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Why do Channels Matter to Alliance Managers?

Posted By Norma Watenpaugh, CSAP | Phoenix Consulting Group, LLC | CEO & Founding Principal, Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Today, increasingly channels are becoming the preferred route to market for technology alliances with new models of converged architectures, such as cloud computing and big data analytics. As a result, each alliance relationship needs to redefine the sales engagement models that make sense. One partner can be a route-to-market for the other or they can meet in the channel or they can take the traditional influence channel model and collaborate on joint selling.  More often than not, it’s a combination of all of the above.  

What we have seen in the 2013 Go-to-Market Alliances Research is not only are alliances employing multiple routes to market: channels, OEM and co-sale, but the top performing alliances are more heavily invested in an indirect route vs. relying on just joint sales for revenue. This is an ongoing trend with 65% of alliances choosing direct sales in our previous 2010 survey. Given what we are hearing in the industry today, we would expect to see even more business shift to the channel were we to conduct this survey again in 2016.

What this implies is that it is not feasible to keep partners neatly siloed and alliance managers need to be as sophisticated about enabling channel sell-thru success as they are in sell-with.  And in this time of technology convergence and business model transformation, alliance managers need to be solidly grounded in what is happening in the channel and how to equip channel partners to succeed with alliance offers.

 What do alliance managers need to know about channel sales? 

Well it starts with tried and true partner value proposition but viewed through the new lens of “what is the value the channel partner brings to the customer?” What is the value or business proposition that is recognized by the channel partner? What is the value that you, as part of an alliance, recognize? The key principles of success being how do WE create value for customers and how do WE make money all together? That would be the inclusive WE meaning channel partner, your alliance partner, your company and even your customer.

Starting with the customer experience will give alliance managers some perspective on the best route to market, whether direct or with a channel partner. How does your target customer prefer to buy? Do they work with local heroes to recommend and implement your proposed alliance offer or do they rely on global system integrators to act in the trusted advisor role? With the confusing array of converging technologies and digital transformation, going to market through a channel partner that acts as a trusted advisor makes sense. Your channel partner absorbs the complexity and connects technology features to business relevancy for the customer. One channel marketing professional raved about her favorite VAR. They specialized in the Health Spas. They knew everything about the business of operating Spas and could help Spa owners and operators with turnkey technology that would create better experiences for spa customers. And in her words “They were making a killing!”

Another building block of success in understanding how to go to market through channel partners is understanding the driving economic model for the channel. Gone are the days when VARs could make a tidy living on resale margin. Cloud solutions are putting even more pressure on the channel as the cloud margins are even thinner and recognized as monthly recurring revenue. The survivors are developing new skills, new services, and IP, such as API extensions to create complementary revenue streams. In other words, your joint offer may have just become the razor.  Savvy alliance managers will examine the profit model around their joint offer for the channel, being mindful that they need to compete for the best channel partners. 

Understanding the channel partner economic model, gives you insight into how to enable profitability for those partners and you have to do that at scale. You will need many channel partners who are capable of selling, marketing, provisioning, implementing, configuring and supporting your offer. This means working with your channel organizations to build the enablement program that supports not only the joint offer, but also those new revenue streams.

Yes, there are many moving parts and lots to think about, but the trend is clear. As technology buying shifts to the line of business buyer, it takes a partner in the ecosystem that understands the buyer’s business and has that vital relationship required to sell solutions that build their business.  That partner is a channel partner.   

Author and guest blogger Phoenix Consulting Group CEO & founding principal Norma Watenpaugh, CSAP was named 2015 Woman of Influence in Silicon Valley and is a seasoned  volunteer leader for ASAP. She is a member of ASAP and her company is an Education Partner Provider to our members. 

Tags:  alliance managers  channel  channel marketing  Channel partner  cloud solutions  Economic model  Education Partner Provider  go-to-market alliance research  Norma Watenpaugh  Phoenix Consulting Group  sell-thru  VAR 

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Spring 2016 Issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine: Comprehensive of the 2016 Summit, Certification’s Impact on Your Career, and an In-Depth Look at Bridging Cultural Differences

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Friday, May 6, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Spring 2016 issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine, formerly called the Q1 issue, introduces readers to some new and exciting features that were added to programming at the March 1-4 2016 Global Alliance Summit, “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem,” held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland. This issue’s cover story highlights one of these innovative new offerings: An intensive two-hour session of Cultural Roundtables, where participants explored cultural aspects of a region in relation to business acumen, with the focus this year on China, Latin America, and India. The roundtables are certain to become a regular feature at future ASAP conferences and summits.

 

The issue also includes nine pages of photographs and news from the Summit, including coverage of an outstanding conference keynote address by Intel’s Jonathan Ballon “Partnering: The Connective Tissue of the Internet of Things.” The keynote was followed by the 2016 Alliance Excellence Awards Ceremony, which included several new awards given to outstanding companies and individuals for their contributions to ASAP.  Among the recipients was Jan Twombly, CSAP, of The Rhythm of Business, who was presented with the Guiding Light Award for many years of exceptional volunteer contributions to ASAP programming.

 

Four captivating “ASAP Quick Takes” talks are also covered: Anne Nelson of IBM Watson on What is Watson Teaching Us About Building a Partner Ecosystem;” John Bell of Johnson & Johnson Consumer on “Creating Partnering Opportunities thought Open Innovation;” Marcus Wilson of HeathCore, Inc. on “The Alliance Professional as Intrapreneur; Lawrence Walsh of the 2112 Group on “Seeing Around Corners is a Masterful Move on the Partnering Chessboard.” The talks were accompanied by a new, lively session “Quick Take Roundtables,” which allowed participants to zero in on a topic of choice from 26 offerings led by industry leaders and ASAP members.

 

In the Up Front column “Every Day We Write the Book,” ASAP President and CEO Mike Leonetti describes ASAP’s new chapter in the evolution of alliance management.In chapter one, ASAP’s early days, we defined the need for professional alliance management,” he writes. “The second chapter was figuring out this function with repeatable process—and thereby dramatically improving alliance success rates. Now we have to improve the speed and reach of partnering to make it an organizational capability. That’s chapter three.”

 

In this issue’s Your Career feature, I interview several alliance managers on their “Aha” moments when obtaining CSAP and CA-AM certification: How it has boosted their confidence, contacts, and abilities. There’s also another thoughtful and practical Eli Lilly & Co. Editorial Supplement that offers advice on how to build an effective ethics and compliance program with an alliance. Finally, in The Close, we hear from the late, great Peter Drucker in “What Would Drucker Say?”a stark reminder for us all of the relevance today of the crystal ball predictions and sage advice of one of America’s most renowned business gurus. Which is why we think this issue of SAM belongs not only in company coffee klatches, but also in corporate boardrooms.

Tags:  alliance management  Anne Nelson  ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards  ASAP Global Alliance Summit  Eli Lilly & Co.  HealthCore Inc.  IBM Watson  Intel  Internet of Things Group  Jan Twombly  John Bell  Johson & Johnson Consumer  Jonathan Ballon  Larry Walsh  Marcus Wilson  Mike Leonetti  Peter Drucker  The 2112 Group  The Rhythm of Business 

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Managing Complex Software Engineering Alliances in a World Teeming With Digital Twins

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, May 5, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Michael Moser spends a good deal of his day collaborating in a digital world. With tech experience that reaches back 25 years with some of the biggest companies in the industry, such as HP, he is well-positioned to manage very complex software engineering alliances. When he came onboard at Dassault Systémes in Vélizy-Villacoublay, France, 15 years ago, he had already been introduced to interactive 3-D software, such as the engineering model for the Boeing 777. Since then, 3-D software has evolved significantly; it’s now a realistic, animated prototype capable of interconnecting via the cloud, he explained to me in an interview during the 2016 ASAP Global Alliance Summit “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem,” held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland. For Moser, who offered the session “Master a Portfolio of Tactics to Animate the Partner Ecosystem,” the challenge of the day is deciding how to build partner networks that capture mushrooming opportunities in a growing industry. 

What are digital twins, and how do customers use them?
Dassault Systémes creates 3-D experiences for customers to sell a product. The customers can then present it digitally through simulation, which allows users to demonstrate and experience the product before a physical product is built. It’s called a digital twin, because you have a twin of your real-world product in the digital world. Dassault works with many industries, such as transportation, shipbuilding, aerospace and defense, high-tech products, architecture and engineering, consumer package goods (supermarkets), life sciences (the human body), energy creation and consumption, natural resources (mining), and security (panic patterns and fires).  The program can create digital twins for nature and the planet, such as altering a riverbed to impact a valley. It can simulate molecules and life and test chemical reactions. It’s all physics in the end. 

What types of projects have used a digital twin?
Electronics, data management, online connections, Internet of Things technology, sensors. It’s used by healthcare a lot, not only for analysis but also for emergency support, and security for simulating a terrorist attack or nuclear accident. If you apply this concept to a city, for example Singapore, which is one of our customers, it can be used to investigate the impact of changes on new buildings and physical parameters, such as lights, wind, and pollution. A client asked Dassault to simulate towing an iceberg from Antarctica to Africa for fresh water. It worked, so now they know it can be done. We also can build thermoanalytic systems for rising temperatures resulting from global warming that consist of human models walking through a city and experiencing temperature variation. 

What are the benefits of building digital twins?
It saves money for the customer as compared to the old model of build a prototype, such as a town in the desert. With a digital twin, you don’t have the expense of building or destroying a physical structure. It’s also much more green and sustainable because you don’t have to building physical structures. With a simulated car crash, you might need 10 prototypes for a crash. With a twin, you only have to build one to certify safety. Another benefit is flexibility: They can be altered to optimize the design. It also saves time. For example, instead of asking customers to walk aisles and document their findings on questionnaires, you can have customers wear goggles, send them through a store, and change the aisles based on capturing their reaction. With goggles, you are really in the midst of the digital twin because it scans the body, and you can actually see your hands. You look down at your feet, and your feet are in the virtual world. You also get better feedback because you can test multiple scenarios to optimize design and collect feedback to incorporate it. 

How do you try to capture this growing, and sometimes illusive, market?
Not only does Dassault simulate and construct prototypes, we are engaged in solution partnerships. There are an enormous number of technology partners with programs integrated into software. They develop solutions and want to sell them, but they aren’t always properly promoted. They need to sell to a broader ecosystem of customers and users. I take those partners’ positions and interests and design a support structure to sell and promote their solutions. One technique I use is a social marketing platform called “Talk,” an online community where partners can explain their solution to potential users. We integrate them to go to market, develop sales leads, and provide a platform to communicate akin to LinkedIn that is comprised of a Dassault customer base. 

What do you foresee for Dassault’s future?
The challenge is to bring it to next level and give more freedom to this ecosystem. If you have a bulletproof Pentagon style, you won’t meet the requirements of the new world, which is integrated instantly with apps. I am in favor of loose controls because if you don’t work that way these days, you will lose opportunity. These skills are more needed than deep technology skills, at least in the partnering environment—you need collaboration skills and open mindedness. 

Tags:  collaboration  Dassault Systémes  digital twin  ecosystem  go to market  Mike Moser  partnerships  technology partners  thermoanalytic systems 

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It is Time to Think Differently - Taming the Complexity of IoT Partnering

Posted By Jan Twombly, CSAP and Jeff Shuman, CSAP, PhD | The Rhythm of Business and SMART Partnering, Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Internet of Things (IoT) is upending partnering “best practices.” One practice is clear: no company succeeds alone. It takes an ecosystem.

This is partnering at a scale, scope, and speed unprecedented until now. It requires creativity and bold experimentation. Companies must learn quickly, iterate strategies, manage complexity, and try new models for value creation, delivery, and capture.

“We know how to partner. We’ve been doing it for 20 years.” These are deadly words when said about partnering for the Internet of Things. The fundamentals of partnering may still apply – or not – but businesses that until now have been relatively un-digitized are discovering tremendous opportunities to rethink their operations and economics. This necessitates partnering:

  • Across industries and sectors
  • With many more companies for any given industry solution
  • At a greater speed to assemble and reassemble the right partners for each customer scenario
  • With agility, shifting from orchestrator to participant, sometimes with the same customer
  • In conjunction with “Everything as a Service” business models

Innovate and Experiment

Companies that succeed at building the partnering ecosystem required for the IoT take a page from design thinking: Start with the experience of the end customer and play that back to solution development. Those that succeed think similarly about the partner experience, making it easy to engage and drive down transaction costs. They do not lock onto any specific business or partnering model; rather they experiment and learn which of the assumptions you’ve made are valid and which are invalid and need to be iterated.

Instead of copying what competitors consider “best practices,” companies that remake their partnering capabilities for today’s connected world look for other inspiration. For example, Médicins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) assembles teams of medical and logistical professionals when conflict breaks out or there is an epidemic. The network has the ability to quickly assemble and then disband when the work is done because it knows what each partner considers valuable and works to ensure that value is received, thus maintaining willingness to participate and contribute value.

Companies throughout the ecosystem, regardless of their role or roles, must be willing to take some risks and fund experimentation to determine what is repeatable and scalable, both in the business and partnering models and in how partnering operations are carried out.

Connective Tissue or Achilles’ Heel

At the ASAP Global Summit in March keynote presenter Jonathan Ballon, Vice President of Intel’s Internet of Things (IoT) Group made it very clear that IoT is a massive opportunity to create and realize tremendous economic value; transforming industries; changing products, services, and solutions, and disrupting business models. He also emphasized that partnering and alliances are the connective tissue required to realize this value. The SMART Partnering Alliance of The Rhythm of Business and Alliancesphere argues that success in the ecosystem partnering required by IoT is not happenstance – it takes careful design. If your company’s partnering capability is insufficient for the task, partnering might be your Achilles’ heel – the exposed and unprotected weak spot of your organization. Alliance professionals have a duty to provide their executives with a roadmap across the new partnering landscape.

Over the next few months, we’ll be publishing a series of blog posts and white papers that explore what is different about partnering in the IoT - and how to apply design thinking – what we call Partner By Design to evolving partnering practices for the connected ecosystem era and everything as a service business models.

Missed the Summit Keynote? Read a Summary and Perspective on it from SMART Partnering.

ASAP was given permission by ASAP Corporate Member, EPPP, and guest bloggers Jan Twombly, CSAP and Jeff Shuman, CSAP, PhD of The Rhythm of Business and SMART Partnering to reprint the contributed blog. 

Tags:  alliance professionals  alliances  Alliancesphere  business model  ecosystem  Intel  Internet of Things  Jonathan Ballon  partner  partnering  SMART Partnering Alliance  The Rhythm of Business 

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Relationships: Currency of the Channel

Posted By Diana L. Mirakaj | President and Chief Operating Officer of The 2112 Group, Thursday, April 28, 2016

Of all the things the channel brings to technology vendors’ table, including market reach and vertical expertise, among them, perhaps the most valuable is partners' longstanding relationships with end-user customers. 

Built on trust and knowledge, those relationships are worth their weight in gold. If there's one person on a vendor's team who can safeguard all parties involved receive maximum benefit throughout the sales process, it's the channel account manager (CAM). As the chief liaison between a vendor and its channel partners, a CAM can nurture and enable solution providers, help them gain clarity on the value proposition of a vendor's product or service and guide them in areas like marketing, where they may not be as strong as they would like. 

To bring out the best in partners and maximize their ability to leverage customer relationships, vendors and their CAMs should set measurable goals; provide constant feedback and review partner performance and channel-program reward structures periodically. 

Read the full 2112 Group article, Relationships: Currency of the Channel.

ASAP Corporate Member, EPPP and guest blogger, Diana L. Mirakaj is president and chief operating officer of The 2112 Group.

Tags:  best practices  CAM  Channel  channel business  customer relationships  Diana L. Mirakaj  end-user customers  IT Channel  partners  solution providers  The 2112 Group  vendors 

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