Is there a business challenge today that’s both more important, and yet less understood, than digital transformation? Back in July SAMA and ERP software provider QAD hosted a full-day symposium featuring senior leaders discussing how to drive digital transformation at their own companies and at their customers’.
Here, SAMA offers ten important truths about digital transformation from Volkhard Bregulla, VP for Global Accounts Germany and Central Eastern Europe at Hewlett-Packard GmbH. (Click here for the first part in this series.)
First-mover’s advantage is real and growing. The speed of adoption is taking place faster than ever, with new technologies emerging at unprecedented space. This is expanding the gap between the leaders and the laggards.
Business outcomes are the key. Entrenched customers aren’t going to get excited by new digital technologies for their own sake. To hook them, you need to connect the technology to the KPIs they care about. To produce a digital transformation in the manufacturing space, customers need to see double-digit improvement in those critical KPIs.
Start with predictive maintenance. In manufacturing, this is by far the easiest place to start implementing digital transformation. First, it’s easy for the customer to understand. They want to push their machines as hard as they can without risking them. Second, with the wealth of data available, the algorithms are already quite strong. Third, there is enormous money to be made from optimizing asset utilization and predictive maintenance.
Data must be integrated horizontally. Simply capturing data isn’t enough; you have to be able to integrate it across all points on your value chain.
The analytical engine has to sit as close to the process or manufacturing line as possible. Mission critical decisions need to be made in microseconds. That’s why Gardner predicts 70 percent of all processing power will move out of the data center in the next five years. Be prepared.
Find the right people to talk to. If all that processing power is leaving the data room, your SAMs need to learn how to have different kinds of conversations (around KPIs) with different customer stakeholders. (HP estimates that each year two percent of its budget moves away from the people at the customer with whom the company currently engages.) Instead of focusing on the “manager of data,” Bregulla recommends concentrating on the “manager of results.”
Defend, extend, create, disrupt. This is the framework executives use to conceptualize their business. When your SAMs are talking to these people, they need to frame their conversations along one of these four quadrants and be prepared to place your solutions in the context of one of these scenarios.
Bandwidth is the most precious natural resource of all time. The amount of processing power required to run AI and other technologies is astronomical. There will always be computing bottlenecks somewhere; you need to move them around creatively and efficiently.
Your SAMs will need to be trained differently. At HP that means putting its top client executives through a customized, 12-week “Digital Master’s” program that teaches them the fundamentals of driving digital transformation. They are also training these executives on how to sell to the line of business, rather than to IT. It’s a matter of zeroing in on the right customer stakeholder, identifying the KPIs that these stakeholders care about, and connecting it to the right part of HP’s portfolio.
Invest in partnerships to build real-life use cases. Many customers, especially in manufacturing, are inherently conservative. It is hard to sell them on digital transformation with a PowerPoint, no matter how persuasive it may be. That is why HP has invested in partnerships that put HP technology inside actual customer sites. It gives HP’s SAMs and salespeople not just real data (which is huge) and real use cases, but also a real-life setting in which customers can see HP’s digital solutions in action.
Establish a clear, simple process for pushing digital transformation with customers. At HP, it’s the following: (1) Establish credibility on the KPI level (see “Find the right people to talk to” above). (2) Establish what you can do for the customer to impact their critical KPIs. (3) Offer use cases. (4) Establish partnerships within the ecosystem.
Wish you could have engaged with Volkhard in person? SAMA’s Executive Symposium series offers SAMA corporate members the chance to learn from senior SAMs and SAM program leaders facing the same challenges as you. To learn more about the benefits of SAMA corporate membership, contact SAMA Director of Membership & Strategic Accounts Chris Jensen at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 312-251-3131, ext. 10.
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