What do we do today at Tarsus? We do two main things for two main classes of customers:
- We provide access to an outlet channel to our ICT focussed vendors/partners;
- We provide ICT goods and services, credit and supply chain services to our reseller/partner community.
These roles have been driven mainly by our vendors through the products that they produce. They determine the rules of the game and supervise almost every step in the process.
This is a product-centric business-model. The order of the two main roles above is deliberate.
We have been talking about turning the value proposition on its head for some time now, and wanting to transform into a customer-centric enterprise. We at first limited our definition of customer to the reseller, but quite quickly realised that unless we define the customer as the end-user, and learn to go to the end-user alongside (and not only behind) our reseller partners, we are going to miss the boat.
We said that in order to do this we need to become digital. (We seem unable to make up our minds whether we want to digitise or digitalise.)
What does this mean?
It does certainly mean that we ‘automate’ – that we become much more efficient both in speed and accuracy of execution, and also in cost of execution. We have to automate as much as we can – if we do not, we will in any case be left behind by some clever competitors. But that is not nearly enough. It would mean that the job that we do, the role that we fulfill, stays exactly the same.
So – to digitise (I once read a book that said when in doubt, choose the shorter one) does not mean merely automate. It goes much further. It would however be very difficult for us to digitise our business unless we first automate it. Digitisation means that we embrace a new role and address a new need. How will we know that we have digitised our business?
If we do not digitise we will not just be left behind by our clever, competent competition – we will be leap-frogged by someone else whom we do not even initially perceive as our competition.
We will know that we are digitising our business when we can say that we do the following:
- We provide business solutions to our reseller/partner and end-user community through the provision of goods, services, credit and INSIGHT into the job they need to get done;
- We provide access to whole user-communities (end-users and channel partners) to our vendors/partners with INSIGHT.
I have again been deliberate in the order of listing of the two main roles.
If we can honestly say that this is what we are now doing, we will be able to claim that we are on our way to becoming a digital business.
Miles Crisp is the Tarsus Technology Group CEO.