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In our modern society data is king. According to global tech firm IBM, we’re creating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every single day, from every single interaction that we have with technology. To put it into context, this means that every time a web page is viewed, a smart fridge is opened, a sensor detects rain or a multitude of other ‘everyday’ activities is performed, data is created. This exponential growth in the industry of data means that it’s worth a small fortune, which is great news for the channel – all of that data needs to be stored and get from A to B after all.

Now consider this value in the context of digital transformation (DX), where businesses are moving to virtual platforms, embracing the Internet of Things and employing the best of technology in order to ‘stay in the game’. As it’s now commonly accepted that digitalisation is ‘table stakes’ for business success, opportunities will exist here for some time. Research agency IDC recently predicted that the global annual spend on DX projects will increase from $1.2 trillion this year (that’s a smidge over £930 billion at today’s exchange rate) to $2 trillion by 2020. That’s a lot of technology being adopted that’ll require connectivity to make the best of it.

Position yourself for success

But what proportion of this opportunity is open to the channel? The truth is that it depends on how you position yourself in a changing market. It’s no longer possible to remain solely a “connectivity provider” – instead you’ll need to adapt and embrace the layer on top of this, becoming a digital transformation enabler instead. This doesn’t necessarily mean making wholesale changes to the fundamentals of what your business does – it’s more about how you market your services and position yourself for success. Ultimately you can still offer the same products and services, but it’s crucial to make it clear just how the technologies you promote – be they voice or data connectivity – can help your business customers (both existing and prospective) achieve their transformation goals.

Perhaps the biggest change that businesses have been making in order to be successful with DX is that of viewing the IT function as a revenue-generator rather than a cost. This is a wholesale turnaround from the business models of yesteryear, but that’s kind of the point. The IT function is no longer kept in a dark back room, but is taking centre stage. Business across the world is grounded in hardware, software and applications; on-premise or in the cloud – it is the fourth industrial age. Technology and digital services are relied upon to drive new business models and growth, so it’s the performance and reliability of a business’s digital services and infrastructure that are paramount to success and survival now. With this in mind, it’s crucial to partner with a wholesale supplier who can not only provide robust and reliable connectivity services but who truly understands the value of driving digital transformation and supports you to be successful in this market.

More than just cloud

Returning to that IDC report, it says that “the fastest growth will come from retail, healthcare providers, insurance and banking”, while the transportation industry will devote nearly half of its spending to connectivity services. For those looking to make the most of the opportunities in DX, these industry verticals are good places to start. Unsurprisingly the report also suggests that cloud infrastructure will see the greatest growth by 2020, with a compound annual growth rate of 29.4%. Adoption of cloud-based or hosted services is great from a business continuity / disaster recovery perspective and it reduces the burden on CAPEX expenditure, moving instead to an OPEX model. It’s not just cloud that can do this though, so please don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you need to make a wholesale move to off-prem to be successful with DX. Other avenues to explore include those that enable companies to link their systems to share data – APIs. Remember that DX is about enabling companies to create new business value more quickly, easily and cheaply which is exactly what APIs achieve. If you’ve created such assets to make running your own business easier, don’t be afraid of monetising them or advising your own customers to do the same.

Have your say!

What are you doing to position yourself for success with DX? Do you think there’s value to be had, or is it all just marketing spin? We’re interested to know your thoughts so please leave us a comment below.

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