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11/29/2003
11:37 AM
Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl
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Editor's Note: The Million-Dollar Vendor Question

The old, tired strategy for growing profits: cutting costs. The new, more rewarding strategy: increasing revenue. The goal: finding innovative IT strategies that can boost the bottom line and help create sustainable growth.

It all sounds great, doesn't it? Some would argue that such results depend on the economy getting stronger plus a little bit of luck. But ask Michael Treacy, chief strategist at consulting firm Gen3 Partners, and he'll tell you that a disciplined approach to managing growth can lead to steady revenue streams, even in flat economies and slow markets.

I bring this up now (and you can read much more about Treacy's research in the December issue of Optimize magazine) because one of the key skills that high-growth companies possess, he says, is the ability to achieve and maintain customer-value leadership. Every company, he says, needs a compelling answer to this simple question: "Why should customers do business with us?" While many consider the PC business a commodity market where there's little difference between brands, there's more to competition than price. The whole experience—price, reliability, management, and customer service—comes into play when business-technology managers make their purchase plans. While most of the 875 people that InformationWeek Research surveyed in its Analyzing The PC Vendors study are satisfied with their vendors, there's room for improvement in customer service. It's an issue that gives increasingly disloyal customers an incentive to turn their attention—and dollars—to another vendor when the time comes to upgrade. Considering the close rankings of some of the vendors we studied, it's a question worth repeating: "Why should customers do business with you?"

Stephanie Stahl
Editor
sstahl@cmp.com


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