How Partners Can Reduce Risk for Customers Offering Digital Experiences
Today’s competitive landscape is putting increased pressure on small and midsize businesses (SMBs) to provide digital experiences and services for their clients. Doing so not only allows your SMB customers to compete with businesses of similar size, but can also level the playing field with much larger organizations. This is because the tools and technology that enable digital engagements allow SMBs to more effectively communicate with their customers, building loyalty and meeting the demands of consumerization.
If your customers do not adapt, they are going to fall behind. But shortcuts can introduce new risks. The question, then, is: How can partners advise their customers on modernizing business with less risk?
SMBs Need to Adopt New Technology to Stay Competitive
Your customers know that modernization in accordance with current consumer demands is imperative to provide service for clients and win business and market share. In fact, 82% of SMBs are already on their digital transformation journey.
Specifically, some of your customers’ key focus areas for digital investment are cloud, mobility and customer relationship management (CRM).
- Cloud: A recent survey shows that 48% of SMBs note cloud computing as an investment priority for 2019. Cloud computing has become crucial for several reasons. First, the cloud offers substantial processing power at a lower upfront investment. The cloud also enables greater productivity and accessibility for employees through the use of productivity suites. Finally, it enables businesses to scale to meet consumer demands.
- Mobility: SMBs are also investing in mobile business, making themselves more accessible to customers, employees and partner ecosystems across a range of devices. This can mean a variety of things. Many SMBs are creating mobile applications and websites that enable consumers to engage from IoT devices, with about half of SMBs offering mobile apps today. Depending on the business, this may also include providing access to data on their network. This online presence has become increasingly important, as 88% of consumers do research online before purchasing in-store.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM): SMBs are also bringing in third-party tools such as CRMs to enhance digital engagements with consumers, by collecting and organizing customer and prospect information. Thirty-eight percent of SMBs note CRMs as a spend priority. This means that your customers are increasingly leveraging and storing sensitive consumer data–and therefore must ensure its security.
Modernization Without a Plan Introduces Risk
There are many benefits to following through on modernization for SMBs, but there are also risks. Taking shortcuts with your strategy can be detrimental. Taking a thoughtful approach is essential to ensure that you aren’t opening your business up to risk–from a security/customer data perspective.
Consider, as you begin to get the benefits of cloud infrastructure and related services, how are you planning for regulatory requirements? Though many do not realize it, SMBs are at equal risk of cyberattack as larger organizations. Cybercriminals are after valuable consumer data, which SMBs store just as larger enterprises do. The difference, which cybercriminals know, is that SMBs are less equipped to defend themselves.
Furthermore, as your customers add new tools to enable digital engagements, they are adding complexity to their networks. A disorganized infrastructure can harm productivity across sites and locations, and can minimize visibility into how data is stored and used–think of distributed cloud and multi-cloud environments. This ultimately makes it harder to identify anomalous behavior and detect cyberattacks.
Finally, when adding new tools, your customers must be aware of any regulatory implications that accompany their use. For example, cloud instances or CRMs that store consumer data will have to be secured in a way that meets various standards. Otherwise, your clients risk receiving penalties from regulatory bodies.
Your customers need to ensure they have the resources in place to protect sensitive data and secure the new tools they use for digital consumer, employee and partner engagements. Additionally, they need to have the ability to maintain operations and performance should digital abilities be interrupted and meet regulatory rules.