I hope Satya Nadella’s recent visit to Australia has you excited about what the future holds for our industry and what we – with a combination of Microsoft’s platforms and your solutions – can collectively achieve. If you’ve been tracking the extensive press coverage of Satya’s visit, you’ll know he’s very focused on digital transformation and how customers can realise their ambitions with Microsoft’s technology and services, and with your critical assistance.
With that in mind, I’m delighted to let you know Microsoft has released a new report looking at those questions here in Australia. The report, Embracing digital transformation: Experiences from Australian organisations, features in-depth interviews with the leaders responsible for digital transformation at a range of Australian businesses, associations and government agencies. These include Aussie, Cricket Australia, Deakin University, Domino’s, Pact Group and the NSW Department of Education. We also spoke to a range of partners and software companies including Oneview Healthcare, The Yield and WorldSmart. I’d recommend you review the report in detail to gain fresh insights into how customers are thinking about digital transformation, what initiatives they’re trying and the obstacles they’re facing. It will also give you a new asset for engaging with your customers and starting conversations with them about a topic that’s sure to be at the top of their agenda.
You’ll see most organisations believe digital technologies are dramatically changing the industries or government entities they operate within. But you’ll also see that most are only at the start of their journeys in responding to those changes and making the most of what new technologies and digital-enabled business models can offer them. This presents an enormous opportunity for you as a partner to provide the advice and solutions they need.
However, those solutions are likely to represent a break with the past, and will require a different mindset and change in business model to succeed. To realise these changes, partners will need to evolve as the market expands to include a new wave of partner types and market entrants. These new players tend to have deep industry knowledge and lead with industry-relevant offers and unique IP and products, rather than technology solutions. In this environment, partners that invest in developing their own specialisation and capabilities, or build new go-to-market strategies through industry associations for example, will become more relevant to prospective customers. They will also find themselves better positioned to compete with, and more importantly partner with, this new breed of partner.
One great example of this is the way HubOne has built a partnership with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) to offer machine learning solutions and data analytics services based on Azure and Power BI to CAANZ’s members. This partnership increases the benefits for CAANZ members by enabling smaller accounting firms to access a new set of predictive capabilities, allowing them to change their service offerings to clients. It also gives HubOne access to this significant new customer base with industry-relevant solutions.
Our research reveals strong demand for concrete solutions in core business areas that organisations are grappling with in the digital era: engaging with customers, empowering employees, optimising operations, reinventing products and services, and measuring the results of their digital and business transformation efforts. Customers are actively undertaking digital transformation initiatives and will have often identified how to use technology to overcome process challenges and increase efficiency. But most are still some way from achieving digital mastery.
To ensure you can help them make the right changes, and to stay relevant to those customers over the long term, we have mapped out a group of attributes to strive towards as a partner. Those attributes centre around providing differentiated offerings, modernising sales and marketing systems, optimising back-end operations and ensuring you deliver lifetime value to your customers. Among the most important is that you create repeatable and differentiated products and services built around unique intellectual property.
Two partners that have already taken this message to heart – in addition to those listed above – are BizData and MOQdigital. BizData is pivoting its business to developing and selling data analytics solutions based on Azure Cognitive Services and Machine Learning, and MOQdigital is solving real-world challenges for customers to improve business outcomes through the use of IoT and other transformative technologies. Both are taking these repeatable customer solutions and building new products to take to market.
Finally, I’d also recommend you check out this excellent blog by my colleague Alex Sessoms on how you can make sense of digital transformation. It includes links to some of Satya Nadella’s comments, including his speech at our latest Worldwide Partner Conference.
Download the full report: Embracing digital transformation: Experiences from Australian organisations.