Driving innovation and value through powerful collaborations

Digital transformation has become a crucial part of our industries. In this fast-paced environment, it is important to build an ecosystem of partners to collectively drive value for our customers.

We are creating an ecosystem of key partners to accelerate and support digital transformation for the benefit of our customers.

Digital transformation has become a crucial part of our industries. Businesses are leveraging innovative digital technologies to propel efficiency, productivity and resilience. In this fast-paced environment, it is important to build an ecosystem of partners to collectively drive innovation and value for our customers.

According to International Data Corporation1, global spending on digital transformation technologies and services is expected to grow 10.4 percent this year to $1.3 trillion despite the worldwide pandemic. Several key industries, including data centers, food and beverage and commercial buildings, are swiftly adopting digital transformation technologies.

In an earlier post, we highlighted how ABB’s Electrification business area is providing practical support, especially in the current challenging times, through our suite of highly effective digital solutions for energy, asset, building management and e-mobility. The post also identifies an essential point – that we can accelerate our digital transformation journey with the right partners, something which is reflected in our unique and diverse approach to developing innovations.

Traditionally, large companies have an inside out approach to innovation, wherein several teams in the company understand the need of the market, develop new features or new solutions to cater to them and then introduce them in the market. This essentially limits innovation within the company because by the time the solutions reach the market, they are already outdated, and the market has further evolved. But, with rapid advancements enabled by digitalization, the development cycles are quicker and it is increasingly becoming easier for newer market entrants to offer solutions with similar innovative features.

To gain a competitive edge and simultaneously add incremental value to our customers at a time like this, we have broadened our platform and offerings to include best-in-class partners, creating a powerful ecosystem. Such an ecosystem is made up of a group of partners or collaborators that combine industry knowledge with understanding of our customers’ needs, leveraging the best of our complementary expertise to provide a topnotch customer experience.

Diverse range of partnerships

There are several ways in which we are collaborating with innovative technology partners, who are chosen after an extensive screening process. For example, we have a longstanding partnership with Microsoft and our digital solutions are built on its Azure cloud platform. Our interoperability partners include other cloud providers who provide the best digital experience for our customers based on their specific requirements. Last year for example, we announced the deployment of ABB Ability™ digital solutions to our Chinese customers via the Huawei Cloud infrastructure.

We also collaborate with our co-selling partners to deliver a customer-first approach. With them we establish a joint value proposition which combines the best of our solutions so we can develop and market common offerings that will help our customers embark on their digital journeys. For instance, we partnered with Hewlett Packard Enterprises and Rittal to offer the Secure Edge Data Center, a compact solution that combines the core elements of a real sized data center within one rack, while allowing data to be computed at the edge of the cloud.

We are also collaborating with value creation partners such as Accenture by opening our ABB Ability™ digital platform to facilitate the development of new, innovative smart applications for customers. These partners include startups, original equipment manufacturers, independent software vendors and software system integrators. We provide Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and Software Development Kits (SDKs) in our software developer portal that allows approved developers to build new applications to complement and augment our digital offering, which they will be able to either promote and monetize directly in the ABB Ability Marketplace™, or to integrate into their own offering.

ABB has for example partnered with Verdigris Technologies to develop machine-learning algorithms to predict unplanned peaks in power consumption and identify strategies to prevent them, adding two applications powered by artificial intelligence to our ABB Ability™ cloud solution for energy management.

In addition, our value realization partners, including our channel partners, such as panel builders, wholesalers and distributors play an essential role in promoting and selling our offerings in the market. We are working together to help them strengthen customer relationships beyond hardware sales, create an additional differentiator through our digital offering and promote the value of digital transformation. Partners certified under the ABB Value Provider Program are now able to sell preconfigured bundles which include our smart and connected devices along with our ABB AbilityTM digital solutions, with the option to incorporate additional services. Preconfigured digital solutions are easy to learn, implement and sell, helping provide partners with new, ongoing revenue streams that can diversify their business.

Finally, taking partnerships a step forward, we have also launched the ABB Connect Partner Hub to fuel digital collaboration and communication, creating value for both ABB and its customers. These partnerships are an essential part of ABB Electrification’s goal to continuously enhance our customers’ digital experience and deliver the most innovative, scalable and effective digital solutions. We have also extended our digital capabilities to support our customers in these unprecedented times by offering our digital services for free this year.

By building an ecosystem of partners, we are enabling outside-in innovation to offer best in class digital solutions for our customers. We thank all of our partners for their collaboration and look forward to continue working with them as we write drive digital change for society today and tomorrow.

1Report by IDC

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About the author

Erika Velazquez

Erika Velazquez is the Global Digital Ecosystem Manager for ABB’s Electrification Business. In this role, she is responsible to grow an ecosystem of collaborating partners to create, co-sell, and promote innovative digital solutions. Erika joined ABB in 2010 and has held different roles with increasing responsibility in market development, product management and marketing of renewable energies, microgrids and grid edge technologies. Erika holds a Mechanical and Electrical Engineering degree from Tecnologico de Monterrey (Mexico), a MSc in Sustainable Energy Futures from Imperial College London and has completed executive management training at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She enjoys playing the piano, travel, photography, hiking and gardening.
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