[caption id="attachment_135" align="alignleft" width="128"] Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing
Although the concept of digital transformation (aka digitisation, digitalisation or DX for short) has been around since as early as 2010, it’s really taken off in the last year, with Google searches for the term reaching a peak in November
. It’s more than just a buzzword though; looking beyond the hype you can see the trend of businesses of all sizes “investing in new technology and business models with a specific focus on customer experience”. With this focus on providing the best possible customer experience (who, let’s be honest, vote with their feet) it’s obvious that businesses of all sizes must embrace DX in order to remain competitive. The good news is that, as a communications reseller, you’re in a great position to capitalise on the opportunities that businesses going through their DX journey bring because, quite simply, without connectivity DX is dead.
What do we mean by this? First, let’s take a step back and look at what DX attempts to do for a business:
Improve customer experience
Customer experience (CX) is at the heart of digital transformation. We live in an age where the customer expects to be able to access anything, at any time, from anywhere - and if their chosen provider is unable to fulfil all of these ‘obligations’, they’ll simply move on to someone else who can. This doesn’t only relate to the 24/7 online shopping experience from an individual consumer perspective, but to everything in life from interactions with utilities or connectivity providers (how much energy / data am I using, what am I spending, what can I do to use / spend less?) to interactions with healthcare organisations. From the perspective of the business, it’s about how quickly a service can be provided to a customer.
Preserve internal resources, reduce time to market and overcome gaps in capability
Another clear aim of DX is efficiency as a driver of improvements in customer experience. We’re not just talking about the implementation of technology driven systems and processes to speed things up and reduce human error here (i.e. the implementation of artificial intelligence services to assist customers in a contact centre environment), but also the more simple operational requirement of allowing teams within organisations to move out of their silos and work together, regardless of their location.
The commonality across both of these aims is data and its transport, storage and security. As a side issue, it’s also about promoting collaboration and a move away from a traditional office-based environment. This means that every business’s digital transformation is driven by the ‘nuts and bolts’ of communication, which includes every form of connectivity imaginable (subject to the individual needs and aims of the business in question) including cloud-based services, IP VPNs, wireless Ethernet, business-grade broadband, hosting and telephony including VoIP. To make it clearer, here’s how individual products or services play an integral part in digital transformation (note - the list is not exhaustive):
It’s not uncommon for cloud services to form the basis of a digital transformation programme - our experience of this has centred around business customers putting everything in the cloud (i.e. on someone else’s server), principally for ease and speed of access as well as to improve customer service. This is because, by renting infrastructure instead of building it, adopters can eliminate “barriers to entry and [enable] technology adoption and innovation to move at lightning speed”; they can, in effect, be riskier in their approach, respond quickly to changing market conditions while also managing capital expenditure.
Unless it’s in the business of providing hosting, it’s unlikely that a company transforming their business will be able to serve all of its own data; a problem that is directly proportional to the company’s size. Instead, it’ll need to hand over its data to machinery owned and maintained by a third party. The opportunity for the reseller is to source appropriate hosting solutions either as a stand-alone element in an existing DX programme, or as part of a wider overarching solution.
With information access in the business environment required quickly and securely, we’re seeing increasingly complex IP VPN projects being introduced to us, including those connecting to cloud service providers such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. Aside from providing a dedicated network and removing barriers created by contention, IP VPNs also enable employees to work from anywhere and at any time - meaning that a business can operate 24/7 to meet the demands of the 24/7 customer.
It’s not just about access to data connectivity though, voice services are equally as important in the realm of digital transformation. Moving from a traditional PBX system to either a SIP trunk (aka SIP for short) or full Hosted Voice solution enables businesses to deliver telephony services over an IP connection, which is often more cost-effective, flexible, scalable and perfect in a disaster recovery / business continuity situation. IP Voice services are also secure. Entanet’s own platform supports Transport Layer Security (TLS - cryptographic protocols that provide communications security over a computer network) and Secure Real-time Transport Protocol (SRTP - intended to provide encryption, message authentication and integrity), while protocols are in place to add further protection against fraudulent use of the IP voice system.
Ultimately, the key to success for the connectivity solutions provider in the digital transformation world is to quietly but confidently promote the notion that the nuts and bolts count; without a good infrastructure, a solution will quickly show itself to be unfit for purpose. We urge resellers to ensure that the connectivity to be recommended as part of a DX programme is suitable for the current and future needs of the business and it’s digital strategy. Remember, where business-grade broadband might be suitable for one, Ethernet will be a better fit for another - it’s important for channel resellers to recognise these differences and design solutions that meet the specific needs of each individual customer.
Have your say!
Do you think your business is ready to help customers with their digital transformation aims or do you need more guidance on how to spot opportunities and pitch your services? Perhaps you’re already selling your services in the context of digital transformation, in which case - how’s it going? Whatever your experience - whether you require knowledge or can share it - leave a comment for us in the box below.