“Those that are most successful are willing to take risks and learn from their mistakes.”
For Lowe, digital transformation can be dissected into three key customer offerings, improving end- user experience, boosting back-end capabilities and creating positive cultural environments.
“Customers undertake digital transformation to enhance the experience of their customer,” Lowe explained. “This results in greater retention of customers, boosting the brand reputation and thus driving an increase in sales for the business through extending market reach.
“On the back-end it can streamline business operations resulting in greater profitability, improving efficiency in making informed decisions as well as the capability to quickly go-to-market with new services and product offerings.
“And finally, digital transformation provides a cultural benefit where it can inspire creativity and innovation within a business to continually transform and improve.”
Echoing Lowe’s observations, Evolve IT managing director Nick Moran believes digital transformation has customer experience at the core, allowing organisations to compete more effectively for market share.
“There’s a major data and social aspect to digital transformation and it’s simply about using data to improve the customer experience,” Moran said. “Most businesses nowadays believe they compete mostly on customer experience.
“It’s no longer about employing a single or particular technology, it is about ongoing process improvement.”
While all businesses across Australia must continually re-invent themselves to stay relevant, Moran advised that it can’t simply be change for the sake of change.
“Technology does not always make an organisation more efficient,” he cautioned. “If you digitise a rubbish process, it will still be a rubbish process.
“Organisations have and will always look to create ways to make it easy for customers to do business. Failure to do this introduces the risk of not staying relevant in their respective industries.”
Today, Moran believes technology spoils customers into demanding improved products and experiences, with end-users leveraging increased purchasing power to expect on- demand services.
“With more buyer self-servicing from the web, there’s no surprise that these self-service options are preferred by business leaders too,” he acknowledged.
The result is a new buyer in town, with non-IT business executives becoming empowered to make IT purchasing decisions — spanning sales, marketing, finance, HR and operations.
“Look back 10 years ago, the CFO was the person to persuade because businesses focused primarily on cost management to create a competitive edge,” Moran recalled. “Five years later we shifted focus to CIOs as we saw value in cross collaboration and integration.
“Considering the importance of technology today, we are finding in the mid-market that most technology buying now comes from outside of IT.”
From a partner standpoint, the channel has a crucial role to play in delivering on the potential of digital transformation for customers, as end-users seek ongoing guidance and advice.
“By immersing ourselves in the organisation of our customer we begin to understand their processes as well as learn their industry challenges and can help with the innovation piece that many businesses struggle with,” Moran added.
Despite market enthusiasm increasing however, most businesses remain underprepared for the wave of digital transformation impacting the industry.
As a result, the onus is now on the channel to inform and advise on the next steps.
“We are starting to see more and more partners embracing cloud services to deliver effective and efficient outcomes for their clients,” Synnex Australia product director Deniz Kilicci added.
“Partners must under the needs of the customer, while leveraging a distribution partner such as Synnex to fill the resource gaps in their business.”
Partners today must engage through business and commercial discussions with customers, with organisations actively seeking consultancy capabilities.
“We talk to our customers to understand what this means to them and to be part of the journey to help them get to where their business needs to be,” JB Hi-Fi Solutions general manager of Telstra business and enterprise Tony Nikolovski said.
“By doing this early with our customers we have clarity around what we need to deliver. But we need to make sure we partner with relevant vendors to be able to support our customers on their journey.”
As a result, vendor selection becomes paramount for partners embarking on digital transformation strategies, with the channel weighing up technology prowess against strong enablement and support.
“We look at the vendor’s offerings in terms of products, value, channel alignment, programs and support capabilities,” Kilicci added. “We also look at vendor’s strategy and direction to ensure there is alignment with our own.
“During the last 12 months, we have on-boarded various cloud vendors and created a very strong cloud portfolio. The priority in the coming year is to consolidate and create marketable cloud solutions.
“We will also be looking at recruiting ISVs [independent software vendors] with strategic alignment that can complement the proposed solutions in our pipeline.”