partner experience

How Client Expectations Have Transformed Systems Integrators

For as long as I can remember, Global Systems Integrators (GSIs) have been selling transformation projects. In the early days, this meant taking companies from mainframe to distributed computing and deploying desktop PCs, from manual processes to digital computing enterprises. And more recently, GSIs led the way in migrating the world en masse from corporate data centers to the cloud. Fifteen years ago, no large-scale project would ever get executive sponsorship without a systems integrator; their skills were vital to de-risking technical implementation projects and ensuring success. 

Then along came agile development, a methodology of iterative improvement for applications developers, and the agile organization was born. Companies across every line of business began adopting this approach to “de-risk” everything. Leaders like Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella encouraged employees to adopt design thinking to solve problems. Cloud computing began displacing the data center, accelerating innovation at a dizzying rate. Disruptive technologies like AI, data science, machine learning, and automation forced companies to re-think or be replaced. The democratization of data, accessible to all, drove companies to rapidly engage in multichannel communication both internally and externally.  

Now, as we move into 2022, Five9 is seeing a new kind of GSI emerge. Companies  need  a forward-thinking partner capable of responding to this dynamic environment. Even the largest and most established GSIs are rapidly evolving, leading their own internal transformations. The responsibilities within client environments have also completely changed. Today’s redefined GSI is moving even closer to the center of the client’s core mission.  

Here are some of the ways we are seeing GSIs transformed in response to this new business environment. 

  • GSIs are being asked to step in much earlier in the acquisition process. They are serving as vendor liaisons to oversee the entire acquisition process from beginning to end. They not only manage the process, but also are increasingly managing vendor relationships on behalf of their clients. 

  •  GSIs are evolving to become part business consultancy, part creative agency, and part technology powerhouse. They are focused on go-to-market efforts in service management and user experience.  

  • Non-traditional players are entering new markets and blurring the lines of demarcation. Niche SIs are specializing in narrow customer experience verticals, traditional accounting firms are becoming sales and marketing agencies, professional services organizations are actively acquiring AI software companies, and management consulting firms are building managed services around key technologies.  

  • Automation is replacing lower-level application integration work. There is a co-bot relationship that democratizes tasks and eliminates consulting hours  on projects. This is enabling GSI’s to work with a broader set of mid-market companies.  

  • Traditional service delivery silos within the organization are breaking down. GSIs are beginning to focus on delivering integrated experiences across previously disparate projects like the contact center, CRM, AI and data science, workflow automation, and process redesign. 

Client expectations and requirements changed with the advent of agile methodologies and cloud computing. The rate of innovation and disruption, combined with increased focus on driving customer experience, means that GSIs must transform and redefine themselves and be capable of managing business outcomes from beginning to end. This has resulted in the transformation of experts looking inward and transforming themselves. 

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