Jeff is a professional services veteran with more than three decades in strategic marketing and research. After working as a research and benchmarking lead at firms like IDC, Dataquest and META group, Jeff joined INS as head of strategic marketing, which was then acquired by Lucent. He founded THINKstrategies in 2001 to focus on the business implications of on-demand services before the cloud was even formed. Since then he has become a go-to expert for companies on sourcing, for vendors on go-to-market strategies, and for venture capital on investment decisions. He thrives on helping professional services firms capitalize on new market opportunities by clearly communicating their differentiators.
What do you love about helping and guiding people-based businesses?
Services businesses play a critical role in helping customers get the most out of their technology investments and innovations, and it’s rewarding to empower and enable those businesses. I’ve worked with a number of consultancies that were originally formed to simply help clients deploy “off-the-shelf” software solutions, and helped them achieve greater growth and sustainability by more fully integrating those solutions into their clients’ organizational processes. When they see the impact they can have on their clients’ business operations and quality of life, it gives them a huge sense of pride.
What has changed the most in the services space in the last few years?
What’s changed is the recognition that cloud and subscription-based services are not only a viable alternative to traditional on-premise products, but that they are strategic solutions that are essential to meeting today’s escalating business challenges. As a result, the most successful professional services firms are those that are not only proficient in deploying cloud-based solutions, but are also skilled at using them to improve how they operate and interact with clients.
Why do you think the Third Wave of cloud computing is an even bigger opportunity for services businesses than the first two waves?
The Third Wave of cloud computing applies the technological innovations and new operating models that evolved from departmental (first-wave) and enterprise-centric (second-wave) applications to inter-enterprise business processes (e.g. multimodal e-commerce, real-time supply chain). And as the pandemic has dramatically shown, the next wave of cloud deployment must be at a global scale while reaching all of us remotely, no matter where we live and work. Putting these processes together requires a combination of specialized, technical skills and support to manage cloud solutions from multiple independent software vendors and cloud providers — skills and support that customers will need from trusted partners with proven capabilities. Because of the strategic nature of these business processes, the third wave of cloud consultancies will also require a higher level of expertise in areas such as cybersecurity, AI and automation to help their clients achieve greater efficiency, security and competitive advantage.