The fact that many SMEs are recognizing that their environment is changing and are aware of their need for digital transformation, provides a window of opportunity for those channel partners who are willing and able to help them transition.
Digital transformation is not only disrupting the IT channel, it's changing the SME arena as well. Research done by Ricoh Europe found that 1/4 of SMEs expect to be selling different products and services within five years time, and are currently looking for help in innovating their businesses in anticipation of this fact.
For the channel, this means that there is a window of opportunity over the next few years to supply technology which will assist and enable SME businesses in this transition.
1/4 of SMEs expect to be selling different products and services within five years time.The research found that SME businesses wanted to increase their product quality, decrease costs and accelerate time to market - objectives generally in-line with the digital transformation benefits of creating new revenue streams and enhancing customer engagement. Many companies however, were finding it difficult to optimize their approach to digital transformation.
Some of the obstacles faced by these companies included:
- dealing with legacy systems, complex infrastructure and siloed systems
- lack of budget and financial resources
- lack of the right in-house expertise and skills
- data privacy and cyber-security concerns
- regulation and legislation issues
- information overload
A Digital Transformation Index report created by Dell and Intel discovered that firms are indeed aware that their environment is changing, and are concerned that meeting their customer demands will be challenging. A minority of firms were also actively worried about being left behind technologically.
Businesses proactively trying to stay ahead are spending in the areas of security, multi-cloud environments, AI and IoT.Those businesses which are proactively trying to stay ahead of the curve are spending in the areas of security, multi-cloud environments, AI and IoT.
Many of the hurdles facing SMEs in the transition to digital are ones which knowledgeable channel partners are able to assist in navigating and providing solutions for. However, the rapid pace of transformation means that time is of the essence for those skilled and knowledgeable channel businesses who intend to make a difference in the SME business landscape.
By being on the lookout for and adding the requisite skills in new technologies, new business models and new approaches to existing operations methodology, resellers and distributors can become valuable go-to knowledge specialists and transition partners for those SMEs wanting to keep up with the sea of change surrounding them.