businesses have used ICT to automate and streamline their operational
activities. Large businesses usually have enterprise resource planning (ERP)
systems on-premises, and small businesses are accessing ERP functionality in
the cloud, ensuring they have an integrated insight into all aspects of their
The problem, however, is that all
these systems are internally focused. Even customer relationship management
(CRM) systems are more about managing customer detail than actually interacting
directly with the customer. True, CRM-driven marketing campaigns enable one to
reach customers with some information that is as useful to them as it is to the
company. But, it's a rare organisation that can land a piece of highly
personalised information capable of changing the customer's behaviour on the
device of the customer's choosing. Equally rare are organisations that have
mobilised their field staff and can, therefore, both increase and speed up
Yet, customers expect the
businesses with which they interact to have digital and mobile capabilities.
They drift away from those that don't, and towards those that do, says Ralph
Clark, Eastern Cape Regional Group Executive at Britehouse.
This is as true in Port Elizabeth
as it is in industrial and commercial centres all around the world. The
universal nature of the digital revolution is one of the reasons that Dimension
Data, which is part of the global NTT Group, has acquired 100% of the shares in
Britehouse. Britehouse anticipated the digital shift very early, setting up a
division focused on helping customers digitise their businesses.
Dimension Data itself made a
strategic decision some years ago to include software development in what had
been its mainstream business of providing network and infrastructure services
and solutions. Software is the modern business differentiator – particularly in
the digital arena, where apps drive customer experience and loyalty.
As part of its software
development focus, Dimension Data acquired local company, dataflo, which had pioneered
FMCG capabilities that gave organisations a competitive edge and got the stamp
of approval from global companies like Coca-Cola.
These capabilities have now been
rolled up, via Dimension Data Application Services, into Britehouse, where they
have a digital focus. Why should this matter to organisations in Port
Elizabeth? Because there's a clue for your organisations in the significant
investment that a company like Dimension Data has made in digital expertise.
If Dimension Data is pinning its
sustainability on the ability to deliver digital solutions, your own company
might need to take digital seriously, too. All the more so if your customers
are thinking in digital terms. Can you really afford to ignore a trend that is
becoming the driving force behind the way the modern world functions?