Simplicity as strategy has its rewards

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Sr. Product Marketing Director
IBM, Netezza

Previously, I blogged on how being simple - to install, to use and to manage - creates valuable differentiation for IBM Netezza appliances. So convinced are we of simplicity’s value to our customers, we make it central to our business strategy.

Omega Management Group Corporation recently informed us that “Netezza has won the Omega NorthFace ScoreBoard Award℠ for 2010 for achieving excellence in the areas of Installation and Technical Account Manager. This marks the fourth consecutive year that you and your team have earned this high honor”.

Winning this award just once speaks of commitment to customers. Winning across four consecutive years tells a larger story. Such consistency of execution stems from strategic direction. In an industry where enterprise computing solutions and the accompanying relationships with vendors are accepted as complex, Netezza’s co-founder and first CEO Jit Saxena shaped our company on his profoundly different insight. Sensing the potential for market disruption, Jit built Netezza on a foundation of a simple-to-use product combined with a corporate culture of being “easy to do business with”.

At a product level this strategy manifests as appliance. Customers witness this simplicity as their IBM Netezza appliance is installed and available for use, commonly within 24 hours of its delivery.

In our business operations our simplicity strategy manifests as easy to do business with. Customer relationships often start with a proof-of-concept, or PoC: an opportunity for their staff in their data center to load their data to a IBM Netezza appliance, and assess performance of their queries. Even at this early phase of our engagement customers comment that the relationships they develop with our installation engineers and technical account managers are different - open, more valuable than those with some established vendors.

While strategy establishes mid-to-long term direction, results are won day-by-day. Success here requires deep relationships be developed with customers: collaborating to understand their expectations; listening to their needs; responding with action and advice so they can better exploit their data. Congratulations to Trish Cotter and everyone in our Installation and Technical Account Manager teams for their constant attention to our customers, for designing processes that create value, for hiring, training and developing teams of talented individuals, for winning budget to procure resources, for measuring and reporting results; for refining approaches, and for making good decisions informed by trusted data. The result, as cited by Omega, is “ongoing commitment to building profitable, long-term customer loyalty by exceeding customer expectations”. Congratulations to the other 21 companies recognized by Omega for world-class customer service in 2010. And, thanks to our customers for trusting us, for communicating their expectations of our relationship, and for participating in Omega’s research.