Continue digital push and focus on agility to grow after pandemic.

January 31, 2022

5 Min Read
Where to go?
Ideally, transforming your business would be as easy as summoning an Uber to take you to where you want to go. But getting to your business destination depends more on the kind of trust you place in calculating your best route, based on how things are going for others. For most service business owners, there are just a handful of potential destinations in play. First and foremost, you want to create “enterprise value" by building a valuable company, irrespective of what destination you have chosen. Running your business as if you want to sell it is rarely the best option because that invites short-term decision making rather than building for the long term. How, then, do you create enterprise value? You need to take your top-line revenue and categorize it by type; a typical category scheme might be “resale,” “professional services,” and “recurring revenue.” Then, you need to allocate your costs effectively across these lines of business.Shutterstock

By Diego Tedesco

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Diego Tedesco

There’s nothing like a deadline to focus the mind. If the last couple of years have shown us anything, it’s what can be achieved if something needs doing. From hybrid working to new ecommerce solutions, businesses have been forced to become more agile to survive and stabilise under challenging conditions.

As a result, one of the few positives to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic was an acceleration in business decision making. Organisations made more than three years of digital progress within a matter of months, according to our study with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

In fact, 62% of companies felt they made more efficient decisions during the crisis, according to Bain. This helped many organisations recover from the pandemic.

The channel has been instrumental in providing the connectivity necessary for businesses to respond to pressure and come through the pandemic. But with business leaders looking toward the rebound and growth, the question is whether the channel can continue to respond to the pace of change and help customers grasp new and exciting opportunities.

Adapting to the Pace of Change

It’s clear that the market is more fluid and unpredictable than it was before the crisis.

What’s promising is that end-customers are responding with enthusiasm toward digital technology, recognising it’s essential to dealing with – and capitalising on – this fluidity. Some 94% believe that investment in new digital services will help their businesses bounce back from the pandemic, according to our research with Censuswide into senior IT managers.

In fact, according to CEBR’s figures, COVID19-driven digital change could add £236bn to UK GDP over the next two decades.

That means that there’s a huge opportunity for channel partners to get closer to end-customers and help them invest in the right services. But that’s easier said than done.

The problem is that many organisations don’t feel they’re agile enough to respond to changing conditions. Some 57% of the IT professionals we spoke to said they don’t believe their businesses were able to flex their tools and infrastructure and make swift decisions.

In addition, 44% said they were locked into restrictive contracts and paying for services they didn’t need.

What’s more, for all the digital progress that’s been made over the last couple of years, many companies are still using legacy infrastructure and manual processes.

The connectivity channel must therefore pull together to find new ways to help organisations act quickly and effectively, so they can continue to make bold decisions.

Shifting to More Strategic Role

To work towards a more flexible future, the connectivity channel must continue to encourage investment in new technology and solutions.

To do this, the right infrastructure needs to be in place to allow businesses to respond to the next challenge, whatever that might be.

This will entail a range of solutions. For example, in the event of another lockdown, customers would ideally have the flexibility to dial down the bandwidth of access connections to local sites — and dial up the speed of high-capacity connections between sites, or to data centres, to support remote working applications.

In addition to developing these tools, we must also ensure businesses can act with confidence. Change can be daunting. Organisations have undergone 18 months of disruption. And while many are investing in digital transformation, they now operate in a more unpredictable environment.

The channel has an opportunity to become a more strategic partner and help businesses take those tentative first steps.

We found that nearly four in 10 IT professionals (39%) would like more advice on the best digital services for their business.

This is understandable. As technology advances, so does the complexity of implementing it effectively. After all, cutting-edge technologies are only as effective as the connectivity that underpins them. Therefore, it’s imperative that customers are equipped with solutions that are fit for purpose today and in the future: be that broadband, ethernet or optical high-capacity services.

It’s here that the channel can add real value. As specialists in IT solutions, channel partners can work with end-customers not just to address current challenges, but to actively anticipate problems that may lie ahead and prepare organisations for the unknown.

Grasping the Opportunity

Now is not the moment to slam on the brakes and revert to the pre-pandemic status quo.

The channel has an opportunity to support a growing appetite for digital progress by empowering businesses to make bolder decisions.

There is a lot to play for, and organisations will need to act quickly if they want to take advantage of that £236bn opportunity: Forbes predict that over 50% of the Fortune 500 won’t exist over the next decade.

But, with the right solutions, support and advice, businesses can use the progress they have made over the pandemic as a slingshot to even greater success.

Diego Tedesco is director of wholesale fixed at Virgin Media O2 Business, where he leads the day-to-day operation of the wholesale business. He previously served as wholesale fixed commercial and marketing director and has been a member of the wholesale fixed leadership team for almost nine years across various roles in the finance, strategy and commercial teams. You may follow him on LinkedIn or @vmbusiness on Twitter.

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