As every industry moves forward in their unique journey of digital transformation, organizations are realizing they have access to more data than ever before. But while demand for this information is high, it’s estimated only 0.5% is being used in a meaningful way. Companies across every industry need to get creative in how they use data to drive their businesses forward. Whether they’re improving the patient experience in healthcare or simplifying contract management, it’s our partners who will lead this charge and make a real difference in the world.

Thinking big with data

Thanks to advances in technology, we have access to an enormous amount of both real-time and predictive data. In our digital era, the creativity to put that data to good use is critical to partner success. With technology such as cloud computing, connected devices, advanced analytics, mixed reality, and artificial intelligence, we can accomplish amazing things within every industry vertical.

Last month at Microsoft Envision, I joined Ron Huddleston in a session that explored some of the ways partners are creatively harnessing data to build specialized industry solutions. Two of our partners, Icertis and PROS Software, joined us on stage to talk about how they’re helping customers navigate their own transformations, and sharpening their industry focus to help build deeper customer understanding.

As we learned, this takes time and in-depth conversations around customer needs and business outcomes—not product recommendations. To succeed in the industry space, partners need to build on what already exists to create something new, specific, and different that helps customers make a real impact.
Here are some more important lessons from Microsoft partners on the front lines of digital transformation.


Through their cloud-based contract lifecycle management platform, Icertis helps organizations increase the speed of contracting, improve compliance, mitigate risk, and boost user productivity. On stage at Envision, Executive Vice President Peter Boit talked about his learnings in Icertis’ effort to keep up with a rapidly changing market. He said the key to success was data, user experience, and the ability to listen to the customer.

To keep up with this rapid pace of change, organizations need to take a new, more customer-centric approach to doing business, but they also need to recognize things will continue to change—and that it might not be realistic to try to do it all in one big step.

“Encourage customers to start at the ground level, and then take on the next thing. Look for partners, look for platforms that give them the ability to change over time.”
—Peter Boit, EVP of Business Development and Operations, Icertis.

PROS, Inc.

PROS is a cloud software company that helps enterprises in the manufacturing, healthcare, and many other industries create a personalized buying experiences powered by data-based pricing science. Dewey Forrester, vice president of Global Alliances and Business Development at PROS, explained how customers can be your best teachers in a rapidly changing market. He said B2B enterprises are heavily influenced by B2C experiences that are more personalized and responsive. Forrester believes one of the most important things partners can do before moving to the cloud is to talk to other partners and learn from their experiences.

“The good news for partners like us, who have embraced a SaaS offering on Azure, is that it makes it all simpler. It makes it easier.”
—C. Dewey Forrester, Jr., VP of Global Alliances and Business Development, PROS, Inc..

Solving real-world problems with data

Being a leader in technology today means being a champion for your customers through this time of change and opportunity. The data-insights we’ll gain from this new wave of capabilities come with a responsibility to both customers and society at large. As partners such as Icertis and PROS have shared, we need to listen more and create solutions that solve real-world problems.


What businesses in the technology industry do you see as examples of digital leadership? Share your thoughts with the Microsoft Partner Community here.

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