How special ARE you? The value of specialization

By Jeff Zobrist

One would be hard-pressed to argue that businesses today are challenged with maintaining the pace and complexity of technological advances in digital transformation, the need to differentiate to stand out from the competition and create valuable business outcomes for existing customers. Prospects today are conducting research themselves in advance not only on products and solutions but also on the partner organizations they consider engaging for support. That’s why so many solution providers are turning to specialization to help their customers achieve the business outcomes they require. The value of specialization cannot be overrated.

What is specialization?

Specialization is the process of focusing investments and executing on a limited scope of products, services, or vertical markets to maximize value to the customer. It involves the exercise of knowing, understanding, honing and practicing core competencies in serving specific customer needs and bringing forward related business insights. The idea is to optimize existing unique capabilities to achieve efficiency, sustainable competitive advantages, strengthened customer experience, increased profitability and long term growth. Nobody can know everything in every market or geographical location, doing everything for everybody and expect to succeed. How exhausting – and ineffective!

Ultimately, optimized expertise contributes to creating and delivering value to customers. It requires a superior positioning strategy that is difficult for others; more importantly, competitors, to imitate. Bottom line: It is vital for building business viability, competitive strength and customer loyalty. Here are what we consider to be the top three benefits of specialization.

Better differentiation = better value proposition

When companies specialize, they can more accurately communicate their unique business differentiator and what they can do to satisfy the needs, wants and expectations of their target markets over companies that generalize in a related field. For example, our solution partners who specialize in a particular product or focus industry stand out among the pack of generalists by offering integrated software and services often supported by unique intellectual property.

Clear and well-guided operational focus

Like I said above, no company can be everything to everyone. By specializing or focusing on one or two niches, companies can reduce their learning curve and become more efficient with time and attention. It results in better knowledge and expertise that leads to clear operational focus within the realm of key competencies.

Validated position of authority

If you need a knee replacement, would you prefer to take a standard mass-produced standard model? Or would you seek an orthopedic surgeon who uses 3D technology and medical devices personalized to your knee based on a specialized template designed for your anatomy? Most would perceive the latter as being more authoritative and knowledgeable and go that route. It’s the same for our partners. The individual or company with the specialty commands more authority.  

At Siemens, our Solution Partners with Smart Expert recognition are considered our most accomplished partners. They possess proven technical expertise in a product or industry and have customers who can back them up and vouch for their knowledge, skills – and they deliver exceptional customer experiences. Without a competent services component, partners are merely resellers. The Siemens Smart Expert initiative helps partners evolve and strengthen their specialization around three key pillars – sales, services, and unique partner intellectual property. Customers demand the assurance that the specialists they engage can do for them what they have done for others – as they should. Specialization helps build confidence and trust to sustain lifetime customer value. After all, that’s why we’re here.

Jeff Zobrist, Vice President of Global Solution Partner Sales at Siemens Digital Industries Software, has over 25 years of experience in the IT and software industry, helping partners build businesses that prosper and deliver exceptional customer experiences. He is passionate about and responsible for optimizing go-to-market strategies, developing and leading industry-recognized solution partner programs, and building thriving global partner ecosystems organizations.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at