You may have noticed how “digital transformation” is dominating the business conversation at the moment. There’s a good reason for that: it’s a vital step for all businesses to complete if they want to remain competitive in the 21st century due to the way the world is shifting more to digital mechanisms – new ways of achieving business goals.
This is especially true of the local IT channel as business models morph into something far more subscription-based. And as these subscriptions are entirely digital, not transforming is not really an option.
From what I’ve seen, the state of digital transformation in South Africa is a little all over the place. Some businesses are steaming ahead with it like champions and have almost completed their transformation; others are right in the middle of the process while the rest continue to lag behind. In my experience, most South African businesses fall into that second category.
While the businesses that are lagging are a concern, there is still plenty of hope for them: the barriers to entry continue to drop, and as more and more resellers, wholesalers and businesses in general complete their own transformations, the more experience there is in the channel to assist others getting there.
One of the biggest challenges I’ve heard my customers cite as reasons to resist transforming is that they feel they almost have to un-learn everything they know about running their businesses. They tell me it’s hard to fit this new way of doing things into an existing business frame of mind, and they are 100% correct.
That it’s true, however, doesn’t mean transformation isn’t wise to undertake anyway, and resisting the need to do it will ultimately hurt even more than going ahead and making the necessary changes. The key to those slower players transforming at this stage, however, is agility – while there is help available, being able to adopt the advised mechanisms quickly and without disrupting business continuity will be key.
I’m happy to say, though, that for every business that’s actively resisting the digital transformation, I’ve found there are ten that are really keen to do it. Today, there’s so much less risk in moving services to the cloud thanks to improved security mechanisms and the commitment of the big players to maintaining data privacy legislative compliance that doing so is a no-brainer.
The fact that connectivity is improving across the country due to the large-scale roll-out of fibre networks is also helping – no more can businesses cite poor connectivity speeds, high latencies and ridiculous costs as reasons not to go digital. Today’s fibre providers do a wonderful job of offering fast connections at competitive prices, and the fact that there are so many to choose from means deals that will suit all budgets and speed/bandwidth needs are there to be found.
Going on my own experiences with my customers, I think it’s fair to say that things are certainly changing apace, and I am actually quite happy with the adoption rate of these new ideas by the South African IT channel in particular. And encouragingly, things are getting better all the time.
The complete transition to digital, then, is not a question of if, but when. And that’s fantastic news for all of us.
Kathryn Tindale is the Sales Director at Tarsus on Demand