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Transform or Risk Extinction (Part One): ‘Become the Yoda to Our Channel Partners’

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, May 21, 2018
Updated: Sunday, May 20, 2018

This is the first of two blogs continuing my April 2018 eSAM Plus article on “Architecting for Transformation: The Next Generation Partner Ecosystem,” the title of a lively conference session led by Russ Cobb, senior vice president, growth and business operations at SAS Institute, and Norma Watenpaugh, CSAP, founding principal, Phoenix Consulting Group. The two took the stage at the 2018 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Propelling Partnering for the On-Demand World: New Perspectives + Proven Practices for Collaborative Business,” March 26-28, 2018, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. Cobb and Watenpaugh provided a frank tutorial on seismic changes in channel partnering. The drivers, they explained, are the convergence of SMAC (social media, mobile computing, analytics, and cloud technology), the change in technology consumption, the rise of digital transformation (DX), and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Watenpaugh: We need to become the Yoda to our channel partners. They need our support in areas like: how to sell to the line of business, the C-level, how these products integrate together to make a solution. The ability to manage the customer experience is going to be primary. I don’t think we’ve gotten it mastered. To enable our partners, we need to know that:

  • The trusted advisors role requires in-depth knowledge of customers’ businesses
  • The ability to manage the customer experience is key
  • Digital transformation and IoT require a more verticalized approach and expertise

Russ: I agree. This is an area where we need to put the greatest emphasis. IT is a commodity, if you think of the tech itself; you cannot create a lasting competitive advantage simply on IT advancement. This was going on almost a decade ago. The tech is going to get quicker and quicker. We are a company that is very proud of our products. We build lots of different products and product market segments. You need to ask, what unique value propositions do you have that are relevant to your customer? If you are not there, you are not going to win these conversations over time because you will not be able to provide the most value.

IoT, in particular, is very specific to your customer. We had some false starts in IoT with our partners. Now, we are trying to determine at an industry level, what is the value proposition were going to provide? You have to get really concrete about what that is. You want to add value to them not only on a cost basis but also on an innovation basis.

Watenpaugh: There are no simple partner models anymore. They are adopting complex, multi-faceted business models where they do all of the above.

Check out the May 2018 issue of eSAM Plus for other topics addressed in Watenpaugh and Cobb’s session as well as ASAP Media’s coverage of other sessions at the 2018 ASAP Global Alliance Summit. Stay tuned for Part Two of this blog post, in which Watenpaugh and Cobb discuss how to find value in complex partnering business models.

Tags:  business models  channel partners  complex partnering  digital transformation  IoT  Norma Watenpaugh  partner models  Phoenix Consulting Group  Russ Cobb  SAS Institute  value propositions 

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