Time the Channel Owned its Digital Transformation

In early 2020 Digital Transformation was in danger of being perceived as just another buzzword, with many talking about it, but few having a clear idea of how to put it into practice. The pandemic has changed that, putting pressure on businesses to prioritise their Digital Transformation progress, in some instances as a matter of survival, for example to enable remote working practices.

By Karl Roe, VP, Digital Transformation and Customer Success at Nuvias

The Channel has both a clear opportunity to help facilitate Digital Transformation for business, and a real requirement to implement its own transformation without delay, to maintain its competitiveness and ability to generate growth in these challenging times.

It is not always easy to practice what one preaches, and whilst many Channel businesses have proven themselves highly adept at explaining the value of Digital Transformation to their customers – they can adopt a conservative stance to taking action. Digital Transformation in the Channel can lead to more streamlined processes and improved supply chain visibility and integration. All of which combines to generate faster sales cycles, greater resilience and operational cost reductions.

Although investment in Digital Transformation has clear rewards, the challenge is in knowing where to start, transforming without disrupting. The following three simple guidelines can help rationalise your approach to Digital Transformation and take the first steps along this complex journey.

1. Start small

To start with, it is best to focus on areas that will deliver quick results and immediate value. This, in turn, will provide the confidence and reassurance to move onto bigger and more complex projects over time. An area with ample opportunity for improvement is automation. By applying automation to areas that are bandwidth-intensive, or that can be impacted heavily by human error, you can improve processes, introducing efficiencies and freeing teams to do higher-value work.

2. Optimise processes

Equally important to finding quick wins, is the need to prioritise processes over systems. True transformation requires you to identify how business operations can be improved at a fundamental level, before you introduce new systems. Your processes are the foundation upon which you build your Digital Transformation. Unless they are sound, they will undermine the solidity and performance of your business. For example, with customer services, taking a step back and reviewing the processes involved can highlight small changes that will have a big impact. Taking common requests and enabling them to be fulfilled in an automated manner, can quickly free up resources and improve customer experience. Checking that processes are running smoothly as a first step, will help you identify where automation can help deliver improvements.

3. Know your systems

Automating your systems does not necessarily entail a full rip and replace. Often the very systems that are already in place have automation features built-in, meaning it is simply a case of turning them on and configuring them to start seeing results. When opting for new systems, selecting industry-standard solutions is important to ensure interoperability. Complementing the features on offer from existing systems with those from new systems is a good way to start on the road to improvement, without having to resort to expensive and disruptive rip and replace operations.

Digital-first thinking

These simple steps can help Channel partners and their customers rationalise and optimise their Digital Transformation journey, ensuring the best opportunity for success. In addition to fine-tuning processes for competitive advantage, partners can benefit from integrating their digital supply chains, linking partners, distributors and technology vendors to deliver fast and efficient service to customers.

To enable partners to connect to digital supply chains, Nuvias has created up-to-date Cloud-based systems that seamlessly integrate with vendor supply chains. These systems make it much easier for partners to place orders, monitor delivery dates and get solutions to customers. With the greater visibility provided, partners make well-informed choices by having a clear view of what is on offer and how quickly it can be made available. This helps improve the quality of the service Channel partners can offer their customers.

Beyond supply chains

It is not just supply chains that can be digitally transformed. Value-Add Distributors can assist with enabling Digital Transformation across other services, such as marketing. As an example, Nuvias offers its partners a Partner Enablement Portal (PEP), designed to simplify and accelerate marketing processes with ready-made templates and resources as well as tailored advice to help partners get the maximum value from their marketing activities.

In early 2021 Nuvias will be introducing its Cloud Commerce Portal, offering a fully integrated supply chain system, designed to revolutionise the way we work with our channel and vendor partners. This platform will enable a fully synchronised and aligned, Digital Supply Service that covers the supply chain end-to-end, enabling the Channel to leverage the growth of the Subscription Economy in 2021.

As an industry, the Channel is right at the coalface, when it comes to Digital Transformation, yet, it is key not to overlook the importance of timely action in transforming your own business, as well as assisting others on their journey.

By focusing on the quick wins, fine-tuning processes and utilising the existing platforms and systems to the full, partners can not only start their journey but gain a real competitive advantage too.

To find out more about Nuvias’ Partner Portals and how you can help facilitate Digital Transformation please contact us here.