Are Your Customers Lacking Digital Ambition?

The right partner can help customers overcome transformation fatigue.

January 28, 2019

4 Min Read
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I’ve often thought about what it would be like to be in the work force today–if I were 90 years old. Not that I am rushing, but because it is an interesting concept.

Consider that for a second. If you were born during the Great Depression, and you slowly saw, over the first half of your lifetime, the introduction of cars and the telephone and even space travel.

And now, over the last 20 years of your life, you’d have seen the internet and smart phones, social media, self-driving cars, and every other technology introduced, and that is even before artificial intelligence fully takes hold.

It’s hard to keep up, and enough to make your head spin.

I can empathize. Sometimes, it’s tiring trying to keep up, even if you’re not 90. That is Technology Fatigue.

And so, in the same vein, I want to talk to you about Transformation Fatigue and how partners need to help their customers overcome it. Transformation Fatigue is real. At a recent Gartner IT Symposium, this was described as a hurdle companies experience when–despite their focus, investments and efforts– companies aren’t getting the expected digital business results. A main cause of this is a lack of digital ambition, perhaps brought on by feeling overwhelmed from all the technology changes happening in industry so quickly.

Now, you may be shrugging this off because, as an IT provider you certainly realize growth and digital transformation are a top priority for your customers. It’s likely your customers are aware that digital change is inevitable, too. According to the same Gartner Symposium, 50% of CEOs acknowledge that their industry will be digitally transformed and have taken some measures to adjust to technological advancements.

The challenge is that many organizations haven’t seen an immediate increase in profit margins yet. They’ve gone through all the motions of establishing digital processes without first examining the most effective method of development. This scenario puts you in a great position to add your expertise and value to help your customers run at their best.

If your customers have focused on traditional optimization projects rather than make bold investments in new platforms and business models, then they may delay realizing the benefits of a true transformation.

You certainly don’t want that to be the fate of your customers. It doesn’t bode well for them, and it will certainly not help you grow your partner business, either. Instead, guide your customers with the right framework to thrive in the digital era.

You can start by analyzing the strategy of an existing customer and consider if the fundamentals are in place. Are you helping them with things such as a governance, choosing the right portfolio and product lines, and are their products or services being supported by a team with an evolving roadmap and funding based on business priorities?

Next, consider how your customer has approached their digital products. Did they simply manage these as they would a project? If so, that should raise a red flag. Unlike projects that typically have finite funding budgeted based on resources and time, funding for digital transformation should be viewed as ongoing, based on the business needs and return on investment.  Work doesn’t simply stop on a fixed date; rather, regular releases are delivered. And digital products should be facilitated by agile teams that embrace change and continually focus on delivering value.

To achieve digital business success, help your customer view their organization as a digital business “entity” comprised of a business area focused on risk, resources and finances, an IT area focused on integration, information management, data and analytics, and a product/operations area focused on design, functionality and program management.

Encourage your customer to leverage key performance indicators, including the percentage of their customers purchasing or utilizing services through digital channels, revenue growth and retention rate among their customers, and a growing ecosystem. What better way to see the impact of their investment?

Counsel them on creating cross-disciplinary teams for internal and external product management. Help them drive cultural change by encouraging talent development, crafting a strategy to secure their long-term investment in digital product management, and develop leading indicators for measuring the digitalization progress.

Sounds like a lot? It is. But by partnering with the right software provider to deliver the right products and services, you can add tremendous value, strengthen your business relationship, and help your customer overcome transformation fatigue.

My company, SAP, has been a transformation leader, developing methodologies on the customer lifecycle and integrating a suite of digital technologies to create intelligent enterprises. Are you interested in learning about how SAP and our partners digitally service the customer community? Visit for more information on the SAP PartnerEdge program.




Ira Simon (follow me on Twitter – @IraASimon) is global vice president, Partner & SME Marketing, at SAP. Learn more about partnership opportunities at:

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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