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The Value of Honing in on Partner Specialization and Expertise—the Google Way

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Google has been called a trendsetter; a more apt description might be “epoch-maker.” The company repeatedly has surged ahead of the pack to set long-term standards. When adapting to the evolving multi-industry, multi-partner ecosystem, Google places great value on making specialization and expertise central to strategy, says Nina Harding, channel chief at Google Cloud. Harding discussed that message today in her session “Transforming Partnerships in the Cloud” at the 2018 ASAP Tech Partner Forum, “Reimaging Part­nering in a Disruptive World,” on October 17, at the Four Points by Sheraton, San Jose Airport, San Jose, California. In a fascinating pre-Forum interview, here’s what Harding honed in on:

Your session description describes Google’s link to transformation as pervasive in a world of continuous change. How does this philosophy fit into Google’s present partnering mindset?

We partner differently. We approach partnering much more from the ways companies and partners are transforming. I plan to talk a lot about traditional services and resellersthe way partners build their businesses. That traditional way is in the rear view mirror. We are finding increasingly the need to build businesses around where they have expertise, so it makes it easier to partner to fill in gaps. We ask the question: What do you want the ecosystem to do for you, and how do you want it to extend value for you? We look at channels differently as we meet with partners and look at the marketplace. Those traditional partners don’t exist anymore. They don’t show up as one type or two types anymore.

The shift from vendor to ecosystem partner requires figuring out for a particular company how they can best ride their business. You need to look at it more from a behavioral perspective: How can we make you successful or profitable? Or if you want to just sell, how can we unbridle you from the resell? Become strategic advisors if you don’t want to be bridled into reselling. We talk about transforming and looking at the landscape of the ecosystem and how they want to engage with us. It’s a very different approach. Companies like Google, SAP, and Microsoft used to have a lot of power in who their partners were. Now, with social media, purchasing is through networks. Our job is not to assess the value of a partner. Instead, it’s to differentiate the business. There is a fundamental shift in the way you want to engage and work with our ecosystem. We talk a lot more now about how we help partners differentiate in the marketplace and how we make them successful. Because we created a culture, we ask questions like: How do we find the right partner? How are they specialized? What is their expertise?

As one of the big leaders in this new ecosystem, how is Google adapting and adjusting to the change?

It’s critical. One of the biggest areas of investment in the last six months requires really focusing on industry perspective. For example, some of our great new partners and customers are makers of wearable devices, where they have the Google Cloud platform. This is not the traditional cloudwe take geospatial data, maps, linguistics, etc., and intertwine them. The power of having such tools and resources through Google partnering is to be able to deliver transformative options in, for example, the healthcare space. We also have Chrome. The utilitarian nature of a Chrome book allows hospitals and organizations to have a utility laptop that anyone can access. They can sign into their account regardless of it being their machinebecause everything is in the cloud. It’s not just signing into an epic system; it’s anything and everything they have access to as a user, from the G-suite to GCP, Chrome, maps. There’s a tower of solutions as a partner.

You state that companies need to become business advisors solving customer challenges in an agile, customer-centric, digital environment. Why is that the new normal?

Customers are almost ahead of partners sometimes in digital transformation, as partners are no longer going in to solve a lift-and-shift problem. Whole conversations need to be about imagining what your business could be and tackling what your next version of your business will be. It’s about transforming your businesshow to reach and serve your customer versus going in and saying “This is our tech, and this is how this will fit.” That’s the conversation we’re having about being that trusted advisor.

What are key considerations when building these new partnering programs?

I don’t think the partner program are vendor-driven, they are ecosystem-driven. So when building programs, build to make the partner successful. Build their business. In this world, it’s about innovation, digital transformation, and the need to infuse with tech enablement, but also it about how to think differently and imagine a different world than we have today. It’s a different way to enable partners. It doesn’t mean anything to a customer if you are a silver, bronze, or gold partner. But it means something if I have specialization or expertise to give you an idea of where you need to take your business. It’s about serving your ecosystem rather than measuring your ecosystem. My message is more about how should companies should be thinking differently working with their partners. Look at this from a different perspective and be customer-centric, which is a different philosophy.

Stay tuned for more of the ASAP Media team’s coverage of the 2018 ASAP Tech Partner Forum on the ASAP Blog at www.strategic-alliances.org. Learn more about the 2018 ASAP Tech Partner Forum at http://asaptechforum.org

Tags:  ASAP Tech Partner Forum  Chrome  cloud  customer-centric  digital Transformation  geospatial data  Google Cloud  innovation  Microsoft  multi-partner ecosystem  Nina Harding  partner programs  partners  SAP  strategic advisors 

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Vanguard Ecosystem Leadership: The Highly Successful Evolution of Salesforce’s Partnering Practices

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Salesforce’s vanguard leadership has been exemplary when building strong partnering ecosystems. As a rainmaker in the API economy, the company designed the largest technology ecosystem and most active cloud marketplace. Leslie Tom, senior vice president of AppExchange marketing and programs, has played a significant role in that transformation. In her session “API Economy: Salesforce AppExchange Partner Ecosystem” at the 2018 ASAP Tech Partner Forum, “Reimaging Part­nering in a Disruptive World,” on October 17, at the Four Points by Sheraton, San Jose Airport, San Jose, California, she plans to share strategy and insight on how to build and benefit from a strong partnering ecosystem, and the invaluable role alliance managers play in fostering a healthy ecosystem.

“Our alliance managers at Salesforce are different than at other tech companies,” Tom began the interview. “They are involved throughout the entire process of recruiting partners to build solutions, onboarding partners, and working with partners on their go-to-market for business growth. They are building customer success from day one. Our alliance managers are critical to the success of the partners, [and we are] all focused on the joint success of our customers. When partners come into our ecosystem, the sole focus really is on partner and customer success. We have a saying at Salesforce to our partners: ‘When you succeed, we succeed.’”

In late 2005, Tom joined Salesforce and started recruiting partners for the AppExchange. The AppExchange was launched in 2006. From the beginning, Salesforce had “partner account managers” that acted like alliance managers, she explained. During the past 12 years, the company developed a much larger team that is now “100 percent focused on partners, their success and joint customer success.” Salesforce’s alliance managers work with one to many partners, depending on the company size and revenue opportunity. One of the company’s newest partners, Nokia, underwent a transformation similar to what many larger Fortune 500 companies are now trying to create—new revenue channels through partnerships, she continued. The former phone maker transformed to serve communications service providers, governments, and consumers.  Nokia created Nokia Intelligent Care Assistant solution on the AppExchange to provide holistic view of the customer to drive fast solutions to customer care issues.

The AppExchange—the #1 enterprise cloud marketplace—also goes by another name: AppExchange, the Salesforce Store. “We refer to AppExchange as the Salesforce Store because it offers much more than apps,” she said. “In today’s customer-driven world, we have apps, components, bots, data sets, and more. In 2006, we were more of an app directory where customers could find Salesforce extensions. Today, the AppExchange offers intelligent recommendations, personalized engagement and guided learning paths to help our customers find the right solutions faster. We have more than 5,000 solutions and more than 6,000,000 installs on the AppExchange.”

Other app marketplaces offer a one-to-one exchange, such as if you download an app for your phone, she explained about the difference. “On the AppExchange, one solution can be deployed to thousands of users; it’s not a one-to-one exchange. In fact, 88 percent of all of our customers are using AppExchange solutions and 89 percent of the Fortune 100 use AppExchange solutions. What is also unique about the AppExchange is that we think about it like Amazon in terms of customer reviews and ratings. If you go to AppExchange.com, there are over 80,000 customer reviews with star ratings, so our customers can look at multiple solutions, evaluate on peer reviews, and find the right fit for their business challenges.”

She then returned to the central theme of the session and reiterated the most important point: building a strong partner ecosystem focused on the success of your customers. “If your focus is on customer success, your partners and your company will be successful together. That is how we work with our alliance managers—to ensure that our partners are focused on customer success.”

Stay tuned for more of the ASAP Media team’s coverage of the 2018 ASAP Tech Partner Forum on the ASAP Blog at www.strategic-alliances.org. Learn more about the 2018 ASAP Tech Partner Forum at http://asaptechforum.org

Tags:  alliance managers  Amazon  API Economy  AppExchange  ASAP Tech Partner Forum  customers  ecosystem  Leslie Tom  partners  Salesforce  solution  transformation 

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Rethinking Trust, Reshaping Industries: The Alliance Implications of Blockchain Technology as Seen Through the Eyes of IBM and ChromaWay

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson , Tuesday, October 16, 2018

IBM’s blockchain ledger solution has been gaining ground over the past year through extensive partnering. Much like a team sport, “the only way blockchain works is by participants in an ecosystem working together,” says Janine Grasso, vice president, blockchain strategy and ecosystem development, IBM Industry Platforms. Grasso was interviewed early in the year about blockchain technology for the Q1 2018 Strategic Alliance Magazine in the article “’An Exponential Adoption Curve’: The Changing Face of Data Security in Partnering”. When the article was first published, IBM had 40 to 50 active blockchain networks. That number has increased to 75 live networks solving industry-wide blockchain problems. Grasso will be discussing the implications of blockchain technology with co-speaker Todd Miller, CA-AM, vice president, US business development, ChromaWay, in the session “Rethinking Trust on the Blockchain: Partnering and Alliance Implications” at the 2018 ASAP Tech Partner Forum, “Reimaging Part­nering in a Disruptive World,” on October 17, at the Four Points by Sheraton, San Jose Airport, San Jose, California. In a recent interview, I asked Grasso about the core of the upcoming session.

ASAP Media: You are presenting with Todd Miller. What do the two of you plan to focus on?

Janine Grasso: We come from two very different perspectives. But we agree on how much blockchain will change all industriesand not just the ones most talked about, such as finance and supply chain. We’re both asking: “What role can we play to help partners do that?” We’re both trying to equip alliance managers and partners. This session is not just about reselling technology. It’s about applying tech across all industries; bringing together players that traditionally compete. We will go through our different backgrounds and points of view. We’ll discuss the problems around this new era and the world as it is today with blockchainthe same old problems that are slowing [the progress of] blockchain down, such as lack of trust, data disruption, and business disruption. And competitorsone start-up, like Über, can completely change the game in an industry.

Being able to leverage this new tech to reshape your industry is the punch line. We’ll go into what blockchain does and the capabilities of blockchain. We will round off the conversation with real-life examples and a discussion on how, exactly, companies across many different industries are applying the technology. How they also are breaking down the barriers that have existed for hundreds of years. And we’ll discuss music and royalty rights, talk about identity, food safety and the IBM Food Trust solution, and then go into the role of the alliance manager and how they can facilitate blockchain options.

So there are strong alliance implications with blockchain?

The true design of blockchain is the industry players or ecosystem coming together and bringing it to life. Blockchain is not singular. The only way it works is with participants in an ecosystem working together, so it’s very much a team sport.

The session description states you will cover technologies that “facilitate decentralized data sharing and secure transactions [that] will accelerate new business models beyond even Über, Spotify, and Airbnb.” Can your provide an example of a new business model?

Blockchain ingrains the trust in every transaction along its journey. In the case of a farmer and a distributor, it becomes transparent exactly where the food item came from: the genesis, authenticity of that product, and exposure to any contamination. The data explosion will continue and remain because of your digital ecosystem, and everything has that digital footprint now. You can encrypt information by attaching it in a blockchain. You only have to take elements that are necessary. That alleviates concerns around datait gives the security and data protection required and only uses crucial data in the blockchain. One example of a new business model is with Everledger, which uses blockchain in the diamond industry. There is traditionally a lack of trust and authenticity about where diamonds come from. Blockchain can now provide that information and verify its authenticity.

What is the No. 1 question you expect to hear in the Q&A session?

How do I get started? How can IBM help small and large companies convene a network because of its large ecosystem and client base? How do I participate? I suspect we will hear a lot of question about alliance management.  

Stay tuned for more of the ASAP Media team’s coverage of the 2018 ASAP Tech Partner Forum on the ASAP Blog at www.strategic-alliances.org. Learn more and register for the 2018 ASAP Tech Partner Forum at http://asaptechforum.org

Tags:  Alliance  alliance management  Blockchain  ChromaWay  data protection  Data Security  ecosystem  encrypt information  IBM  Janine Grasso  Partnering  Todd Miller 

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Increasing Strength through P2P Muscle Building (Part 2): Cisco and SMART Partnering Execs Delve into the ‘Value Exchange Challenge’ at 2018 ASAP Tech Partner Forum

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, October 15, 2018

2x, 5x, 10x. How can companies gain extra oomph and advantage in the emerging multi-partner, multi-industry ecosystem? That’s the central theme of the session “Value Exchange Challenge: Building the New P2P Ecosystem Partnering Muscle” being offered at the 2018 ASAP Tech Partner Forum, “Reimaging Part­nering in a Disruptive World,” on October 17 at the Four Points by Sheraton, San Jose Airport, San Jose, California. The session will be presented by two speakers: Lorin Coles, CSAP, CEO, Alliancesphere, and principal, SMART Partnering; Kashif Abbasi, senior director, partner sales acceleration, global partner organization, Cisco Systems, Inc. I had the pleasure recently of talking at length with Coles, an animated and crisp speaker, about the driving force behind the session and the accompanying Cisco case study. Part two of our discussion follows.

ASAP Media: How does Cisco Systems enter into this value exchange equation as a case study?

We will lay out an example to understand the transformation Cisco is going through according to customer needs. Their new market model is built around new consumption and outcome-based models that go to market. At Cisco, they had to go beyond selling recurring software. It was no longer about landing the deal. It was about consumption and adoption in the entire customer lifecycle, and adoption to expansion to renewal. What they had to realize was that they had to help orchestrate the ecosystem and scale out this capability. They needed a scaling engine where they had different programs, different pipelines of enablement, automation, and sales acceleration. One of their areas of sales acceleration that is co-delivered with Alliancesphere is called ACES, which stands for Accelerating Cisco Ecosystem Sales, to take the complexity out and accelerate muscle building. ACES@Scale co-develops this methodology for its use partnerships and a framework to accelerate multiparty solution sales. It’s a proven methodology to sell Cisco architecture through 100% ready solutions with a faster time to booking. The key is bringing packaged solutions to market for their channelmulti-partner solutions all the way to resellers.

What else will you be covering in this session?

We will close it off by talking about the future of co-selling, which is all around the customer, the buyers, and the solutions. And it’s really about empowering the partners to exchange value from both the buyer and seller journey to help all parties realize the desired business outcomes. We will provide point of view on complexity of solutions versus buyer dynamics. Based on different co-selling scenarios, we will determine the best way to work with your partners. It’s a muscle that needs developing at all levels of organizations: from the executive team to management to the frontline - not just the sellers or tech team. The whole organization has to begin to work and operate differently.

What is driving the change, this need for a P2P muscle-building approach?

The change in the market and what customers are looking for: real solutions to solve problems in more proactive ways that eliminate the friction and focus on their needs and deliver to their outcomes. This kind of capability muscle is incremental. Building out the muscle and muscle memory becomes more effective the more you do itit gets stronger and stronger. It will become the core to the future of business. We’re going to look at it from a market and customer view, what it could mean to the audience, and then open it up to a Q&A session.

See part one of this blog and follow the ASAP Media team’s ongoing coverage of the October 17, 2018 ASAP Tech Partner Forum on the ASAP Blog at www.strategic-alliances.org.  Learn more and register for the ASAP Tech Forum at http://asaptechforum.org

Tags:  Alliancesphere  Cisco Systems  cross-functional  digital transformation  enablement  engagement  execution  Kashif Abbasi  Lorin Coles  P2P  partner  partnering  SMART Partnering  The Rhythm of Business  value creation 

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Increasing Strength through P2P Muscle Building (Part 1): Cisco and SMART Partnering Execs Delve into the ‘Value Exchange Challenge’ at 2018 ASAP Tech Partner Forum

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, October 11, 2018

2x, 5x, 10x. How can companies gain extra oomph and advantage in the emerging multi-partner, multi-industry ecosystem? That’s the central theme of the session “Value Exchange Challenge: Building the New P2P Ecosystem Partnering Muscle” being offered at the 2018 ASAP Tech Partner Forum, “Reimaging Part­nering in a Disruptive World,” on October 17 at the Four Points by Sheraton, San Jose Airport, San Jose, California. The session will be presented by two speakers: Lorin Coles, CSAP, CEO, Alliancesphere, and principal, SMART Partnering; Kashif Abbasi, senior director, partner sales acceleration, global partner organization, Cisco Systems, Inc. I had the pleasure recently of talking at length with Coles, an animated and crisp speaker, about the driving force behind the session and the accompanying Cisco case study. Part one  of our discussion follows.

ASAP Media: Why is value so central to your presentation?

Lorin Coles: The core of all partnering and partnerships is really about value and trust. When two companies come together, they are looking for where and how they can help each other create greater value for the customer. That’s a value exchangeit occurs at multiple levels with multiple people in alliances. Partnerships in the past had specific way that they did it. Now, because of digital transformation and the speed, scale, and scope of change, it’s more complex than ever to create contextually relevant value for your partners and customers because there are new buyers, and the solutions are more complex. If there is no value, it’s difficult to partner. Value is the cornerstone in everything we do. The value exchange is where and how we are going to partner together.

How can companies build Partner-to-Partner (P2P) ecosystem partnering muscle?

Partnering evolves over time just like sports evolves over time. You need to go from enablement to engagement to execution. You do that by working cross-functionally at multiple levels with companies.

It’s important to understand the different personalities of your partner and the audience, the difference between partner types, and the functionthe marketing, sales, and product people and the roles they play in the partnership. And more importantly than ever, you need to understand the value exchange.

Building that new muscle is something a lot of people can’t do because it takes connecting dots that others don’t see. It’s important to determine if you are a novice, intermediate, advanced, or expert when building up this muscle. Companies are becoming more and more dependent on partnering and need to learn how to partner in more proactive ways than before. They need to understand when and where to bring in partners, how to leverage partners. The process is different than before because it’s across an ecosystem.

How does Cisco Systems enter into this value exchange equation as a case study?

We will lay out an example to understand the transformation Cisco is going through according to customer needs.

See the remainder of our discussion with Lorin Coles in part two of this article and follow the ASAP Media team’s ongoing coverage of the 2018 ASAP Tech Partner Forum on the ASAP Blog at www.strategic-alliances.org. Learn more and register for the 2018 ASAP Tech Partner Forum at http://asaptechforum.org

Tags:  Alliancesphere  Cisco Systems  cross-functional  digital transformation  enablement  engagement  execution  Kashif Abbasi  Lorin Coles  P2P  partner  partnering  SMART Partnering  The Rhythm of Business  value creation 

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