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In-depth examples of our work

Identifying enterprise customers’ technology challenges through Vanson Bourne research

Identifying enterprise customers’ technology challenges through Vanson Bourne research


"Building thought leadership was the research’s key driver. This approach ensured that we can base our go-to-market activities on primary data and Vanson Bourne as an independent market research specialist challenged our main hypothesis in its methodology. We obtained deep market insights that are shaping our marketing plans and helping us deliver our growth strategy."

David Carmichael
Director of Service Line Marketing, Avanade


Market insight for sustained growth

To continue driving growth, global business technology and managed services provider Avanade wanted to equip its enterprise customers with greater insights into the ways that they can use Microsoft technologies to unlock greater business value from the transformative forces of mobile, social, cloud and big data.

To help customers optimise business systems’ performance while taking advantage of these new forces, Avanade’s senior management needed to lift the lid on customers’ evolving business technology strategies with detailed market research insights - and in particular, gaining a clearer picture of managed services providers’ (MSPs) role: do they co-ordinate or merely execute an organisation’s strategy, particularly in relation to using Microsoft technologies?

Two important factors drove Avanade’s research project. First, while enterprise customers were already aware of opportunities (and challenges) from social, mobile, cloud and big data, they sometimes struggled to understand the best technology strategies to maximise those opportunities and overcome the potential risks

Second, Avanade teams also knew that many enterprise IT departments regard Microsoft technologies as providing what they need to meet businesses’ expectations from such game-changing forces. But the company also wanted to ascertain how many enterprises had access to the latest technologies but for some reason hadn’t used them in a production environment. Avanade teams suspected that organisations already have the rights to breakthrough latest technologies without managing to implement them.

Avanade wanted to know the reasons for these trends. How can businesses meet these fundamental challenges and how do they best work with expert service providers to resolve them?


Strategy: understanding customers’ use of Microsoft technologies

The Avanade marketing team met Vanson Bourne to test these hypotheses and identify effective market research strategies spanning the Asia-Pacific, the Americas and EMEA regions. After discussing different approaches, Avanade and Vanson Bourne decided on a survey implementation based on independent research panels and a mix of online and telephone interviews in multiple countries.

To address the pivotal issue of whether enterprises regard MSPs as point solution providers – or strategic, long-term partners, the questions examined providers’ ability to deliver infrastructure optimisation, business applications, application development and collaboration and messaging.


Execution: independent research - world-wide

Vanson Bourne then carried out 750 interviews with senior CIOs, CTOs and senior IT managers in enterprises of 1001-3000 and 3000+ employees in March and April 2013. The survey team conducted interviews in nine countries: USA, UK, China, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Japan and Australia.


Deeper insights for sales and marketing momentum

Vanson Bourne’s research confirmed that IT leaders view changing technology forces as a double-edged sword; while they present exciting business opportunities, many organisations lack the necessary capabilities to respond. IT teams may have the latest versions of software but may lack the in-house skills to integrate or demonstrate ROI from doing so.

The results confirmed the risks and potential benefits from these converging forces: 83% of senior IT executives regard converging mobile, social, cloud and big data forces as a challenge but 93% see them as an opportunity. Results also suggested that organisations’ struggle to deploy up-to-date technologies: on average only 22% of the organisations surveyed use the latest versions. And 25% have invested in new technology that they have not yet deployed.

The researchers found that despite these challenges, large enterprises want Cloud’s economies of scale, lower set-up costs and speed of deployment. Nearly all (89%) of respondents has a private cloud within their company to some extent. Most organisations are already moving towards a hybrid IT strategy with 37% partnering with an MSP today, with an additional 41% intending to work with one within 12 months’ time.


"Vanson Bourne is very good at examining our hypotheses and identifying the areas we want to investigate. It’s an iterative process that assesses objectives and identifies independent user panels. It delivers a rigorous survey methodology and effective questionnaire design and testing."

David Carmichael
Director of Service Line Marketing, Avanade


Vanson Bourne’s survey also highlighted that enterprises are increasingly expecting a pricing model and service level agreement that actually reflects how the service is consumed and delivers value to the business. Over half of interviewees want to see pricing and SLAs focused on business outcomes.

The survey established that enterprises that do manage their business services through strategic partnerships with MSPs achieve benefits such as IT departments being better able to meet the needs of the business and allowing the business to grow and improve business processes. These are all essential advances in today’s highly competitive, ‘always on’ markets.



Vanson Bourne’s ability to deliver regional market-level insights has helped Avanade’s marketing team to demonstrate thought leadership: the research supporting a global marketing campaign that further engaged with Avanade’s customers and helped realise corporate growth strategy for its managed services portfolio in 2013 and beyond. The research team also supplied a summary report and a whitepaper which have provided a deeper market understanding for regional sales teams.

Avanade also used the survey findings to underpin a series of campaign assets. In addition, country-by-country marketing teams have harnessed the survey data sets in tailored media campaigns. These have featured hard-hitting news, market analysis and thought leadership articles.

About Avanade

Avanade helps customers realise results in a digital world through business technology solutions and managed services that combine insight, innovation and expertise focused on Microsoft® technologies. Our people have helped thousands of organisations in all industries improve business agility, employee productivity and customer loyalty. Avanade, which is majority owned by Accenture, was founded in 2000 by Accenture LLP and Microsoft Corporation and has 20,000 professionals in more than 20 countries.