Vertical Solution Providers Need to Adopt Data-Centric Approach to Digital Transformation

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How does digital transformation impact Vertical Solution Providers (VSPs) and what are the associated threats and opportunities? In my view, VSPS are to the forefront of the digital transformation charge, increasingly adding sensors and software analytics to their solutions to allow customers extract incremental value.

The big game changer

Of course, technology continues to be the big game changer. IoT sensors have dramatically reduced in price and with consumption-based pricing models, the Cloud has become a cost effective option for even small and medium sized business to consider. While not yet mainstream, we are increasingly seeing Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning plus Virtual and Augmented Reality being adopted. At the same time, VSPs are under increasing pressure from customers to offer flexible deployment options and innovative pricing models.

Data rules OK

Data continues to be central – the so-called new currency of the marketplace. However, it needs to be captured, secured, managed, stored, and analyzed, sometimes in real-time to trigger automatic actions – just think of autonomous vehicles. Increasingly, data also needs to be integrated and combined with other data sources in order to generate unique business insights and facilitate new revenue streams or customer services.

All of this means that Vertical Solution Providers are uniquely positioned to leverage data to transform a whole range of industries and in the process ensure their own businesses remain competitive and relevant.

Be data-centric and outcomes focused

This is pretty exciting stuff as the implications for business model innovation for VPS and their customers are huge. However, to exploit this opportunity, VSPs need to adopt a data-centric approach when designing solutions.

It’s all about thinking long-term business outcomes versus short-term product solutions. After all, in our connected world, making money is not limited to physical product sales; other revenue streams after the initial product sale, including value-added services, subscriptions, and apps, can easily exceed the initial solution purchase price.

Foster partnerships

There’s also a need to take off any blinkers and look outside for inspiration. Instead of just focusing on developing your own capabilities – important as that continues to be – you should also think about how you will monetize your product and how your product can allow others to also generate value.

My top tips for success

  1. Design solutions that can scale to meet customer’s growing data needs today and in the future. For example, if you are building a surveillance solution that can protect a building, how can it scale to protect the neighborhood or indeed the entire city? Think ahead.
  2. Design tailored solutions that will optimize the performance of your application. Remember –not all workloads are created equal. There are horses for courses. Some workloads require rapid response time (low latency). For example, in financial markets, the execution time of a high frequency trade is counted in microseconds. Others like photo and video sharing need the capacity to store and archive vast amount of data.
  3. Have a data strategy in mind when building your solutions. How can you monetize the data your solutions are capturing in order to maximize value for you and your customers?
  4. Some use cases are becoming more mature such as predictive/proactive maintenance, but keep an open mind as the possibilities for new ideas are endless. I am seeing exciting innovation from start-ups across all verticals, for example solutions that identify patterns to measure customer satisfaction, and offer preventive actions to retain business or detect fraud more efficiently.

The good news is that Dell EMC OEM has a long track record of partnering with VSPs. In May of this year, we unveiled hyperconvergence upgrades, designed for customers that are grappling with ongoing digital transformation efforts, and the pressure to deliver higher performance and greater automation.

For example, our PowerMax storage enterprise line now includes sNVMe support and a built-in machine learning engine while XtremIO all-flash array offers native replication for the first time and a lower entry-level price. In the server arena, we expanded our PowerEdge portfolio and recently announced bundled server solutions designed to accelerate AI-driven workloads.

Leading the charge

In conclusion, I believe that VSPs are poised to disrupt different industries and drive positive societal change. Just think of the potential for better patient care, more efficient manufacturing plus smarter and safer digital cities.

In upcoming blogs, I plan to look at this topic in more detail and discuss how it relates to specific vertical industries. In the meantime, do you have tips to share? What has been your experience of digital transformation?  I welcome your comments and questions. Do join the conversation.

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