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Building a Future Through Use Cases, Tech Data Sits Down with IDC’s Meredith Whalen

Posted by Christian Homme on Feb 28, 2019 5:39:25 PM

During Partner Summit 2018, Tech Data had the opportunity to sit down with Meredith Whalen, IDC’s Chief Research Officer. As one of the show’s keynote speakers, Meredith was there to discuss how use cases offer an effective strategy for companies at the forefront of digital transformation. The opportunity to speak to her personally, one-on-one, was a great opportunity and provided us with some invaluable insights; we wanted to share them with you here on Authority.

Below is part one of our multi-part conversation. More of our discussion with Meredith will be forthcoming in additional blogs. Look for them in the coming weeks ahead.

What are Use Cases?

Broadly defined, a business use case is a discretely funded project that supports the goals of a particular program and, for our intents and purposes, must include technology. In organizational planning, use cases are subsets of programs; programs are subsets of strategic priorities; and priorities support the business mission for an organization. Use cases serve as cornerstones of the business goal setting and planning process.

We've identified more than 650 specific, actionable use cases for 17 different industries. There are three more industries we're looking at next – those being transportation, capital markets and media. Part of defining these 650 use cases is developing a standard taxonomy, so that we're speaking a commonly shared language with clients and can quickly get down to business.

I should note the use cases we've defined are entirely in the digital transformation space. There are thousands of use cases out there, but what we chose to do is home in on those that are focused on digital transformation. We realized as a supplier community, the greatest opportunity is going to surround digital transformations, so that's where we at IDC narrowed our scope.

Can use cases act as guidelines for anyone in a particular industry?

Absolutely. We found the shared top priorities for companies in these industries and we distilled them for their supplier markets. We also talked to customers so that we can direct companies toward the use cases they’ll find most valuable.

For each use case, we follow a process. We start by creating a definition for exactly what the use case is and what it entails. We then identify the technologies included in the use case and calculate how much money will be expended on technology and services. Our industry analysts conduct the research to support the use cases, assess which technologies are being analyzed and identify the key vendors.

What are the guardrails for applying use cases?  Does IDC have a thought process for deployment that vendors and retailers should consider?

We need to think of use cases in terms of how they fit into a roadmap. We don't want customers to operate from a laundry list of projects. Ultimately, use cases should follow a logical thought process in terms of the order they’re implemented. That process might involve deploying “easy win” use cases at first to gain trust with business colleagues or starting with use cases that lay the foundation for more complex projects.

For instance, in a retailer’s effort to gain a holistic view of its inventory, it may need to re-platform its systems to the cloud. The next use case may be to move inventory based on trends, weather or stock outs. This would require an IoT-based use case. The ultimate use may be a blue-sky scenario – for example printing inventory on demand at the retail outlet. That’s down the line in what we call horizon three. While it’s not yet feasible to reach horizon three in mass-scale, what’s feasible, right now, is to imagine the possibilities.

About the Author
Christian Homme is a Sr. Copywriter for Tech Data. In his role he creates and reviews content for Tech Data, their partners and their resellers. Prior to joining this position he has created content for a variety of industries including major retailers, government accounts and food-service companies.

Tags: digital transformation, IDC, use case, partner summit, Meredith Whalen

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