We’ve spent much of the last half-century trying to understand computers, now they’re beginning to understand us.
Getting the dealer channel involved in the digital transformation – Our journey to Business Intelligence visuals
Raymond Boggs, Vice President of SMB research in his recent IDC report on SMB’s in the USA reported that spending on IT by SMB’s will be $175.8 billion. That figure represents 30% of overall global spending and will lead the way for the rest of the business world. He said “Successful vendors have been responsive to changing SMB technology requirements. But will be under increasing pressure to deliver near-term performance results. While supporting longer-term initiatives in keeping with digital transformation, especially for more forward-looking SMBs.”
We want our Managed Print Services and dealer channels to be involved in the digital transformation SMB’s are now undertaking. We will give the customer the data and report they ask for in the most useful format. To keep our dealers progressing we have produced a Business Intelligence (BI) dashboard to visualise MPS data, and KPI’s contained in IDM and produced by PA6 Assessments for our customers.
Data and analysis are embedded into every modern workflow, it is the ubiquitous part of the digital transformation. Business Intelligence visuals such as the dashboard are an integral part of the data business analyses for decision making. Devouring a printed spreadsheet is time-consuming and the data is static. The spreadsheet also becomes redundant as soon as it has been read. With a visual, a user can drill down into the data for deeper analysis by clicking on an element. Visuals can be personalised and automated to give the user the information they want and need.
The Customer Experience battlefield
The 2016 survey by Gartner reported 89% of companies surveyed believed customer experience will be the primary basis for competition. In their usual outburst, they say business growth will depend on delighting the customer and to redesign boldly. That is where the innovation lies. Those findings and recommendations apply for both B2B and B2C services and product innovation.
We have seen that a mechanism for feedback on performance is required by our partners in large tenders. Visual BI tools are an ideal method for providing feedback on SLA’s and KPI’s. Visual tools lend themselves perfectly to report on the metrics the customer requires and the user experience they desire.
A document that does not exist does not need management
By employing visual BI tools in MPS we digitise and transform data into dynamic reports. As a by-product, we also remove the requirement to print the report as it cannot match the utility of the visual.
This could sound like a challenge for our channel. We can embrace this new paradigm of a digital transformation as an opportunity.
A BI visual tool can be accessed via PC, tablet, and smartphone the current tools of the workplace. We become involved in making data mobile and make data accessible to everyone.
A new sales opportunity has been opened
A visual BI tool once integrated into a workplace can be employed in all other areas of a business, from marketing, HR, to finance.
The most common challenge we hear from MPS providers is giving their customer effective Management Information to improve the efficiency of their print infrastructure.
We see the following
- MPS providers provide effective reporting to only 5-10% of customers monthly or quarterly.
- Producing the information is manually intensive and takes a long time to collate.
- Spreadsheets and complex BI tools are hard for the customer to interpret, the data is not democratised.
- Information adheres to a one size fits all standard, too many end users are left out.
- Limited internal sales intelligence stops the benchmarking of customers and makes spotting sales opportunities harder.
- Automatically personalised for an individual user. Easy to achieve with filters for any personal profile. Custom dashboards can be created if required.
- Users see data relevant to them, and allowable by secure access levels.
- A pre-built dashboard presents data in a format for business end users, not data analysts.
- Drilling down into data is easy for business users to get the information they need.
- Data governance is built in, data can be shared across an organisation where it needs to go.
We are using the advantages of a modern BI tool for an effective MPS and print is not a part of the reporting and information. Just a few years ago the success rate of enterprise business intelligence deployments was reported at 30%. The investment was high, as were the expectations. Data was siloed and controlled by IT rather than the business case. BI is now expected and embedded into business and industrial processes worldwide.
Using visual BI tools can shorten the decision cycle for the end user by presenting data to them in a useful format. And we shorten the sales cycle for our MPS partners by giving them a competitive advantage.
We are now at the point where BI systems are cloud-based, in-memory for fast reporting, and need not be an enterprise sized investment. BI is becoming ubiquitous with the Industrial Internet of Things producing huge volumes of data. MPS has an opportunity to be involved in the current trend.
It has been a fascinating start to a great journey, and a great benefit to our partners and their customers. We improve their working practice by making their decisions easier and better informed to keep them successful. We involve ourselves in the digital transformation which is all part of our drive to save the Office Equipment Dealer.