Becoming Data Driven

Anyone that works in the channel will know it’s fundamentally a ‘people’ business that regularly relies on personal relationships and experience to make things happen. In fact, here at Westcon-Comstor a big part of the value we bring to vendors and partners is the passion, expertise and commitment of our people.

But this  strong people focus  can now be augmented by the transformative opportunities created by the immense volume of data that the channel creates. As a distributor, we’re at the crossroads of thousands of business ICT transactions, which gives us immense insight into technology trends, customer needs and buying patterns.

All these transactions and interactions create data points – and , with data now described as the “next natural resource” in some quarters and –  we are uniquely positioned to take advantage of this data-rich opportunity to benefit our vendors and partners.

That’s why at Westcon-Comstor, we have set out to become a true  ‘digital first, data-driven’ organisation.  We believe that by coupling the data opportunity with the channel expertise and dedication of our people, we’re onto a winning formula.

What does that mean in practice?

Digital first

By ‘digital first’, we mean we’re committed to prioritising the opportunities created by digital technologies to deliver superior experiences and positive business outcomes for vendors, partners and our own people.

This brings clear advantages:

  • agility – partners can adapt and respond quickly to customers with real-time visibility
  • productivity – clean and accurate data improves efficiency for faster turn around
  • scalability – workflow automation and functionality enable vendors and partners to scale
  • profitability – reducing time to cash and, unlocking more opportunities and recurring revenues.

Of course, this requires Westcon-Comstor to embark on our own digital transformation, as we build a resilient, data-driven platform that integrates with vendors and partners.  And, this work is well underway as part of an on-going digital journey.

Digital Distribution

We’ve worked closely with vendors and partners to develop digital distribution solutions that address virtually every aspect of our work with them.

Our platform incorporates accurate, efficient quote and order entry; seamless end-to-end integration with vendors; a rigorous approach to renewals; simplified relationship management with partners; and, as-a-service cloud and software procurement and management.

Utilising industry standard APIs  and transacting on a single global CRM platform, we seek to leverage digital to the max. This brings new levels of insight and automation, providing the platform for our people to create even greater value through distribution.

Through the application of analytics, new opportunities are unlocked. And, at Westcon-Comstor, we characterise this transition as moving from ‘proof of performance’ in sales execution, to ‘evidence of opportunity’, whereby we act jointly with vendors on insights created by the data we possess.

ROI and more

Creating ‘evidence of opportunity’ is a fundamental next step for distribution. From our initial experience we already see how leveraging data can drive new levels of focus to channel sales and marketing.

Data insight permits more accurate prospect targeting based on segmentation; by vertical market, historical spend, legacy purchase or renewal opportunity. This in turn creates a far more efficient and insightful marketing process. A more refined funnel also means more effective customer touchpoints, better ROI and greater MDF utilisation.

And, we’re not alone in this. Consistently more than 50 percent of marketeers worldwide state that better use of data for more effective audience segmentation and targeting is a top priority.

This transformation is picking up momentum across the industry. Acknowledging that different partners are at different places in their digital journey, this means we at Westcon-Comstor probably need to be all things to all partners right now.

And, while we’re committed to being digital first and data driven, we’ll continue to recognise the vital role played by our people to leverage data in ways that create value for vendors and partners. The channel fundamental of being people-centric remains unchanged – but how our people leverage data to create value is poised to transform for good.

At Westcon’s recent Vendor Executive Advisory Council, our key vendors gathered to discuss distribution strategy. Here’s what they had to say about being digital first and data driven: