How To Help Your Customers Innovate

Goal: 'Understand Your Customer'

What does a business need to innovate effectively?

For one, it needs an IT organization that has the time to help enable it, suggests a report from solution provider giant Dimension Data. It also needs leadership that enables a "risk-taking" culture that says it's OK to fail, according to a separate study by another solution provider giant, Softchoice.

And solution providers can play a role in helping ensure that their business customers have the right tools in place that can grease the wheels of innovation, according to Erika Van Noort, senior manager of strategic enablement for Toronto-based Softchoice – No. 32 on the 2016 CRN Solution Provider 500.

"If you don’t understand where your customer is going or wants to go, it's really hard to help them set course," Van Noort told ITBestOfBreed. For Softchoice, "it’s a very customized conversation depending on what the business outcome is that the company is trying to achieve and what challenges the IT organization is having in relation to that. We don’t go in with prescribed viewpoints because as a technology reseller, we really have access to hundreds of different solutions.”

Some of the problem revolves around what the corporate IT organization's priorities are and how IT interacts with its end users.

Here's what the two studies found: