Originally posted on 3/7/2013
Xerox was once again at the center of a 2013 ASAP Global Alliance Summit session. Executives from EMC, Cisco, CA Technologies, and Xerox formed a roundtable titled “Long Strange Trip: Lessons Learned from a Complex, Multipartner Cloud Service Alliance” to discuss how they partnered to bring the latter’s cloud services offerings to market.
Scott Bartos, CA-AM, vice president of high-tech alliances at Xerox, began by outlining why Xerox felt these other companies would be the best partners to help design the right solution and service “high-intimacy” client relationships. Some of Xerox’s most credible clients said Cisco had a solid channel program, which was critical because Xerox is still relatively new to bringing offerings to market through resellers. EMC's strong storage capabilities filled a critical gap in the solution, and the company’s intimate sales model fit in with Xerox’s go-to-market strategy. CA Technologies brought a “unique application flair” Xerox hadn’t baked into its plan, according to Bartos. Moreover, each of the four parties shared common competitors.
Rob Minaglia, CA-AM, vice president of strategic alliances at CA Technologies, saw Xerox as a conduit to minimize risk and get to market quickly. In a fast-paced industry like IT, windows don’t stay open too long. This alliance allowed CA Technologies to get to market without engaging in any time-consuming deep product development. Also, Xerox’s client base presented an opportunity for high-volume sales, and by going to market jointly and cobranding an offering, Minaglia said all of the partners were sending a significant message to its many common customers.
“[We] are better together,” he said.
Dave Molge, global account manager at EMC, echoed the sentiment about the tight window of market opportunity and noted that if EMC didn’t work with the ecosystem, his company would lose out on millions of dollars in sales.
“When you look at this market, we can’t be successful without Xerox, CA, and Cisco,” he said.
He added that the alliance galvanized his sales force. After a few quick wins, the sales people felt very confident that the Xerox offering was a reliable way to hitting their quotas.
John Hartman, client executive at Cisco, added that the Xerox alliance team competes internally for its sales people’s attention because the latter have the option to sell similar offerings through Xerox competitors that are also Cisco partners—competing against other partners entails walking a “delicate line,” he said. Hartman and his team put an emphasis on beefing up its collateral, and working very closely with the sales team to show them Xerox’s value proposition. His philosophy was to address their top-of-mind issues, including the most pressing question: how do I get compensated?
“You can lose them if you don’t give those details in five minutes up front,” he said.
All of the panelists agreed that this relatively nascent alliance that was formed in the last year still has plenty of room to grow. The partners are still building out capabilities and the cloud services industry itself is still evolving rapidly. The companies have made great progress in understanding the value proposition, “but we still have to do more work in that area,” said Molge.
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