The Voice of the Channel


Are You Asking the Million Dollar Questions?

By Jim Schwartz

It seems like everything we do these days is in some way new. Gone are the days of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting to see better and better results. Change is in fact the new constant, leaving us with two choices: to embrace it or get out of its way.

Take, for example, the IT industry.

Recent research from CompTIA, a non-profit trade association serving the IT industry, underscores a big shift in behavior and strategy among organizations when it comes to the purchase and use of IT within organizations—a trend that parallels the digital transformation journey.

In a recent CompTIA survey of IT buyers representing various functional departments across the organization, including marketing, finance, logistics and sales:

  • 49% surveyed said that the ultimate objective for technology is now more business-focused.
  • 27% surveyed said that the final decision is now made by a different group than the IT department.
CompTIA makes the point that the IT buyer could be "anyone" within the organization—a fact that is substantiated by both Gartner and IDC.

Writes CompTIA:

  • Gartner shows that more than half of the IT respondents from functional areas other than IT are involved in purchasing decisions, and the rate of involvement appears to be increasing.
  • IDC shows a shift in worldwide corporate IT spending and forecasts LoB IT spending to be nearly equal to that of the IT organization.

What Does This Mean for You?

William Jennings Bryan once said: "Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved."


  • The types of conversations you are having with your customers and with whom you are having them with must change. You can no longer rely on your relationship with the CTO. You must expand your network within your customers.
  • To rise above the noise of your competitors and help your customers effectively transform their environments so they can accelerate business objectives, you need to change your story. You must ask the questions that will jump-start new conversations with your customers around the business challenges they face.
To help you along this journey, we have launched a new program that will provide you with the Million Dollar Questions you need to have meaningful conversations with your customers as they transition to the cloud.

Questions like:

  • Why haven't you moved everything to the cloud yet?
  • Do you want to get out of the data center business?
  • What steps are you taking to reduce your IT security risk?
  • How protected are you against the next big disaster?
Over the next few weeks, we will explore each of these questions, providing you with the latest news, information, and trends you need to start, and keep, a steady conversation going with your customers.

We've created this blog to serve our partner community. We hope you bookmark the site and visit often. As always please do not hesitate to reach out to your Channel Sales Manager or me with any questions. Your success is our success. Happy selling!

Jim Schwartz is Senior Director of Channel Operations, Sungard AS. He has been driving channel operations at Sungard Availability Services for the past nine years. He is a 24-year veteran of the IT and telecommunication industries and has extensive experience in global channel sales, strategy, programs and operations.

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