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Helping Partners Succeed—So That You and Your Customers Do, Too

Posted By Michael J. Burke, Thursday, June 25, 2020

In an increasingly digital world, how do you create business models that help your company succeed while ensuring that your partners reap the benefits as well?

It’s a question faced by many companies today—not just in technology—and it’s one that is top of mind for Carl DCosta, worldwide vice president and general manager of partner success for Blue Yonder (formerly JDA Software), which provides software and solutions focused on supply chains.

After all, “partner success” is right there in his title.

Building a Partner-Based Model

DCosta’s keynote presentation, “Foundation for Partner Success in the Digital World,” on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, the second day of ASAP’s virtual Global Alliance Summit, looked at how Blue Yonder has approached this question, largely by seeking to understand who their partners are, what their capabilities are, how to attract and recruit new partners, and how to make sure that value is created throughout the ecosystem and flows in multiple directions.

A tech-industry veteran with years of experience, first at HP and then at Oracle, DCosta arrived at Blue Yonder in late 2019 and was given a mandate: build out the company’s channel and partner business. This meant “working more with partners and leveraging the ecosystem,” DCosta said, as well as operating from a “more partner-based model.”

In service of this goal, DCosta divided Blue Yonder’s partners into three types: development partners, who extend solutions; selling partners, who give the company more reach; and delivery partners, who deploy and deliver products and augment Blue Yonder’s expertise.

Each of these partner types needed something different to both attract and enable them.

Needs, Leads, and Sandboxes

The development partners—largely independent software vendors, or ISVs—wanted free licenses and access to technology, OEM (original equipment manufacturer) agreements, and their own “sandboxes” to play in, in the cloud. They benefited from this arrangement by getting high margins with product IP, while Blue Yonder got an end-to-end solution offering.

Selling partners—business or systems integrators (BIs/SIs)—wanted referrals, resell agreements, and co-sell fees and agreements, and thereby they received resale revenue and margin while Blue Yonder got incremental leads, more products, and more users.

Finally, the delivery partners—again, BIs and SIs—wanted enablement and training as accredited technical consultants, as well as branding. Their reward was increased margins for their services business, while Blue Yonder saw their end of the deal as leading to greater customer success.

DCosta noted that unlike in “the old days of reselling,” often companies are more diversified now and may play more than one role—perhaps even all three. Thus it’s important to understand your partners’ capabilities and what they bring to the table—and what you do, too.

Another key point is removing barriers to working together, as much as possible. “We need to be easy to do business with,” DCosta acknowledged. “To be more consumerish, with one click. We want to make it easy technically and commercially to join that journey with us and for us to support [partners]. We’ve got to get better at this.”

Partner Programs Bearing Fruit

So far, DCosta said that the partner programs, processes, and metrics he has worked to implement have been helping in that regard, though he cautioned that it can take a few years for any such effort to truly bear fruit. What’s also important, he said, is to be clear about the nature of the opportunity and to measure the value created thereby—no matter whether the partner is purely transactional, directly pouring revenue into the coffers, or more of an influencer who is bringing in leads.

“What does a win or success mean for each?” he said. “What are you getting out of it, what are we getting out of it? Whatever the win-win is, I encourage you to have a common scorecard.”

Another recommendation DCosta gave was to try to “eliminate channel conflict” and “compensate both the partner and your sales force so they both benefit customers.” He added that sometimes there needs to be more exclusivity in certain geographic regions such as Russia or Latin America, but barring that, he urged compensating and encouraging everyone involved and avoiding what he called the “macho element of human beings: ‘I did the deal and the partner didn’t. I’m better,’ regardless of the compensation. But by and large, if both are mature enough to see the customer as the primary beneficiary that we need to optimize for, then we allow the customer to choose how they procure, and we compensate the partner—especially as the lead—even if the transaction happened through the vendor. Those policies are quite critical to making sure you don’t end up with conflict and you end up with cooperation,” he said.

Not Fade Away: The Future of the Channel

Asked the perennial question about the “death of the channel” and whether the indirect tech sales channel would be wholly replaced by ecosystems, DCosta’s answer was interesting.

“It’s a tough one,” he admitted. “If you mean ecosystems may not resell, and channel by definition equals resell, I do think the dynamics will change. At least in the technology world, ecosystems—or marketplaces if you will—already with a Salesforce or a Microsoft or Oracle seem to be an alternative way to transact from traditional channels or channel players. But everything is a continuum. Some technologies lend themselves to ecosystems better and easier than channels, so I don’t see this as either/or. There certainly is a big shift in the software industry going more toward an ecosystem/marketplace world where the transaction happens more directly.

“But even in that, there’s roles for partners, and especially partners that work across multiple ecosystems—cloud of clouds, as they call it—so there’s plenty of roles for partners and channels to play across multiple ecosystems. It clearly is a trend, but I don’t believe it’s a binary thing where it’ll flip one day and the channels will go away or anything like that. I think there’s a place for both.”

Tags:  Blue Yonder  business or systems integrators (BIs/SIs)  Carl DCosta  channel  cloud  ecosystem  end-to-end solution  OEM  partner programs  Partner-Based Model  partners 

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It’s Nearly Here! ASAP’s Virtual Summit About to Start

Posted By Michael J. Burke, Saturday, June 20, 2020

Have you registered yet? I hope so, because it’s almost here. ASAP’s first-ever virtual Global Alliance Summit begins Tuesday, June 23, with livestream sessions running June 23–25 and on-demand sessions available—well, on demand, anytime you want to view them.

As usual, the leading lights in alliance management and partnering will be sharing their insights with the ASAP community, along with some special guests who will provide a look into aspects of the partnering landscape you may be less familiar with.

People like Dr. Louis B. Harrison, MD, FASTRO, of the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla. He’s the chair of the center’s radiation oncology department, but he also happens to be its chief partnership officer, and he’ll be talking about the kinds of partnerships a cancer center engages in and the challenges and opportunities that arise from those engagements. He’ll be leading off day one of the Summit, along with Tiffani Bova, growth and innovation evangelist at Salesforce, whose presentation, “The Untapped Gold Mine of Building Trust, Unconventional Affiliations, and Iteration-Based Partnerships,” looks to be a highlight.

And by the way, aren’t you itching to know the winners of the Alliance Excellence Awards? I know I am, and fortunately the waiting is almost over as these exemplary partnerships will be showcased on the first day as well, with Ard-Pieter de Man, CSAP, PhD, professor at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and coauthor of the recent book How to Survive the Organizational Revolution, handing out the awards.

Day two will see a presentation by Steve Steinhilber, global vice president ecosystem development at Equinix—and an alliance and ecosystem veteran with years of experience at Cisco under his belt—called “Creating Alliances and Digital Ecosystem Capabilities in an Increasingly Platform-Enabled and Interconnected World.” This will be followed by what should be a fascinating panel discussion moderated by Jessica Wadd of Vantage Partners and featuring panelists from across industries, “Managing Power Imbalances: How to Navigate Partnerships Between Large and Small Organizations.” (Does that sound like a perennial topic of interest?) Finally, Wednesday will also boast a talk by Carl DCosta, worldwide general manager of partner success at Blue Yonder, “Foundation for Partner Success in the Digital World.”

Thursday kicks off with another panel, this one moderated by Jan Twombly, president of The Rhythm of Business, dealing with commercial-stage alliances in biopharma and their challenges and featuring nearly a who’s who of pharma alliance leaders: ASAP’s board chair Brooke Paige, formerly vice president of alliance management at Pear Therapeutics; David S. Thompson, chief alliance officer at Eli Lilly and Company; and Andrew Yeomans, global alliance lead at UCB. In addition, Larry Walsh, CEO and chief analyst at The 2112 Group, will speak on how to include everyone in the sales process in today’s interconnected, omni-channel, partnering-everywhere world, while Dan Rippey of Microsoft and Amit Singh of WorkSpan will give an inside look at how Microsoft’s partner-to-partner (P2P) program works to connect the ecosystem and power business growth and competitive advantage.

OK, that’s the three days in a nutshell—but that’s just the livestream content. Did I mention on-demand sessions? The list is extensive, and you’ll want to check a good number of them out. Like these:

  • Session 301: “The Profit Power of Collaboration,” by Robert Porter Lynch, The Warren Company
  • Session 403:  “Resiliency in Alliance Management: How Amgen-UCB Managed the ‘Roller Coaster Ride’ of a Long-standing Alliance,” by Tracy Blois, Amgen; and Alistair Dixon, UCB
  • Session 404: “Integrated Joint Alliance Marketing Best Practices: How to Establish Joint Marketing Moments That Drive Impact,” by Liz Fuller, Citrix
  • Session 501: “How 5G Will Transform and Disrupt Business and Partners,” moderated by Stacy Conrad, TPx, with panelists Manoj Bhatia, Verizon; Pradeep Bhardwaj, Syniverse; and Andreas Westh, Ericsson
  • Session 503:  “Marketplaces: The New Buying Centers in the Age of As-a-Service,” by Glen Kuhne, Ingram Cloud Blue; and Roger Williams, Citrix
  • Session 504:  “The Strategic Partner Executive of the Future and the Skills Needed for Success,” moderated by Norma Watenpaugh, Phoenix Consulting Group, with panelists Rafael Contreras, ServiceNow; Jim Chow, Google Cloud; and Greg Fox, WorkSpan
  • Session 602: “Demystifying the Ecosystem: An Interactive Conversation,” by Claudia Kuzma, Protiviti; and Nancy Ridge, Ridge Innovative
  • Session 702: “Big Pharma M&A and Alliance Portfolios,” moderated by Adam Kornetsky, Vantage Partners, with panelists Mark Coflin and Jeff Hurley, Takeda; Dana Hughes, Pfizer; and Chris Urban, Amgen
  • Session 703: “Absorbing and Facilitating Change: Managing Your Partner Program During Organizational Upheaval,” by Ben Anderson and Susan Cleveland, Thomson Reuters

And while there’s nothing like “being there”—in this case virtually—whether you’re able to participate in the livestream presentations, on-demand sessions, and interactive roundtables that are part of this year’s Summit, you’ll want to check this space during the coming days and weeks, as my colleague Jon Lavietes and I will be blogging both livestream and on-demand sessions to give those who missed it a taste of what’s going on. We hope to whet some appetites for more of this kind of programming, as well as to showcase some of the great content on offer at this year’s virtual Summit.

So tune in, and stay tuned! 

Tags:  Amit Singh  Blue Yonder  Carl DCosta  Dan Rippey  Equinix  Larry Walsh  Louis Harrison  Microsoft  Moffitt Cancer Center  Salesforce  Steve Steinhilber  The 2112 Group  The Rhythm of Business  Tiffani Bova  Vantage Partners  WorkSpan 

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