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An Interview with Meredith Whalen, Part 3: A Case for Use Cases – Seizing Opportunities

Posted by Christian Homme on May 16, 2019 5:41:28 PM

At Tech Data’s Partner Summit 2018, Meredith Whalen, IDC’s Chief Research Officer delivered a keynote presentation on use cases and why they are valuable tools for effective sales. In our final segment of this three-part series, Meredith discusses the opportunity-rich environment of artificial intelligence (AI); the need for a multi-channel strategy; and, the importance of key performance indicators (KPIs).

How can companies find ways to zero in on opportunities that are best for them?

Start by looking at the technologies with which your organization is leading. Filter through the IDC use cases to see which ones heavily employ your technology solution. These will be your ripest opportunities. But keep in mind, you’ll likely not have all the components needed to deliver the use case on your own. This is where the ecosystem comes in to play. You’ll want to establish ecosystem partners to bring to market a complete solution.

Why does AI present such a rich and robust opportunity, and how are some companies utilizing it to increase their marketing effectiveness?

Right now, AI is a broad term. Generally speaking, it’s the spectrum of intelligent automation. It’s touching on so many industries, from retail to banking. Retailers use it to get smarter about their customers, while healthcare organizations use it to learn more about their patients’ conditions and needs.

AI is powerful because it’s enabling organizations to gain intelligence from their engagements with customers, business partners and employees. We’re moving into a data economy, one in which you’re going to succeed based on what you do with the data you generate. If you can turn your data into an insight or action, and apply it to the right aspect of your business, you have an advantage. That’s why building a digital platform with an intelligent core is critical. A number of companies are still in an outdated architecture stack. They’re not thinking about the incoming swirl of data from their customers, employees or partners. As such, they’re missing significant opportunities to market, engage and lead.

Why is it essential for customers to have a strong web presence and multi-channel strategy?

Within the channel, much of the evaluation of digital suppliers occurs online, without your involvement. Suppliers are out there searching on a topic, and they’re being educated about it. You want to be part of that conversation. You want them to see you have something to say or that you have advice. That said, it’s also important to utilize traditional channels, because people still want in-person engagement. Even in retail, it’s not going to become strictly online or offline engagement. It’s a combination of online and in-person shopping. It’s important to apply that same philosophy across other industries and verticals.

We’re moving into a data economy, one in which you’re going to succeed based on what you do with the data you generate. What’s the most effective way to demonstrate success with digital KPIs?

What I’ve been noticing over the past year is that a number of digital leaders have been expressing frustration. They’ve been losing budget or they’re not getting more funds for the future. I think it’s because they’re not effectively communicating how and why digital is inherently good for their business. DBS Bank in Singapore provides a great example of how to do this well. Their CFO developed a series of metrics in which he demonstrated that digital customers are better for their return on assets (ROA) than traditional customers. They’re less expensive to acquire, less expensive to service and they’re growing faster as a group. Digital leaders need to look to examples like these and illustrate how digital transformation is good for their business. The best way to begin is to set up KPIs that reflect what your new business is going to accomplish. The new digital business you’re building needs to:

  • Innovate quickly
  • Be customer centric
  • Capitalize on information
  • Run operations efficiently and with a flexible workforce

Those are the tenants of digitally transforming. We at IDC have developed KPIs that align with each of those tenants, so organizations can demonstrate to their board of directors and investors they’re on the right path.

You’re saying it’s not enough to only know your business, but you also need to have a vision of what your business is going to be in the future?

That’s the guidance we’ve been giving CIOs. You have to be an active partner at the table and re-think digital transformation. Other executives may be able to think about the supply chain or customer transformation. You’re there to think about and advocate for technology, and how, ultimately, it can transform the business.

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, AI, Partner Summit, Meredith Whalen