June 4, 2018
By Gary Levy, Vice President of Americas Channel Sales, Avaya
Worldwide spending on digital transformation technologies – hardware, software, and services – hit $1.3 trillion in 2017, according to IDC, and is expected to almost double by 2021, surpassing $2.1 trillion.
With digitization coming to every industry and line of business, there’s a lot of money on the table for channel partners. But big, brand-name companies aren’t the only ones in danger of being disrupted and left behind. Technology partners are as well. Your customers are relying on their trusted partners to help bring their business into the future, and not everyone is going to be successful.
If you’re looking to grow your company by providing customers with the right solutions for today’s business world, here are five steps that should take to ensure a successful digital transformation:
1. Understand your customer’s problem: Today’s customers expect technology integrators to have a much better knowledge of their industries. If you sell to hospitals, you need to understand the experience they’re trying to deliver to their patients and care team, and what HIPAA requires. If your client’s a hotel, you need to know what kind of guest experiences they’re looking to create.
That’s why you need to interact with business leaders. It’s no longer enough to work with IT. Go a step further. Just like you, line of business executives are under pressure from new disruptors in the marketplace. Their jobs are on the line, and they have the budget if you have the right solution.
2. Customize and personalize the experience: The days of leading with products are over. Going in horizontally and just throwing a new technology over the fence, then letting your customer figure out how it works best for their business is a good way to be displaced. Instead, you must start with the customer experience that your client is looking to deliver, and work back toward the technology. Only when you understand your customer’s business and unique journey can you propose a solution to transform their business.
3. Provide a bridge to the future, and leave no one behind: It’s important to remember that the transition to a digital world is an evolution, not a revolution. Therefore, your job as a technology integrator is to bridge the past into the future. Businesses aren’t looking to throw out investments and start completely anew. A bank, for instance, still needs to serve customers who visit their branch, and businesses still need to engage customers on the phone. Everything can’t be digital. Not yet.
Your customers also don’t want to buy more expensive hardware. They want to start consuming services in the public cloud because it gives them agility and elasticity where they can quickly scale things up and down. For this reason, most of your clients will end up with a hybrid architecture.
4. Detach yourself from proprietary solutions: Just as you need to detach your customers from hardware dependency, you need to rid their universe of …
… proprietary solutions.
We’re now living in an era of “co-opetition,” where we need various competing technologies to work together to create the right outcome. And this can only be delivered with open architecture. There’s no single vendor that can help businesses through a successful digital transformation with only their technology; therefore, it’s now your job to attach all this different technology together – on an open, non-proprietary communication platform – to deliver the business solutions and overall experience that your customers are looking to create.
5. Build yourself a good foundation: There’s a lot of new technology on the market — IoT, blockchain, AI machine learning, natural-language processing, speech analytics, the list goes on. As a trusted partner, you don’t necessarily have to become a specialist in all these areas, but you do need a solid foundation.
Remember: All these new innovations must work together. IoT sensors and big-data analytics platforms simply aren’t that useful without an automated workflow that can notify the right people in real time, using the right modality of communication. For example, say an IoT sensor recognizes that a patient’s blood pressure is running high. What good is the data if the patient or health-care provider is not notified immediately? Same goes with a call center. If a business has personal data on a caller, what good is this information if it’s not leveraged in real time to assist agents, provide better customer service and resolve calls faster?
The real-time dissemination of information is foundational to digital transformation. For this reason, it’s imperative that your business become engaged with any strategic technology initiative that your customers are undertaking. Because whether your target market is insurance, financial, health or any other vertical, you can be sure they are having these conversations. The question is, are they having them with you, or a competitor?
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