How Midsize Companies Turn Digital Investments Into Long-Term Partnerships

Karl Fahrbach

Part 6 of the “6 Attitudes of Best-Run Midsize Businesses” series 

It’s no secret that midmarket businesses are taking advantage of a wide variety of digital capabilities. With access to affordable technologies such as data management solutions, analytics, and cloud environments, they are empowered to compete with the insight, reach, and vision of a large enterprise and the agility, innovation, and speed of a startup.

However, hidden deep in the digital strategies of most growing companies is a truth that’s keeping them from realizing the full potential of these capabilities. According to the IDC InfoBrief “Becoming a Best-Run Midsize Company: How Growing Companies Benefit from Intelligent Capabilities,” the traditional, siloed approach to supporting digital initiatives is hindering midsize companies’ ability to increase efficiency and create an aligned portfolio of digital investments that enable future growth.

What’s needed is the centralized sponsorship of the business leadership team, said the IDC report. This tactic is especially advantageous to midsize businesses when investments in a technology provider are developed into a long-term partnership that fuels company-wide coordination, support, and commitment.

Executive buy-in matters when establishing partnerships

The IDC report offers a timely warning to midsize companies. I often encounter businesses that mirror the tactics of their larger competitors as they let their individual functional areas choose, purchase, and implement their own technologies in a siloed, ad hoc fashion. This method may work well at first, but, inevitably, operational efficiency declines, alignment with the business strategy is lost, and opportunity for future growth and innovation is restricted.

Change that leads to a significant, lasting impact across the company begins at the top of business leadership. By shepherding an open dialog with the entire workforce, executive leaders can shape a coherent and balanced strategy for digital transformation with a shared framework, road map, and set of guiding principles.

Even more powerful is when leadership extends that conversation to include the technology provider. By complementing that mutual understanding of expectations, values, and goals with complementary expertise in the latest technologies, industry practices, functional processes, and niche scenarios, providers can inspire a level of innovation that makes sense for the company.

For example, a solution provider can leverage its ecosystem of resellers, industry organizations, and existing customer base to address the needs of a specific midmarket client. This approach gives the vendor the flexibility to offer the right technologies, deployment options, and support services that can reduce costs and develop products and innovation opportunities that may be otherwise out of reach for a midsize company. 

Centralized sponsorships unlock enduring, outcome-focused relationships

Organizational changes – no matter how big or small – ultimately impact the entire business, end to end. For this reason, it is imperative that executive leadership fully commit and communicate the company’s digital vision throughout the workforce and with the technology provider. 

By combining expertise, strategies, and economies of scale, midmarket companies and their providers can work together as a strong partnership – innovating complementary, integrated, and outcome-focused solutions that enable the business to stay current, evolve, and grow without disruption.

Get a real-world view of how your attitude and mindset toward digitalization can turn your company into a best-run business. We invite you to bookmark our series landing page “Six Attitudes of Best-Run Midsize Businesses” and check it for new insights and best practices. 

In the meantime, read the IDC InfoBrief, “Becoming a Best-Run Midsize Company: How Growing Companies Benefit from Intelligent Capabilities,” sponsored by SAP, to discover the opportunities ahead for best-run midsize businesses.


Karl Fahrbach

About Karl Fahrbach

Karl Fahrbach is head of Global Channels and is responsible for SAP’s indirect channel worldwide. Karl’s mandate is to strengthen SAP's competitive advantage in the reseller and partner ecosystem across all market segments with a strategic focus on the General Business marketplace. Under his leadership the organization is focused on accelerating the growth of SAP’s channel ecosystem by driving co-innovation with partners, launching new partner economic models and by ensuring excellence in sales and implementation capacity.