technology buyers has changed. Through digital channels, such as online search and social media, both consumers and B2B buyers research and make decisions independently before engaging a salesperson. With direct access to retail channels via mobile and wearable devices, consumers now purchase products and services anywhere and anytime.

69% of the B2B buying process is complete before the customer even contacts a sales person.3

These customers are no longer just buying technology, they are demanding outcomes. The ubiquitous nature of technology has shifted customer focus from the product to the value or outcome that it provides. This move toward customer outcomes has driven the industry’s shift to subscription- and consumption-based business models.

The software industry was one of the earliest to adopt a subscription-based model, recognizing that customers do not want to install and support software. They simply want the value provided by the software. This gave rise to a new breed of cloud native, software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution providers that changed the landscape of the software industry.

"SaaS has not killed the software market, but is growing rapidly and pressuring legacy providers to include SaaS options or risk losing market traction. By the end of 2020, all new entrants and 80 percent of historical vendors will offer subscription-based business models, regardless of where the software resides. What began as a trickle a few years ago has become a stampede of vendors wanting to make a move to a subscription business model.”

Laurie Wurster, Research Director, Gartner

The industry is now seeing a similar shift, with hardware technology vendors delivering storage, networking, or any product consumed as a service—whether via cloud or on premise.

An outcome-based economy requires a customer-centric focus and the ability to deliver anything as a service. It impacts technology companies in how they define their products, advance the use of digital technology, and interact with their customers to deliver great experiences.

To survive and thrive, high technology companies must focus on delivering great customer outcomes; they have no choice but to be customer-focused, insight-driven, fast, and connected.

3 Forrester: Welcome to the B2B Marketing Renaissance