How a partner ecosystem can help IT service providers capture digital transformation opportunities

 |   Doris Hui

Partners

The opportunity which digital transformation presents is clear. IDC recently estimated the economic value of digital transformation to be US$20 trillion, or over 20 percent of global GDP. As digital transformation is accelerating across all sectors and industries, IT service providers must also keep pace with the world in order to capitalize on the tremendous opportunities brought by the wave of digital transformation.

At Microsoft, we believe a co-sell business model which builds on an ecosystem of partners will become mainstream for IT service providers. IT service providers today should embark on their own transformation journeys from a traditional reselling business model, to that of a more collaborative and advising model. This will see IT services providers work closely with technology providers to tailor and customize digital solutions for their customers. The aim is to directly address their customers’ needs and pain points, to contribute towards an overall transformation of the business. In fact, when partners work together to contribute their expertise and deliver integrated solutions, IDC estimates these partners can increase their revenue by up to 20 percent.

In our experience, IT service providers that join a partner ecosystem can enhance their competitive edge in three ways:

1. Expanded product portfolio

IT partners can choose from the widest range of solutions in the industry that will enable them to build, go to market, and sell to their target customers. In addition, IT service providers can access to leading development tools and virtual testing environments, such as from Microsoft Partner Network, to offer customized digital transformation solutions for their customers.

2. Receive unmatched support

IT service providers will have the access to up-to-date technical training and extensive product documentation and resources within the ecosystem of partners. At Microsoft, we provide a series of product training for our partners in Hong Kong, allowing them to have a comprehensive understanding of our latest products and services. We also host large scale events for our 500,000+ partners worldwide to connect with each other, including our annual Microsoft Inspire in the U.S. Microsoft Inspire is a great opportunity for partners around the world come together, exchange latest industry trends, as well as receive the latest updates of services and products from Microsoft.

3. Access to a global network full rich in new business opportunities

IT service providers that join the Microsoft Partner Network, gain access to one of the largest customer bases in the world. Microsoft launched the co-sell program two years ago in which Microsoft partners are encouraged and incentivized to innovate on top of Microsoft platforms — adding value for customers, creating new solutions and revenue opportunities. Since the inception of Microsoft’s co-sell program 24 months ago, the program generated US$9.5 billion in annual contracted revenue for partners. Moreover, Microsoft offers partners with comprehensive Go-To-Market Services, empowering them to build a stronger marketing team and customer engagement strategy.

In our region and earlier this year, Microsoft organized its inaugural Greater Bay Area (GBA) Innovation Summit, which brought together over 500 local partners, rising entrepreneurs and companies within the region. The event saw partners share their latest innovative solutions that based on Microsoft technology, as well as discuss how GBA businesses can grasp and maximize the huge innovation and technology potential in the Area to achieve more.

By fostering an all-inclusive partner ecosystem in GBA, Microsoft is committed to driving the development of the start-up community and the collaboration between partners, helping more local partners enter the GBA market.

Our own data suggests that win rates increase by up to 15 percent when partners deliver integrated solutions. KBQuest, a global digital transformation consulting firm based in Hong Kong, is one of the successful case studies of business transformation. KBQuest started its partnership with Microsoft a decade ago. With the innovative technologies and business support from Microsoft, KBQuest has shifted its business focus from programming to delivering digital solutions integrating cloud, AI and Big Data technologies, and has helped a number of local businesses to digitally transform their businesses.

Moving forward, Microsoft and its ecosystem of partners will work together to accelerate digital transformation in Hong Kong and the GBA by developing digital solutions that are tailored to specific industry needs.