Tech Data: Driving business evolution with digital technology

Evolution! Evolution! Evolution!
We all know the word evolution from school, where we learned how biological organisms evolved their heritable traits over successive generations due to natural selection and other mechanisms. Interestingly, business evolution is not dissimilar. IBM business unit strategies, along with the business models of our clients, Business Partners, vendors and the countries and societies we work in, are always changing. To be successful, you need to adapt quickly to capitalize on your business habitat.

Let’s explore how digital transformation is playing a key role in how businesses evolve for the future.

Digitalization has become the new survival of the fittest

Stephen Ennis, Director of Education Services – Europe at Tech Data: Not all that long ago, the Internet was a new concept, shrouding a wealth of business value that was waiting to be discovered. In recent decades, technology has evolved at a rapid pace to transform business models and revolutionize the way we live and work. You only have to look at the computing power in our phones and the data we can access standing in the middle of an empty field to realize just how much the world has changed. As we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution, businesses across the world are adapting to the new technologies in order to compete for the largest share of profits. Survival of the fittest has taken on a new meaning, where fittest means most innovative, agile and technologically advanced.

You only have to look around you to see that digitalization is impacting all manner of organizations in all vertical markets. Take retail for example, where to combat the threat of online, stores are having to reinvent the shoppers’ experience. Here they are investing in digital signage, beacons and smart shelves, all revolutionizing the way the stores communicate with customers and supply chains.

Skills needed for digital transformation
A broad range of technical skills is required to unlock the full potential of digital transformation. Businesses need to understand technologies like sensors, gateways, networking, security, analytics, cloud, digital applications, software integration, API management, workflow and storage. They need to know how to apply these in order to create an integrated IT ecosystem, where data is automatically communicated across a seamless, manageable framework.

Organizations need experts who can guide them through the transformation process. To deliver the best possible outcomes, the experts themselves need the most up-to-date knowledge. However, innovation in the digital age has only accelerated, meaning new technologies and products are superseding old ones at a hurried pace. Where evolution in the biological world can take millions of years, in the digital world it can be months or even weeks. For IT professionals, the critical factor around acquiring new knowledge becomes one of speed. The luxury to teach oneself over months has gone. Vendor-authorized training provides a fast-track way to acquire the necessary skills in the shortest time period.

Certified training is a distinguishing factor
This is where good quality training is essential. Tech Data offers training courses to both partners and customers. By learning new skills and gaining up-to-date certifications, IT professionals can distinguish their companies from rivals, plus build themselves a more fulfilling career.

Despite these advantages, cost can create added resistance in the whole process. It is not just the price of the course that organizations have to consider. Attendance, travel, accommodation and, most important, the cost of having an expert out of the business and not generating revenue are all factors that can inhibit training. This is where we’ve seen firsthand how IBM’s voucher scheme (HW) and training programs (You Pass, We Pay (SW)) have made a difference and reduced some of this cost resistance. By lessening the training costs, it makes the total cost of training more palatable.

For instance, in the Czech Republic in spring of 2018, we had a Business Partner approach us in need of training on IBM Spectrum Protect. The Business Partner had a budgetary challenge that was preventing it from sending its technical experts on the courses. It was only when we were able to apply IBM vouchers that it could get internal sign-off. Together with IBM Systems Lab Services, we worked out a way for the Business Partner to send its engineers to “IBM Spectrum Protect 8.1.2 Implementation and Administration” and also “IBM Spectrum Protect 8.1.4 Advanced Administration, Tuning, and Troubleshooting.” On the back of this, the Business Partner has started to go after more end user business opportunities. So, if you’re not aware of the voucher scheme, you could be missing out, and I would urge you to look into this as a matter of priority. IBM Global Training Providers such as Tech Data will happily accept IBM vouchers as payment.

  • The way training is consumed is evolving: Digital teaching methods and on-demand services are becoming the norm. The partners that are going to be most competitive are the ones that are able to provide training in the manner that identifies and answers their users’ most pressing needs, exactly when they need it.
  • It is not just limited to technical skills: Traditional technical skills are still important, but with digitalization organizations need skilled change leaders who can explain in simple terms why a board of directors should invest in transforming their business model. The other skill becoming increasingly important for survival is the ability to innovate in new and creative ways. The better the innovation, the better the business outcome. This can be a unique skill suited to a certain type of mind-set.
  • Be selective, savvy and choose the right partners: The challenge in leading transformation is gathering together the necessary skills and expertise. Most IT providers will balance training their existing team with collaborating with valuable partners known for their depth of knowledge in their field of expertise.
  • Position your organization as a leader in digital transformation: Training and collaboration in digital technologies is what ultimately keeps organizations competitive and ahead of the curve. Failing to adopt it means they risk falling behind the times and losing their customers to rivals who are actively incorporating the latest technologies into their businesses. This is business evolution and the new survival of the fittest. The good news is that with its high-quality, vendor-authorized training courses, Tech Data can get you evolutionarily fit!


Looking ahead to the future
Thank you to Stephen for sharing such superb insights with us—what an exciting story! IBM has a variety of great tools, programs and resources to support employees, strategic vendor partners, Business Partners and clients in learning new skills needed to grow and succeed. It’s this commitment to learning that shows our dedication to leading the world to a more prosperous and progressive future, to creating a world that is more fair, diverse, tolerant and just. Or in other words, our contribution to evolution!

Make the first step into evolution and explore the IBM Skills Gateway, where you can find training from our Global Training Providers and Lab Services, discover upcoming technical events and prove your competence by passing appropriate certification tests.

Andrey Safronov
Business Partner Technical Enablement Leader, IBM Systems Lab Services Europe

Stephen Ennis
Director of Education Services – Europe, Tech Data