As leaders, we have an obligation to continually enhance our customer value proposition through digitization. Equally important is the obligation to invest in our colleagues, allowing them to capitalize on their experience while enhancing their skills and building their competency and confidence to deliver higher-value solutions that meet future expectations.
Equal opportunity to re-imagine what is possible
I am privileged to work for an organization that is 1) transforming internal processes with automation 2) enhancing the customer experience through digital platforms and 3) extending digital capabilities to our customers by way of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to perpetuate the evolution throughout the ecosystem.
This opportunity is exciting because automated workflows aren’t just limited to the large corporations any longer. With the invent of cloud, simplified programming languages and low-cost API frameworks, everyone has an opportunity to redefine and re-imagine what is possible.
Creating new value opportunities using automation
If you don’t challenge the status quo and transform, your valuation diminishes over time – or worst yet, you become completely irrelevant. At Tech Data, we’ve built a 44-year legacy on being a world-class distributor, however, we’ve boldly pivoted and are quickly evolving to a solutions aggregator. For example, we’ve created an automated quote-to-order process that is flexible enough to align with financial treatment of assets and customer cash flow while accommodating the diversity of technology offers and offer structures.
It used to take an immense amount of time and human capital to deliver this value proposition. Now, using digitization, we’re delivering this value to our customers through an integrated, automated, ecosystem of providers to provide the same solution in seconds/ minutes. This frees up our human capital so they can be redeployed – from low-value, repetitive tasks, to higher-value, customer-centric activities – creating new revenue opportunities and more value throughout the channel.
Leverage digitization to deliver a complete solution
In our digital world, the same business expansion principles apply. Do you adapt organically, through acquisition or by way of partnership? You don’t need to be the complete solution, but you need to be positioned to deliver a complete solution to your customer.
At Tech Data, our philosophy is to build digital capabilities that align to our core competencies and partner with ecosystem players that deliver a best-in-class solution that complements our strategy. One such example is our 1Source portal, a joint investment between Tech Data and Cisco. The self-service portal uses automation to give our partners the ability to manage their entire quote to order process electronically through single pane of glass.
Partners gain operational autonomy and order complexity and transactions costs are reduced. 1Source allows our partners to scale as they grow, improve Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and shorten quote to cash time. 1Source bends the curve by using digitization to deliver more value at a lower cost.
Customers do know what’s best
Spend time with your customer and you’ll be amazed at how you can connect the dots to create new possibilities. An important distinction – spending time doesn’t mean a social call, but rather seeing the world from their eyes. Shadow, interview, observe, question, listen and seek to understand the world from their vantage point. You’ll uncover new ways your company can add value by using automation to solve real business problems, create more value and improve operational/transactional efficiency.
Look no further than your customers’ demands, needs, challenges and opportunities. Most of the risk-averse prolong adopting automation until reality hits their financial earnings (which is always too late). Capital constraints are always top of mind, however, the beauty of digitization is that the capital investment is modest. You need to look no further than your team to understand how digitization can help your company solve customer needs and add more value at less cost to bend the curve.
Where do you fall?
The question now becomes, where do you fall in the magic quadrant of “seeing the light and taking action”? If you don’t find yourself in the upper right-hand quadrant all is not lost, but you have to act now or you’ll become obsolete and face being replaced companies who unlock innovative solutions with digitization.
I’ll leave you with a final thought. Create a culture that embraces change, inspires your colleagues to believe in the vision and connects them personally to future state. Spend the time coaching, scrimmaging and training them. The possibilities are immense for us at Tech Data. There is, absolutely, first-mover advantage in this world of digitization. So challenge the status quo and leave your mark!
About the Author
Nicko Roussos is the Director of Product Marketing for Cisco Enterprise Solutions at Tech Data. He’s recognized as a digital transformation enthusiast. Nicko is extremely passionate about automating operational and transactional workflows and he’s privileged to lead over 200 individuals who are committed to driving excellence through operational capability.