Cloud Migration - Suppliers blame clients and advisors for innovation barrier

I recently re-read HfS's article (really, a blog post) from a few months ago that looked deeper into some recent research. They asked 238 representatives from Service Providers to identify the main obstacles blocking their ability to sell as-a-Service products, services, and transformations. The top three obstacles were: lack of client lack of willingness; lack of advisory expertise; and lack of education. At the bottom of the list - in 11th place - was Supplier talent to evolve into Cloud-like business models. 

In other words, over 200 of the 238 Service Providers sampled believed they were capable and ready to transform clients if only clients knew more and would let them (and advisors would get out of their way). 

I occasionally attend industry seminar-events (I was a speaker at IAOP's World Conference year before last), and hear similar laments from Suppliers. But in practice, I rarely see suppliers deftly presenting visionary solutions to solve client problems. Several years ago, Tom Young, founder of RumJog Enterprises (then North America leader at TPI)  created an accelerated transaction process called Request for Solution (RFS). The idea was to ask an open-ended question whereby the client described a problem statement - a desired 'destination' such as replace legacy Data Center fabric with an agile, 'as-a-service' consumption model. Unlike an RFP, it did not prescriptively describe the mechanics of solution (the 'journey'). Several suppliers were invited to offer their best thinking on how to solve the problem from a blank sheet of paper.

After running dozens of RFS's, one thing is clear: Supplier deal-teams struggle with open-ended questions - when handed a blank-sheet-of-paper, they freeze. So they ask a a lot of questions to essentially create an RFP. Eventually, they create a solution that almost always leaves the difficult parts to the client - they want the easy stuff, but not the difficult. 

In looking at Service Provider responses to the HfS survey, maybe the explanation is that service providers want to sell one thing but clients (and their advisors) want to buy something more comprehensive. Clients want a supplier to solve their entire problem whereas the supplier wants only to accept the portion that they can easily solve.