Defining digital transformation in the channel

Defining digital transformation in the channel

Digital is an ambitious and complex term to interpret - but what are the implications within the context of the Australian channel?

Murray Sargant (Informatica); Brad Starr (Informatica); Simon Barlow (Brennan IT); James Henderson (ARN); Dean Robertson (Mexia); Robert Simione (Meridian IT); Chris Farrow (Tech Data); Richard Mitton (AtlasPlato); David Nicol (Citrix); Ed Phillips (Dimension Data); Brent Butchard (Hewlett Packard Enterprise Software) and Jamie Warner (eNerds)

Murray Sargant (Informatica); Brad Starr (Informatica); Simon Barlow (Brennan IT); James Henderson (ARN); Dean Robertson (Mexia); Robert Simione (Meridian IT); Chris Farrow (Tech Data); Richard Mitton (AtlasPlato); David Nicol (Citrix); Ed Phillips (Dimension Data); Brent Butchard (Hewlett Packard Enterprise Software) and Jamie Warner (eNerds)

“We’ve created industry specific groups to be more literate around verticals such as block chain. We have also embarked on a huge journey internally to re-skill and retrain people to maintain that relevance.”

Within this new digital environment, businesses across the world are becoming blocked in the quest to create flexible and cost-effective systems, systems that can deliver changes rapidly and dynamically.

In addition, research shows that while 60 per cent of organisations believe their process of digital transformation is “well advanced” or “in progress,” only seven per cent believe it to be complete.

From a partner perspective, 90 per cent of organisations claim to have a digital strategy in place, but once again, have failed to advance past preliminary stages of development.

“The mistake is, because digital is in the term, IT think that it’s their job to solve,” Mexia CEO Dean Robertson said. “It’s not just IT, IT is just part of an overall solution. There’s only three things that any business wants to achieve, increase revenue, decrease costs and decrease risk.

“As a consultancy business, our job is to ensure that we are not there to create digital transformation, but to articulate what it means for our customer.

"Digital transformation starts with the CEO and if they aren’t on board, it must exist in small slices to demonstrate the value back to the CEO. It has to be an organisational shift.”

Dean Robertson (Mexia)
Dean Robertson (Mexia)

With digital transformation sitting at the top of the agenda across almost every industry sector, the disparity between intention and execution subsequently creates new opportunities for the channel across a range of verticals.

“If we’re going to deliver digital transformation across the enterprise, it can’t be an all-in-one approach,” Informatica solution director Brad Starr added.

“To ensure that a CEO sponsors this is to ensure that they are aware this can’t be done through a single approach.”

With the onus now on senior executives to adopt a leadership role in creating a business ecosystem to drive a digital platform strategy, partners must remain aware of the subtle but substantial differences in approach and outcomes.

“Sometimes it’s about doing things differently and sometimes it’s about doing different things,” Farrow added. “If you’re doing something that is fundamentally different rather than something that you’re already doing differently, if you reach too early for efficiency then you’re probably going to kill it.

“There’s a reflex when it comes to IT and there’s a reflex about efficiency that can be problematic. You need a very inspired CIO who simultaneously thinks about innovation and information.”

As many business leaders begin to take deliberate steps towards creating a digital world — as initiatives and pilots become mainstream — the need for trusted advisors, consultants and strategists heightens.

Consequently, the channel can capitalise on the immaturity and complexity of the digital transition, assisting organisations currently at a transformation crossroads.

Robert Simione (Meridian IT) and Simon Barlow (Brennan IT)
Robert Simione (Meridian IT) and Simon Barlow (Brennan IT)

“As a partner, how do you qualify a customer that is ready for digital transformation before you invest in engaging?” Nicol asked.

“There’s two elements to the transformation for the channel to consider. Firstly, what is the infrastructure role required to enable such transformation?

“It’s an agile platform from which you can deploy new services because being agile is a key element to transforming. Then once you can deploy new services and you have data, do you have the right capabilities within the business to interpret that? And what role does the channel play?”

According to Nicol, partners can play a role in the infrastructure piece through building an agile platform that is secure and enables the delivery of new applications quickly on any device.

But then, what methods are in place to interpret, capture and manipulate data to make decisions?

“Innovation is also about experimenting and learning,” Robertson added. “It’s not about deploying million dollar two year programs.

It’s about how do we engage and engage quickly so we don’t have to embark on six month sales cycles for a period of work.

“But at the same time, we like to play where we can win so in this world, we ask our customers questions. If they have a senior executive team engaged in digital transformation and we feel like the company is ready then we will go in with both feet.”

This roundtable was sponsored by Citrix and Tech Data. Photos by Maria Stefina.

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