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Partnering and Digital Transformation, Part Two: A Preview of the June 7 ASAP Tech Partner Forum with Erna Arnesen, CSAP

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Tuesday, June 6, 2017

I’m back for Part Two of ASAP Media’s conversation with Erna Arnesen, CSAP, whom you can talk to yourself if you’re attending the Wednesday, June 7, 2017, ASAP Tech Partner Forum. Erna is a well-known and widely respected figure not just within ASAP but also in the high-tech community, where she’s been recognized as one of “Silicon Valley’s Women of Influence” by the Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal. Erna currently serves as chief channel and alliance officer at ZL Technologies and has been working with a team of fellow ASAP Silicon Valley Chapter leaders to launch the ASAP Tech Partner Forum, which is focused on how to “collaborate at the speed of digital transformation” and hosted by gaming processor board maker NVIDIA at its corporate HQ in Santa Clara, Calif.

Erna also is the facilitator of a pivotal panel discussion on “Strategies You Need to Partner Everywhere,” where she will be joined onstage by Steen Graham, general manager, IoT ecosystem/channels, Internet of Things Group, Intel; Maria Olson, VP of global and strategic alliances at NetApp; and Andres Sintes, Cisco’s global senior director, partner GTM, digital transformation & IoT. We ended Part One http://www.strategic-alliances.org/blogpost/1143942/277657/Partnering-and-Digital-Transformation-A-Preview-of-the-June-7-ASAP-Tech-Partner-Forum-with-Erna-Arnesen-CSAP of this article in the middle of Erna describing what she plans to discuss with her fellow panelists—and why these are urgent topics for technology partnering and strategy executives.

ASAP Media: The event theme focuses squarely on how partnering and strategy must evolve to keep pace with digital transformation. How do you and your panelists intend to approach this topic?

As high-tech companies work to evolve and transform the way both they and their customers do business, partnering strategy is more complex. It’s complicated because you need to work with more and more partners doing bits and pieces of the total solution. While the technology connections are often highly automated, the collaboration often is manual. So we’re trying to manage the partnerships of complex technologies, many things in business are being digitally transformed, but our ability to work with partners isn’t that developed yet. Maria Olson of NetApp will talk about that—how even with her largest alliance partners, like Cisco, a lot of the communication, such as exchanging information, sharing leads, and so on are not always being handled with sophisticated technologies.

Andres Sintes of Cisco is going to raise some of the critical questions involved when you are focused on the infrastructure behind partnering. How do you connect ecosystems and share tools when you are still using 20th century technologies? Are we the cobbler’s children? Why are we as partners sometimes lacking the technology?

Another, related line of discussion is the process of simplification. As people digitally transform their businesses, they need to figure out how to make the more complex systems simpler from an operational standpoint. Whether you’re involved in two-way or multi-partner collaborations, you still need to have this mindset.

From a strategy standpoint, what other issues are top-of-mind for your panel—and presumably other strategy, partnering, and channel executives?

Everyone on our panel wanted to talk vertical strategy. Are we moving back, or forward, toward a verticalized set of tools and solutions? We believe that many partners and shared customers do have unique vertical requirements, and all three of my colleagues will give some examples of where they see that effect. We’ll also tie that into the Internet of Things (IoT), where you’re working with partners that often are not even IT providers, but vertical suppliers that evolved into digital strategies forcing them to be more IT centric.

Also we hope to have some discussion about very large, complex digitization like Smart Cities. The technology is advancing to make the Smart Cities vision more feasible. Cisco has been talking about it and developing the vision for 10 years—again, it’s one of the verticals with opportunity.

Another theme is monetization. People throw around digital transformation and integration of IoT, but what’s the real return on investment (ROI)?  What’s the strategy for monetization for you and partners, and what’s the benefit for customers in terms of their ROI?

Our last theme will address the effects of digital transformation on the partnering strategy. What is the impact on the ecosystem of today and tomorrow?

This will be an in-depth, hour-long discussion. In a nutshell, what do your panelists hope participants will take away with them when they return to their jobs?

To partner at scale for digital transformation, companies really have to build out more of the IT infrastructure around their alliance partnerships. They also need to focus on a multi-partner approach, verticalization, and simplification. If I had to summarize the messages they will share, it will be along the lines of those four major elements.  Let’s see how the panel discussion unfolds, though, and what insights are in store for the audience.

Read more in Part One of our Q&A with Erna Arnesen discussing the June 7, 2017, ASAP Tech Partner Forum at http://www.strategic-alliances.org/blogpost/1143942/277657/Partnering-and-Digital-Transformation-A-Preview-of-the-June-7-ASAP-Tech-Partner-Forum-with-Erna-Arnesen-CSAP.  Learn more details about the event program at www.asaptechforum.org.  

Tags:  alliance partnerships  Andres Sintes  channel executives  Cisco  Digital transformation  ecosystem  Intel  Internet of Things (IoT)  IT infrastructure  Maria Olson  monetization  multi-partner collaborations  NetApp  partnering strategy  partnerships  simplification  Smart Cities  Steen Graham 

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