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‘It’s About the Relationships, Stupid’—Finding the Fullest Potential and Meaning in Your Partnerships

Posted By Geena B. Richards and Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Maria Olson, CSAP encouraged her audience to reach their full potential in business alliances during an inspirational talk at the 2017 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Profit, Innovation, and Value for the Part­nering Enterprise,” Feb. 28–March 2, at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley, San Diego, California. During one of four plenary  “Leadership Spotlights,” NetApp’s vice president of global and strategic alliances told her listeners, “You have a duty to understand your true potential. If you don’t, you are cheating yourself and stealing from the world.” She then then provided several tools for unlocking that “true potential.”

Olson will be providing more thoughtful advice for her fellow leaders as a panelist at the ASAP Tech Partner Forum to be held at NVIDIA in Santa Clara, Calif., next Wed., June 7, 2017. In an in-depth session moderated by Erna Arnesen, chief channel and alliance officer at ZL Technologies, Olson will join Steen Graham of Intel, and Andres Sintes of Cisco to discuss “Strategies You Need to Partner Everywhere.” http://www.asaptechforum.org/17/tech17sessions.html#everywhere

“It’s not about the tech, it’s about the relationships . . . Without the relationships, we would not have the success,” Olson emphasized in her March 1 plenary talk. “As partners, have we reached the full potential, or are we still on the journey?” she then asked the audience to consider. Partnerships are important, and if they can reach peak potential and performance, they can have an even larger impact, she added. To do so, consider four key questions:

  • What is the meaning of the partnership?
  • What is the purpose of the partnership?
  • What impact is this partnership having on our customers and the market?
  • What contribution is this having in terms of revenue, innovation, and to our society as a whole?

It can be approached like a mathematical equation, Olson said: “You need to understand the meaning, purpose, contribution, and impact. When you understand these things, it will ultimately lead to success.” Ask yourself, “What was the meaning of this partnership? It was really about creating value for the customer,” she then answered. “The purpose was flexibility—being able to bring together pieces to make it easy for the customers. The impact it has had is innovation.”

Now consider multi-alliances, she continued. “Trying to work with two partners is hard, but with each new partner, it gets harder and harder. The multiplier effect is like partnering with an earthquake. You have a Richter Scale going on of 10.” To organize and assess many partnerships, she advised following these key points:

  • Have key performance measures in place to measure partner success
  • Measure revenue in terms of go-to-market initiatives
  • Consider how the company is performing in terms of training and enablement with channel partners
  • Make co-innovation a priority

With each relationship, applying these points will bring greater alliance success, Olson said. “The key to relationships is trust. . . . Trust is extra important in terms of being able to partner with companies and go back to the meaning, purpose, etc. Without trust, one cannot create greatness,” she added.

“So how do you help your teams understand their full potential? The Cisco/NetApp partnership is about 10 years old, and we’re still reaching our full potential,” she concluded, and then she hinted at one last secret ingredient for the sauce: “What really drives people is learning, really trying to learn how to do things in a friendly environment.”

Learn more about the June 7, 2017 ASAP Tech Partner Forum, an all-day event for senior tech and partnering executives hosted by NVIDIA at its corporate HQ in Santa Clara, Calif., at www.asaptechforum.org

Tags:  Andres Sintes  ASAP Tech Partner Forum  Cisco  co-innovation  contribution  Erna Arnesen  go-to-market  High Tech  inpact  Intel  Internet of Things  IoT  Maria Olson  multi-alliances  NetApp  NVIDIA  Partner success  partnerships  Steen Graham  trust  ZL Technologies 

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