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The Importance of ‘Dots’

Posted by Steven Kelley on Oct 31, 2018 12:00:00 PM
Steven Kelley
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In 2005, in his commencement address to Stanford University’s graduating class, Steve Jobs gave his famous “connecting the dots” speech. The premise of his speech was that life’s ‘dots’ cannot be connected looking forward, only by looking backward. So, what was Jobs talking about? 

He was referring to the implications of life’s unplanned events, and that connecting them to derive their true meaning or determine destiny in the moment, is erroneous. Only in retrospect are life’s events ‘connectable’. Citing the tumultuous events of his own life as example, Jobs indicated that only years later was he able to understand the implications of all that happened and ‘connect his dots’1.

Knowledge-Dots Theory2Screen Shot 2018-10-31 at 11.31.42 AM

Arguably more important and certainly less visible are the internal dots; those lessons learned that lay the foundation for deeper levels of knowledge across a broader plane of ‘things’ –business and interpersonal- and the implications of their interconnectivity. These also are the ‘dots’ Jobs talked about; those experiences that not only serve as catalysts for future destiny, but aggregate as knowledge and perspective. The ability to apply the dots of one’s past with current technical knowledge and a solutions-oriented perspective creates high-value relevance in helping businesses understand the strategic value and significance of digital transformation.

Using Your Dots to Connect Their Dots

The evolution of information systems has complicated the business landscape. Its complexity, while serving as a major challenge for business leaders, represents a tremendous opportunity for technology B2B sales teams. However, not all sales personnel are created equal. In a recent Gartner study on the growing complexities of the information-focused B2B sales environment, two types of sales consultants were identified, the Information Authority and the Information Connector. The Authority focuses on product knowledge while the Connector acts as an information broker, effectively communicating the issues associated with complex purchases in advance and removing the obstacles that could undermine the purchase progress.

According to Gartner, Connectors not only hold the most value, they are the most successful. Their research found that the “information connector” increases the likelihood of purchase ease by 40 percent, while the “information authority” increases it by only 10 percent. Not only do connectors make it easier for customers to complete a purchase; they also increase likelihood of buyers making a larger, complex and low-regret purchase by 90 percent.  

Next generation technology is changing the fundamentals of how people and businesses live and breathe; and doing it on a global scale. Compounding the scope of these changes is the rate at which technology continues to evolve; creating more change. For most, the ability to stay relevant and digest all of it, presents a significant challenge. Those with the ability to comprehend the tactical elements of the digital transformation (i.e., technology), along with its strategic advantages (systems), hold high-value roles in their abilities to “make sense of it all” among the greater population. In highly complex environments where having the right information represents billions of dollars in revenue, opportunity cost, productivity and ultimately survival, businesses leaders and IT decision-makers must have a clear understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of their investment. The ability to inform, recommend and facilitate decisions clearly and unambiguously is invaluable and serves as an opportunity for your dots to help connect their dots.

Tech Data’s ‘dots’ are its team of solutions consultants, vendors and channel partners pedigreed in the spectrum of technology; their expertise has made Tech Data among the largest technology distributors globally. At number 83 on the Fortune 500, the breadth and depth of our end-to-end portfolio provides us with the knowledge and experience to recommend the right solution at the right time and at the right cost. By connecting the world with the power of technology, we help customers understand their technology options so they can decide on the proper solution for their businesses. To find out how we can help you, visit us online at techdata.com.

About the Author

Steven Kelley is a senior marketing specialist for Tech Data in Tempe, Arizona. In his role, Steve manages the company’s Authority blog site and its partner newsletter, Power of Partnership. Prior to joining Tech Data, Steve managed the marketing, communication and PR duties for a range of businesses in the aviation, defense, energy, hi-tech, and healthcare industries.


[1] Jobs cited getting fired from Apple as his inspiration for NeXT and Pixar. When Apple later purchased NeXT, Jobs returned as Apple’s CEO.

[2] Knowledge (of dots) = Learning x (experience+insight÷awareness)2

Tags: Next-Generation Technology, Business Insights, The Importance of Dots, Connect the Dots, Knowledge-Dots Theory, Information Connectors