In the current economy, growth throughout 2019 is set to be a muted affair for most organisations. It won’t be impressive nor will it break records or transform business landscapes or redefine how success is measured.
But this doesn’t mean that the year will be defined by a lack of success. Rather, success should be measured against fresh metrics that acknowledge the local and global economic challenges, the social and political shifts, and the changing needs of a diverse workforce.
2019 success metrics
“To measure our success in 2019 we are looking at how we have explored new revenue streams, refined how we engage with our customers, and the ways in which we have empowered our employees,” says Anton Herbst, Chief Executive Officer, Tarsus on Demand. “Over the next year we are focused on the ways in which we engage with our customers, taking it beyond just communication, discounts and products but rather into understanding their unique needs and the challenges that they face. Through this understanding we can provide them with the tools and support they need to drive their businesses forward.”
Forging relationships is a key metric in the modern business market. It’s about approaching customers from the perspective of their pain points and finding ways in which the business can address them.
“It’s about adding more value, understanding context and environment and providing the right solutions,” adds Herbst. “There is more to customer service and delivery than a square solution shoved into a round hole. We are also looking at how we can engage with the as-a-Service (aaS) business model, using this to change how our customers traditionally transact with us and our product offerings.”
When it comes to growth models, aaS is stratospheric. According to IDC, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Hosting-as-a-Service are currently at 23.5% and 8.3% respectively in terms of market growth, while across all Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) categories the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next five years is set to average at eight times more than that for on-premise. Focusing on providing a robust and reliable aaS offering not only ensures longevity in a complex market but ensures that existing customers gain access to relevant technology on demand.
“Success within the aaS arena is measured by metrics we have put in place to ensure that our customers and partners can grow their capabilities within an entirely new ecosystem and business model,” says Herbst.
Changing skill sets and jobs
The other factor the business must consider, something that is of ongoing concern, is employment. The lack of economic growth has put significant pressure on employment opportunities and this is further affected by Fourth Industrial Revolution. Jobs and skill sets are changing and many people are working in positions that may well be obsolete in the next few years.
For Herbst, success over the coming year will move beyond enhancing revenue streams and building sustainable business potential and into transforming the skills and potential of employees. He believes that it is the responsibility of the business to provide staff with learning platforms that allow them to optimise their abilities. This way, they aren’t losing jobs as automation and technology evolve.
“We have a responsibility, as leaders, to create spaces where our people can learn new skills,” he says. “Our success must be measured against how many people we enabled throughout the year, the upskilling opportunities we gave them, and in ensuring that they don’t face unemployment because they didn’t have the chance to grow.”
This is a view shared by Shirlinia Jacobs, General Manager: Channel Sales, Tarsus Distribution. She currently heads up the channel sales division that includes sales across all regions; a team of eight sales branch managers and 134 sales people who cover around two to three thousand resellers.
For her, one of the most crucial metrics of 2019 is how her department has attracted and retained new talent.
“We have to consistently ask ourselves how we have improved the lives of our staff so that they can achieve their potential,” she says. “This not only allows for their personal and professional growth but supports their role in building relationships with customers. Success is not just a one-time measurement of one year’s results, it’s about assessing the key elements that have yielded returns and looking to how these can be improved. It is also about recognising that success means different things for different people – for some it is wealth, for others a job title and for others a happy work environment. Our success depends on how well these needs are met.”
The company is also committed to an intelligent return on investment (ROI). This takes the development of a cohesive team and extends it into ensuring that the channel has what it needs to thrive in the current market. It’s about innovation and invention, in taking existing ecosystems and expanding them into new revenue streams that are relevant to both customer and channel.
“We have added a new dimension our supply chain called 3PL – third party logistics,” says Tim Proome, Head of Supply Chain, Tarsus Distribution. “This uses digital integration to transform supply chain functionality for our larger enterprise customers. The 3PL solution incorporates the latest in automation and robotics alongside digital innovation to optimise warehouse flow.”
Tarsus Distribution pushes out around 40-45 thousand orders every month. This equates to around 80 thousand parcels or 500, 000 items every 30 days. For the supply chain department, refining its processes using the latest technologies was critical for long-term business success and in taking the pressure off employees so they can ensure that every aspect of the supply chain runs smoothly and efficiently.
“Our 3PL platform not only takes the pressure off our staff members, using robotics to lighten the load, but it also allows us to offer our customers a sellable service,” adds Proome. “We have been working on its capabilities for months and have developed a backend solution that delivers a world class logistics to our customers.”
For Proome, skills development is as much a critical metric in his arena as it is across the rest of the business. The staff have undergone training so they have the skills they need to engage with the data and analytics and to really improve their decision-making skills.
“We are moving towards a hybrid way of working,” concludes Proome. “By this time next year our staff will have new skills that they can use to grow within their roles and the 3PL business itself. We are building a brand-new team and introducing new functions that we’ve never seen before and it is fundamentally changing how our people work and how we measure our success.”
The next year may hold as many fluctuations and dramatic political turns as 2018, especially as the global impact of a no-deal Brexit has yet to be felt. To succeed, the business has to invest into new revenue streams, customer growth and engagement, and its people. These are the metrics that build a sea-worthy business that’s ready to tackle any tsunami the politicians and the economies throw its way.