The company we keep is a crucial part of our daily lives whether we realize it or not. Regardless of how each connection positively or negatively impacts us, the root of the relationship is always trust.

The same can be said for the partnership between a business and its technology experts and process consultants. Although based on a contractual agreement of mutually agreed terms, there is still a level of trust and expectation underlying all interactions and investment decisions. Executives rely on the technical depth and resources the partner possesses to develop the intelligent capabilities that will help their company surpass the most established competitor and ward off the smallest startup.

But, as interest in intelligent technologies – such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, machine learning, predictive analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT) – continues to grow, partners are increasing in importance. In fact, I am finding that businesses on a path to becoming intelligent enterprises are building and managing a trusted, collaborative network of partners that offer a wide array of expertise and methodologies.

Partners: Driving Force Behind a High-Performing Intelligent Enterprise

To fully realize the promise of the Intelligent Enterprise, businesses need to move from their current architecture to a new, digital-ready environment. For partners, this often means confronting substantial customization and viewing every implementation end-to-end as a one-of-a-kind puzzle.

But at the start of every intelligent enterprise, the digital core – typically an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system – begins to prove restrictive as it cannot support the new operating model. For example, data cannot be processed fast enough to generate insights that improve the agility to tackle risks and opportunities in real time. So, a younger workforce is unable to fully use digital skills that come naturally to them, and customer experiences continue to disappoint due to disjointed buying experiences and difficult-to-use products.

Such a significant threat can cause businesses to question the trust-based relationship. However, the right partners can reassess, reimagine, and recreate an intelligent, digital model for the company based on four fundamental tasks:

  • Align the business case, architecture, and solution recommendation based on the customer’s strategic priorities
  • Leverage design thinking to envision the possibilities of the new implementation from a variety of user perspectives
  • Design an executable implementation plan based on the customer’s maturity in digital skill, acceptance of technology adoption, and willingness to change
  • Generate value that everyone in the business can see and experience

By taking this approach, partners can help their customers adopt intelligent technologies in a way that matches specific industry and line-of-business needs. Together, they can prompt an outcome-driven strategy and road map, brought to life with proven business scenarios and accelerated return on investment (ROI).

Foundational Bond for Sustainable, Outcome-Driven Digitalization

When committed to driving a successful transition to an intelligent enterprise, businesses should consider a variety of purpose-built tools and content to accelerate the journey and ROI. And for this reason, undergoing such a change alone can be highly challenging, risky, and resource-intensive.

But once a knowledgeable partner is introduced into the initiative, businesses can benefit from a collaborative approach that looks at the transformation end-to-end. Organizations can understand the business value of every step towards an intelligent enterprise and energize adoption of new ways of getting work done. This can only happen through a strong partner relationship based on collaboration and trust.

Discover the SAP blueprint that can help your business move from value discovery to value delivery. Read the whitepaper “Enabling the Intelligent Enterprise for Best-Run Businesses.”

This is final part of the five-part series “The Anatomy of the Intelligent Enterprise.” Over the past few weeks, we examined how businesses can optimize the transition to an intelligent enterprise. Read the other parts of the series here.

Oliver Huschke is global head of Solution Marketing and Communications for SAP Digital Business Services. Follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.