Today, the largest enterprise to the smallest grocery store is realizing that adopting digital technologies is the only way to survive & thrive.
Satya Nadella says, “every company needs to start thinking and operating like a digital company”.
To make the point clearer, let’s take an example of 2 retail stores on opposite sides of a street. They are comparable in terms of size and assortment today. However, if we fast forward to 2025, we can bet that the store which has outperformed would be the one with better adoption & execution of digital technologies. These could include accepting online payments, promoting on social media and improving online presence. They could also do integration of ordering & home delivery functionalities, create innovative promotions, undertake app development or adopt CRM solutions, among others.
This is the reason FAANG companies have added trillions of dollars to their market capitalization in the last 5 years. Digital Transformation is today a buzzword and adopting digital technologies is critical to success.
Digital transformation is so fundamental to every company today that an ecosystem to support the same is critical. This ecosystem should understand the challenges companies face once they decide to transform. In our view, this is where we must make the distinction between the availability of technology and the ability to adopt the technology.
For companies looking to transform, the AVAILABILITY of technology today is not the issue at all. Digital solutions today are fairly democratized due to SaaS & cloud-based platforms. This means that today every company (regardless of size) has access to multiple solutions for every pillar of digital transformation viz. empowering employees, engaging customers, optimizing operations & transforming products. In fact, there is a wide choice available for all use cases whether industry-based (vertical) or function-based (horizontal).
The big issue is the ABILITY of a company to implement these solutions.
As we all know, the mere availability of technology is not enough. What is required is an ecosystem that can help even the most digitally challenged client be able to adopt it. This is where the smaller and/or the more traditional companies are at a significant disadvantage. They do not have internal talent or capability in fields like digital marketing or technology. Their dependence on outsourcing is thus more critical compared to larger organizations. It is thus a fact that a reliable service provider network that can partner SME clients in their growth journey is crucial.
Many SME clients do not have an understanding of the service provider network for these solutions or the capability to define projects, evaluate multiple proposals, shortlist the right service provider and even manage the project once it has started. This, leads, in many cases, to delays in initiating projects, disputes between the service provider and the client, or even faulty execution of a project.
This problem owes its genesis to the way the industry is structured. The largest service providers almost purely cater to the largest enterprises in a market characterized by multi-year, million-dollar deals. They neither have the appetite nor the GTM for the smaller customers. The smaller clients thus are serviced by one of many (35000+ in India alone) IT/ Digital service companies. These companies face intense competition with each other in acquiring the same customer and some of them end up pushing a solution which either they are not equipped to handle or the client did not need at all.
This is why we need to rethink the way the smallest companies are digitally empowered and create a new ecosystem. The ability to execute a digital charter is a fundamental right of companies that cannot be allowed to be held hostage to an unorganized market. Otherwise, the fourth industrial revolution will impact only the more ‘blessed’ companies rather than all the companies.
This new system should give even the smallest company the ability to engage with ‘unbiased’ experts to understand what is right for their business. It should also help find the best service provider within the client’s budget and help with the execution of the project. During the execution, the system should also help the client develop certain basic capabilities to manage the solution and get benefits from the investments made over a period of time. Such a system would drastically cut down the cost & time required to adopt a solution and also ensure better returns on digital investments. The value that could be created both on the client as well as the service provider side would be enormous.
This is precisely what we are trying to accomplish at Benchkart. It is early days but the road ahead promises to be really exciting. The impact we make to every single business in this journey makes it even more enjoyable.