You need to move to the cloud or you’ll end up like the last Blockbuster video store on Earth, which can be found in Bend, Ore., still somehow hanging on despite a computer system running off floppy disks and a dot-matrix printer. The stubborn owners are committed to staying open, capitalizing on their status to sell “Last Blockbuster on Earth” souvenirs to tourists who go out of their way to stop by this curiosity of another era, showing their kids that movies do indeed exist outside of iPads.
While this store is now thriving because of the novelty of its position, it’s not a position that you should strive for. You need to embrace digital transformation to the cloud or your distribution business will become a relic of a different age. Customers today demand it – and the next generation will expect it.
Of course, it’s easier said than done. But it can be done. A Microsoft blog outlines the 5 challenges companies face in taking the next step to transform their businesses, based on a survey from the Altimeter Group:
- Understanding customer behavior
- A lack of data or ROI to justify the value of digital transformation
- Risk management, compliance or legal complications
- Resources required
- Changing the company culture to be agile
Another survey, this one by Microsoft, revealed a similar story, that businesses are slow to adopt because of a resistance to change embedded in corporate cultures. And yet another from the Economist Intelligence Unit found that nearly 90% of companies don’t believe they have the right technology in place to execute a digital strategy.
We have heard all of these reasons from distributors.
Yes, it will take work. The best starting point for your business is the cloud-based technology backbone provided by Microsoft Dynamics 365. This is a necessity if you want to compete now and in the future. The cloud releases businesses from the limits of their current systems.
It will be too late if you wait until everyone else has upgraded, or until your system breaks or your vendor stops offering support. A reactive approach will never get you ahead. And there’s a true cost to not upgrading your technology backbone.
Things you can do when you’re in the cloud that you can’t do now include combining data across apps for visibility into operations and customer needs; access to technologies like machine learning and bots to ratchet up your customer service; and the capacity to store documents and serve high volumes of data such as on-demand videos at scale.
The story goes that Blockbuster turned down a potential partnership with Netflix, balking at what was at the time a startup. It wasn’t until about six years before going bankrupt that they recognized the threat and started mobilizing to fight back. As a US News article pointed out at the time, it wasn’t just Netflix that killed Blockbuster. It was also Blockbuster’s inability to embrace new technology and, more importantly, the culture and business model required to stay relevant. By the time they did, it was too late.
It’s not too late for distributors, however. While the obstacles are there, more resources exist today than ever before to help businesses overcome them. Invest in the right people, processes and technology to keep from becoming a mere artifact.
About the Author
Patric Timmermans has been a marketing leader for more than 20 years after starting his career in technology as an ERP Architect with a Ph.D. and a M.Sc. degree in Engineering. Before joining ENAVATE as their head of Marketing, Patric held the position at Microsoft of global product marketing lead for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing. Named as a “Top 25 CRM thought leader” by CustomerThink and InsideCRM, he has been instrumental in the go-to-market of technology solutions at industry-leading technology companies as Product Marketing lead and as head of marketing. Patric lives in Seattle where he loves to cook and dance Argentine Tango when he’s not traveling and adding countries to the list of 52 countries he has already visited.