For organizations of all sizes and verticals — including channel partners and their customers — digital transformation has been a hot topic item for more than a decade.

But what has long been a plodding marathon has suddenly become a sprint. COVID-19 thrust organizations months or even years ahead in their digital growth. Now channel partners must navigate the post-honeymoon phase of these digital transformations.

This article looks at what change drivers are shaping the next phase of digital transformation. It explores new ways channel partners can take advantage of digital tools, processes, and platforms in 2023 and beyond to achieve sustainable business success.

Modernization Followed by Optimization

For most organizations, the first phase of digital transformation began with modernizing existing processes and functions. By centralizing and digitizing these functions, companies helped create intuitive user experiences, lower operating costs, and streamline operations.

In the next phase of digital transformation, winning online centers around optimization and continuous improvement. One of the most significant advantages of undergoing digital transformation is the ability to test, learn, and adapt in ways that are difficult or even impossible with traditional business practices. By understanding how your newly modernized processes are performing — and looking at their strengths and weaknesses — you can help take a big step forward in how you conduct your business online.

Big Data and Artificial Intelligence

Another massive advantage of bringing your business online is the wealth of data you can use to help make better, more informed decisions. But beyond self-service data, like Google Analytics, is big data.

At its essence, big data is essentially large data repositories that can be analyzed to reveal insights and trends that may otherwise go unnoticed. By themselves, the individual pieces of data may not show much, but analyzed at scale, big data can reveal beneficial information. The growth of big data implementation and utilization has been remarkable, with a recent report from Markets and Markets estimating the big data market size was valued at $162.6 billion in 2021. It is projected to grow to $273.4 billion by 2026.

Artificial intelligence (AI) adds another dimension to implementing big data practices. It can give channel partners a way to improve their business via automation and machine learning. In the next phase of digital transformation, organizations will use big data and AI to maximize customer value and improve digital performance.

Going Digital First

For organizations built on traditional business models, especially sales-driven ones, the transition to digital has not necessarily been smooth. Some studies suggest that as many as 87.5 percent of digital transformations failed to meet their initial objectives.

In 2023 and beyond, it may not be enough to simply have a digital presence. Instead, organizations are starting to adopt the “digital first” concept to meet customers online more effectively. This priority shift of making digital not just a requirement but the leading edge of your business is a massive change for many companies. But when it comes to digital transformation, channel partners that can find ways to make their digital experiences best-in-class will have a significant leg up on their competition.

Whether your organization is just starting a digital transformation or is several years deep in changing how your business transacts online, staying at the cutting edge of digital transformation is essential to sustained success. By exploring new tools and understanding how they impact the channel, your team can be better positioned to leverage digital platforms today and tomorrow.

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