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

Posted by Christian Homme on Mar 21, 2019 5:51:13 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 two of our conversation.

You use the term “horizons” when talking about use case implementation. Why? What do “horizons” signify?

Here we’re talking about horizons as they relate to timing and planning. To make it actionable, we break horizons into three distinct levels.

  • Horizon One: The next 12 months. Think “what we can do right now?” Horizon One covers use cases that can be deployed in the next year or so.
  • Horizon Two: The near future. These are the use cases an organization should be incubating in order to better understand how they’ll fit into their business.
  • Horizon Three: The next three to five years. These are the true “blue sky” opportunities in which we imagine new and exciting possibilities – such as 3D printing products and digital legislating for Government.

Why do you think companies aren’t formulating plans that’ll carry them beyond five years? Is it because technology is changing so rapidly?

Technology evolves too quickly to look beyond five years. That said, not enough organizations are looking far enough ahead in their roadmaps. Use cases become a concrete way to express an organization’s plans and ambitions. We tend to operate in three-year cycles when it comes to strategic planning. One of the greatest challenges is having the discipline to sit down and reimagine what your company or even your industry could be in the next 5-10 years. We see disrupters in every industry, but many companies focus more on executing rather than innovating.

Could it also be the pace of evolution in technology keeps companies from pushing the boundaries?

Remember who’s setting these visions. It’s usually the C Suite who, traditionally, aren’t responsible for thinking about the role of technology in the business. But shifting away from traditional thinking is a requirement for the C suite of the digital enterprise. Technology is the lifeblood of business and we all have to be very comfortable with it. We see some industries digitally transforming faster than others based on how much disruption they’re facing. For retail and media companies, it’s really a do or die situation.

They’re fighting for survival. Whereas other industries—those that are further back in the supply chain—tend to believe digital is optional. When you tell them it’s time to start breaking down their traditional operating silos and merge some of their lines of business, they shy away. They’re not feeling the pressure yet, when in reality the time for such transformation is now.

We compiled a list of all digital disruptors to show executives industry transformation is already taking place in their world. These digital disruptors demonstrate that no industry is immune from disruptions. It’s only a matter of time.

 In essence, the pace of change and the level of disruption within technology make use cases a valuable tool for staying competitive as a tech supplier. Identifying an appropriate use case often serves as the first stepping stone for companies who are looking to sell more effectively. Therefore, put use cases to use. They offer you a path for moving confidently into the future.

 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