The world of business is sometimes perceived as a giant Monopoly game, where the luck of the dice and accumulation of assets win the game. For Larry Walsh, a more appropriate analogy is a chess game, with complex and sophisticated strategy that requires foresight and skillful coordination of the “chessmen” to provide an advantage. Walsh will be sharing his perspective and strategic insights during an “ASAP Quick Takes” talk “Seeing Around the Corners is a Masterful Move on the Partnering Chessboard” March 2 at the ASAP Global Alliance Summit. This year’s Summit, “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem,” is scheduled to take place March 1-4 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland. Patterned after the popular “TED Talks,” and well-received at the 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference, ASAP will bring four provocative speakers to the stage to provide key, interlocking pieces about emerging ecosystems.
“Anyone who plays chess has their set of moves,” explains the chief analyst and CEO of The 2112 Group during an interview about the upcoming talk. “You know what you hope your opponent will do. It’s not so much about the element of strategy as much as why we need to do the things we need to do, and why avoiding them comes with risks. If you are focused on short-term planning, you are at risk for long-term disruption. If you fail to take into account what the opponent can and should do, you are putting yourself at risk. You need to survey and execute, making short- and long-term choices that increase success and mitigate risk.”
A journalist, analyst, author, and industry commentator, Walsh is also the founder of Channelnomics, a leading provider of IT channel news and analysis. He is an expert and seasoned commentator on the Internet of Things, cloud computing, security, and analytics and works with clients to understand their problems and challenges, developing realistic outlooks and strategies to translate to operational frameworks for effective execution.
“An effective strategy mirrors a vision,” he continues. “The first step in any successful venture is establishing what it is that you’re doing and why. The strategy outlines how you’re going to do it: a surveying and understanding of your landscape; an identification of where you’re going to play; your inventory, resources, and strengths; and translating all that go into how you’re going to execute your plan. Strategy development—a critical phase—is about making choices. And if you fail to make the right ones, you often put yourself at risk.”
He provides a current-day example: A client today has dozens of reseller partners. Two-thirds haven’t made a sale. To understand why sales are not being made, and how to get to first, second, and sustained sales, requires assessing and determining what resources are needed and to come up with a strategy and execution plan for sustained revenue generation. One of the risks, however, is that “lots of businesses say they make choices, but they are consumed by revenue generation and don’t discriminate between good and bad decisions. They also fail to anticipate. This is where surveying the landscape equates with chess. If you don’t survey the landscape and understand your competition, you can’t anticipate what the opposition will do,” he says.
Business is often reactionary. When launching a new product, it’s critical to estimate and survive the competition’s response, he adds. For example, Tesla wasn’t the first electric car, but it has more staying power and innovation than others because the company had a strategy. Instead of trying to build a low-end, mass-produced car, Tesla built a high-end, very expensive car. High-end products attracted high-end buyers, which allowed them to plow money back into their product, he explains: “They knew the GMs and Toyotas and Nissans would counterattack with more hybrids or low-end versions of electric cars. See how their strategy worked? Who is coming out with high-end electric cars that are more moderately priced? Porsche, Mercedes, BMW.”
Different industries work at different paces for different reasons, sometimes to collaboration’s advantage, he notes. Collaborations can influence the pace at which data is turned into intelligence. It’s sometimes faster and more economical to partner with companies than to reinvent them. Leverage partnering strengths and offset company weaknesses for speed, efficiency, and effectiveness, he advises. “If we identify that our objective is a certain point ahead, and our resources can get us halfway there, then we need to look around for alliance partners to fill in blanks.”
For more information on this topic, click here for Walsh’s webinar “The Channel Is Not the Best Route to Market but It Can Be,” which joins last year’s previous channel-related webinars now archived in the ASAP Member Resource Library, available for free to ASAP members (nonmembers can access for a fee).