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De-Hyping Digital Transformation

no hype

Lorna GareyI recently had a briefing with an interesting new supplier. The phone conversation started like this:

Lorna: Tell me something about your technology.

Them: We break the laws of physics when it comes to data.

Oh really? How many of them? Is there any danger that your acts against nature might open a black hole that sucks up all the matter in the universe?

Of course, I didn’t say that. But my B.S. sensors went off loudly enough that it took the speaker some time to regain my trust. In the end, it was a productive conversation, but he came darn close to completely wasting the opportunity. And then I got to wondering: Is a fear of tripping B.S. sensors holding partners back from discussing the concept of digital transformation with customers?

Customer: We have a little extra in the IT budget this quarter. What do you recommend?

Partner: How about digital transformation?

The thing is, the alternative — letting them think that the same old, same old is still OK — isn’t helpful to the customer or your own business.

At Channel Partners Evolution next week, we’re looking to take the squishiness out of talking about digital services. Let’s look at some different ways to have that conversation.

For a small retail customer, you could talk about purchasing a cloud-connected point-of-sale system. Timetric says there will be 38 million mobile PoS devices in use by 2017. They’re ideal for small and midsize retailers because they offer advanced capabilities, like employee scheduling, inventory tracking, commission calculators and more, all in the cloud and pay-as-you-go. For a small coffee shop, point out the success of the Starbucks app, which allows for mobile payments and automatically rewards repeat customers. The app processes 7 million transactions a week, has over 12 million active users in North America and delivered $1.9 billion in revenue in Q1 2016. A coffee chain that’s still using paper loyalty punch cards and making its customers swipe a Visa card or dig for cash is at a disadvantage — 70 percent of Millennials made purchases with a mobile app in 2015, according to a Verizon study. You could help a customer embed Android Pay in a custom app (check out Stripe or Zooz) or just get them set up to accept Apple or Android Pay.

Or think about helping a health care customer provide biometric monitoring devices to patients. AT&T provides a SaaS-based remote patient monitoring bundle that uses the cloud to connect Bluetooth-enabled sensors to a caregivers’ network. There are possibilities for newborns at risk of SIDS or dementia patients prone to wander off.

Most customers could do better with physical security by using video-surveillance-as-a-service systems that requires only cameras and a dumb bridge appliance on-site. You provision connectivity to the provider and help the customer select the right monthly subscription plan based on number of cameras, retention period, encryption and the ability to log into a browser and see what’s going on in the business.

I could go on. The point is, all of these examples use digital technology, and all could be transformative for your customer and their customers.

If you see me at the show, stop by and talk about how to start this conversation. Just don’t mention physics.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know, either in comments or directly.

Follow editor-in-chief @LornaGarey on Twitter.


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