Service transformations through strategic partnerships

13 April 2023

The following is an article on digitisation by Muhannad Nabulsi, Services Channel Transformation Leader, MEA at Schneider Electric

Business resiliency and continuity remain among the most trending outcomes sought by any end user. Regarding the ICT sector, security, asset performance management, efficiency, and equipment lifecycle management are a major priority. However, as this demand grows, we still see 38% of infrastructure-related incidents resulting in loss of production. In addition, about 25% of end users reported needing help to meet their sustainability goals (Cooke et al., 2020).

With this in mind, we see a steep increase in demand for specialised infrastructure services, prompting a response from technology and equipment providers and local infrastructure service providers (an entity that provides value-added, after-sales, operational services to another party). To meet this demand and provide end users with relevant value-added services, technology and equipment providers embrace the strength of local small, medium, and large infrastructure service providers that have established long-term market presence with specialised competencies on board.

Therefore, companies like Schneider Electric aim to support more local providers and empower them towards digitalisation through programmes like Schneider Electric’s EcoXpert network that fosters an ecosystem of elite partnerships and initiatives like’s SME Empowerment Programme. founder and CEO Shadi Banna commented on the significance of supporting SMEs to prioritise digitisation efforts, which will be significantly helped by the program’s partners (Staff, 2021).

By 2025, more than 50% of enterprise-managed data will be created and processed outside the data centre or cloud. This trend shows how digital transformation pushes enterprises to adopt new strategies for growth in the IoT world and prepare for the upcoming changes. Likewise, technology and equipment providers have identified these trends and are now ready with relevant offers to match market demands (Bittman et al., 2021). This means the technology and equipment providers need to locate nowadays, according to an IDC white paper on Maximising Business Resilience Through Services, “partners with experience relative to their domain.”

It is critical that these partners understand trends and challenges specific to each industry and can bring the appropriate technology, process, and talent required for implementation (Cooke et al., 2020). This type of strategic partnership means that it is ever more critical for technology and equipment providers to empower local infrastructure service providers with two key pillars that support this type of strategic partnership.

Firstly, technology and equipment providers must provide suitable offerings and empowerment packages to their partner ecosystem to foster complementarity and leverage all available competencies to offer the best value-added services to the customer. On top of that, technology and equipment providers need to focus on capacity building, with an eye on developing local talent within the local infrastructure service provider’s network and enabling collective learning within these communities.

With these two pillars in mind, technology and equipment providers would play an instrumental role in empowering wide-scale digitalisation and electrification within national infrastructures.

Digitalisation is one of the most spoken-about topics of our era, with many enterprises planning to use internal resources to drive this transformation. However, 40% of respondents studied in an IDC white paper on maximising business resilience through services found that their entities lack the technology and big data analytics to tackle the situation. Only 9% of these respondents today rely on an external third party. This percentage will likely increase as more organizations understand the complexity of creating suitable algorithms to tackle asset performance issues (Cooke et al., 2020).

Nonetheless, we must remember this transformation’s financial burden, which causes many enterprises to slow down transformational advancements. However, with XaaS (everything as a Service) models growing at a lightning pace, these burdens are close to resolving. According to a publication by Bart Schouw, the global XaaS market is projected to grow $2.3 trillion in 2028, considering connectivity and IoT advancements in the last few years. XaaS models provide unparalleled benefits to enterprises regarding infrastructure investment burdens that may slow down their plans toward digitalisation. Local providers that have contributed long-term towards providing infrastructure solutions to various enterprises are now looking forward to being empowered with XaaS offers that can help them provide more value to their end customers.

This need is prompting technology and equipment providers to work hand in hand with their strategic partners to help drive these solutions and deliver exemplary service to the right consumer. Remember, digitalisation is not one size fits all, meaning specialized talents within local infrastructure service provider organizations must be trained to deliver the right solution to the right customer and at the right price.

In that case, we can see that we can anticipate a spike in energy use in this sector from the current estimated 4-6% of all electricity generated globally in 2020, according to the study by The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology in the United Kingdom. This trend shows us the importance of strategic partnerships in serving the needs of the ICT sector in its drive toward digitalisation. Furthermore, with electrification needs on the rise, these strategic partnerships between technology and equipment providers and their local infrastructure service provider networks create an all-hands-on-deck approach to meet the growing electrification demands of the sector and ensure the reliability of the infrastructure backbone of digital transformation.

The transformations discussed here are focused on two main areas: digitalisation and electrification. While ICT transformation is much broader and more complex than these two pillars, the need for large-scale technology and equipment providers to focus on empowering local small, medium, and large infrastructure service providers to support national infrastructure transformation is evident.

This empowerment, whether in the form of capacity building to develop local talent or through service offerings that promote complementarity is critical to meet the growing demands of the ICT sector. Remember, strategic partnerships are a win-win-win engagement that combines strong coverage capabilities with the power of large-scale enterprise solutions from global technology and equipment providers to transform end users’ infrastructure into a more digital and electrical one. Thus, more reliable, more resilient, more efficient, and more sustainable infrastructure.

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