Industry body CompTIA is calling on resellers to focus on their own transformation – even as they help customers on their transformation journeys.
Moheb Moses, CompTIA ANZ community director, says channel businesses need to build agility and responsiveness into their operating model in order to stay relevant and cope with customers' constantly evolving demands, while maintaining their efficiency and profitability. “The pace of change is only getting faster, and it's certainly unlikely to slow down anytime soon,” Moses says.
“Rather than blindly reacting to market changes, IT services firms should carefully consider the pros and con of a transformation.
“There are risks inherent in any new business initiative or venture; the channel business must take a clear-eyed approach and only make the changes if they are likely to deliver strong results within an acceptable timeframe,” he adds.
CompTIA says before ‘retooling' a business or making any significant strategy changes, important to fully understand the customers' needs – and how you can transform to meet those needs.
“That means building a business case for transformation,” CompTIA says.
“Businesses should see how their existing products, services and capabilities map to existing customer needs; they should then investigate how future customer needs may require a different set of products, services or capabilities.
“The business can then build a case to support investment that puts the company in the right position to become a trusted adviser to its current and potential customers.
Developing a transformation strategy – a solid plan of attack – is essential before committing to any major investments, CompTIA says.
“For business transformation, the first step in the process is determining the firm's goal. This could mean improving operational efficiencies, expanding investments or establishing strategic partnerships.
The industry body cautions that significant changes require ‘a fair amount of time capital and patience'.
“Simply stated, there is not a one size fits all strategy for change.
“Some are big, some are small and the available options are virtually endless.
Careful planning, effective management and periodic evaluation are also required. With any business transformation strategy requiring a clear definition of roles and responsibilities, with each task assigned to someone with the time – and skills – to complete the task effectively.
CompTIA notes that employees and management teams that have successfully handled business transformations in the past are more likely to help new initiatives succeed.
“Change is often met with resistance and it's optimistic to think that every employee is equally qualified to help drive transformation,” CompTIA says.
“Ideally, business leaders should choose flexible, optimistic employees to take a greater role in the business transformation process.
“They will bring their more reluctant colleagues along with them.
The investment of time and resources isn't the only investment required in a business transformation, CompTIA points out, with the biggest challenges for IT services businesses often involving capital.
“Even with the best business transformation strategy, companies will have to consider what changes they can afford to make.
“For example, it can take a year or more before revenue reaches break-even when building a new managed or cloud services practice.
As such, CompTIA says businesses need to plan for an infusion of cash to acquire new resources, compensate for reduced productivity during the transition period, invest in training and education and boost marketing and branding.
Mosses notes that even with a business transformation plan in place, companies will need to look at adjustments along the way.
“It's important to remember that, regardless of how much time went into planning and how much money was funnelled into the organisational transformation, its success depends on execution and the adjustments made along the way,” he says.