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Back to the…Mainframe? Not Exactly, but the Cloud Is Changing ISV-GSI Governance into a Blend of Old and New

Posted By Jon Lavietes, Friday, February 21, 2020

We’ve reached the latter stages of the editing process for the Q1 issue of Strategic Alliance Quarterly, coming out soon. As always, we have some great material that didn’t make the cut for the magazine, so we wanted to use this space to pass along some of the insights that emerged from our conversations around the evolving relationship between traditional independent software vendors (ISVs) such as SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft and global system integrators (GSIs) like Capgemini, Deloitte, and Accenture.

In the print version of the article, we talked about the concepts of “rolling adoption” and “continuous innovation.” When companies shift portions of their computing infrastructure from inside their own data centers to a public or private cloud, software is consumed much differently. In the client-server IT model that preceded cloud, ISVs would often take up to two years refining new versions of their applications to make sure they were as bug-free as possible before making them available to the public. The customer would then work with a GSI to customize that new software to their business processes. Now, however, the cloud has enabled software vendors to make updates remotely in an expedient manner. Consequently, new versions come out as rapidly as every six months, and each stakeholder—the ISV, the GSI, and the customer—understands that they will in essence be adjusting solutions on the fly to meet customer needs well after their release.

More Information, Faster, Means More Governance

A couple of the alliance experts we spoke to touched on how this phenomenon is affecting governance models, which are evolving to serve these faster, perpetual sales cycles. For example, teams meet more often and share more information than they did 15 years ago. Lisle Holgate, CSAP, senior director of strategic alliances at Avanade, a joint venture of Microsoft and Accenture, said the core teams of the alliance he works with are meeting weekly, while salespeople convene biweekly and regional leaders gather on a monthly basis to evaluate the dozen or so leads in the pipeline. Global executives get together every quarter, and even the respective CEOs huddle once a year to discuss the alliance at the broadest level.

“We have about 45 or 50 points of exchange across the breadth of the organization on a regular basis, so there’s a more organic understanding of each other,” said Holgate. “Whereas in the old days, [meetings were] about, ‘How many deals did we do? What’s in the pipeline? Okay, ready? Break.’”

To that end, the level of granularity in the information alliance partners are exchanging with each other is unprecedented today. Holgate said that marketing documentation now goes “all the way down to emails about the value proposition. That was unheard of back in the old days.”

Bill Thomas, CA-AM, an industry veteran and current alliance director who has worked in alliance programs at leading enterprise software vendors and global GSIs, has observed a shift toward alliance program governance models specified by software vendors and away from those originated by GSIs as the cloud has taken root. Two decades ago, when GSIs were counted on to significantly customize large-vendor software in on-premise deployments, potential clients calculated cultural, resource, and process fits based heavily on GSI governance models because the GSI's implementation methodologies were foundational to the project’s success. 

Now, software vendors see an obligation to prescribe the governance model and deployment methodology as a way to ensure delivery quality, and they’re telling GSIs, “‘This is how our program works,’” said Thomas. “Alliance structure and governance are codified in the agreement [with the software vendor] in order to promote delivery quality and consistency.  Also, having a standard, repeatable process ensures fairness in the ecosystem and supports the ability to scale the business to meet the demands of rapid growth.” 

What’s Old Is New Again

Steve Blacklock, CA-AM, vice president of global strategic alliances at Citrix, saw parallels between today’s cloud-managed IT model and the old days of the mainframe, the predominant computing model of the 1960s and 1970s, particularly in that “you don’t have to own the whole thing, you can just provision what you want, it’s secure and separated from everything else, and you can pay for what you need,” and he surmised that “the way partnerships, channel, and GSIs behave in [cloud] markets [is] probably analogous to the way things were done before [in the days of the mainframe], too.”

As he said this, Blacklock waved his hands apart and together like an accordion to illustrate how the ISV-GSI relationship has “come together and fractured and come together again” as computing transitioned from the mainframe to the client-server model that took root in the 1990s to this emerging cloud model. He pointed out that in the 1960s, IBM would essentially play the role GSIs play today by supporting the mainframe the customer bought from it and managing the client’s processes, and then speculated on whether the “Big Three” public cloud service providers (CSPs)—Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP)—might fulfill this role in the future, thereby cutting out GSIs.   

“They’re not there yet, but I could see a day where [Microsoft] Azure says, ‘If you need to run SAP in Azure, come here, sign this contract, and we’ll provision it for you, we’ll get your networking there, we’ll make sure it’s up and running, we’ll support the software—we’ll give you what you need and you’ll pay for it as you use it.’ Well, how is that any different from what IBM was doing with the mainframe?” 

This is just a small slice of what we learned from ASAP members in the trenches of these software vendor–integrator alliances. Be on the lookout for the Q1 edition of ASAP’s flagship magazine Strategic Alliance Quarterly to learn more about the changing dynamics of the ISV-GSI relationship. 

Tags:  Accentura  Amazon Web Services (AWS)  Avanade  Bill Thomas  Citrix  Cloud  cloud-managed IT model  Google Cloud Platform (GCP)  IBM  ISV-GSI Governance  ISV-GSI relationship  Lisle Holgate  Microsoft  Steve Blacklock  Strategic Alliance Quarterly 

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Relevance of Partnerships for Intelligent Workspaces and 5G Transforming and Disrupting Partners to Headline ASAP Tech Partner Forum in June

Posted By Michael Leonetti, CSAP, Friday, April 19, 2019

The Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals is gearing up for the 2019 ASAP Tech Partner Forum scheduled for June 19 at Citrix Systems in Santa Clara, California. The third annual program features partnering executives representing companies such as Google, Facebook, Verizon, Ericsson, Salesforce, Citrix and many others throughout the one-day event which includes plenty of networking with those in the high-tech community. “From the perspective of an attendee, the quality of the program was exceptional…It was right up there with the quality of ASAP Global Alliance Summit presentations, but in an intimate environment allowing you more access to those speaking. So, I was blown away by the program,” commented an attendee from last year’s forum; more of the same can be expected at this year’s event.

Program highlights include; Citrix Systems’ Senior Vice President, Steve Wilson who will headline the forum as he discusses the relevance of partnership as companies embark on delivering intelligent workspaces. Other speakers include Josh Moss, editor-in-chief of the Silicon Valley Business Journal; Jim Chow, head, global SI strategic partnership for Google Cloud; Katherine O'Leary, global consulting partnerships at Workplace by Facebook; Davina Pallone, vice president, product with Neurotrack among others. Topics such as how 5G will transform and disrupt business and partners; managing coopetition-based partnerships through introducing disruptive technologies; digital therapeutics; the framework for creating an ecosystem dashboard; and using AI to create new partnerships is something Ken Gardner, CEO and founder of conDati will discuss. “We have found that this event takes a deeper dive into topics that are relevant to day-to-day challenges and things that will affect how partner success is driven,” comments another attendee.

To register for the 2019 ASAP Tech Partner Forum and take advantage of the special offer, intimate event and gain insight on how to accelerate your business visit www.asaptechforum.org today!

 Attached Files:

Tags:  5G  AI  ASAP Tech Partner Forum  Citrix  ConDait  Coopetition  Davina Pallon  digital therapeutics  Disruptive Technologies  ecosystem dashboard  Facebook  Google Cloud  Jim Chow  Katherine O’Leary  Ken Gardner  Neurotrack  Santa Clara  Steve Wilson 

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Summit Panel Discusses ‘Herding Your Lawyers’—How to Turn Attorneys into Collaborators Using New Tools and Tricks of the Trade

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Tuesday, March 27, 2018

At the 2018 Global Alliance Summit, attorney Bill Kleinman, a partner at Haynes & Boone, LLP, leads an intriguingly titled panel discussion on “Herding Your Lawyers: Turning Negotiators into Collaborators.” Law schools prepare lawyers as zero-sum negotiatorsnot collaborators, Kleinman asserts. But when alliance professionals can turn their attorneys into collaborators, it benefits their partnerships. Kleinman’s panel includes two seasoned alliance managers to help him demonstrate approaches, techniques, and tools for negotiating collaboration: Nancy Breiman, CSAP, director, global alliances at IBM, and Bernie Hannon, CSAP, strategic alliance director, Citrix.  The panel plans to use interactive tools for negotiating a strategic alliance to prepare for a mock negotiation between a municipal lighting supplier and an artificial intelligence company for smart cities lighting. For the March 2018 edition of eSAM Plus and for this blog post, I had the pleasure of interviewing all three session leaders about their insightful session before the 2018 Summit, whose theme is “Propelling Partnering for the On-Demand World: New Perspectives + Prov­en Practices for Collaborative Business” and will be held March 26-28 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. The following article continues the conversation that begins in eSAM Plus.   

How can these techniques and tools be applied in multi-party collaborations?

Bill Kleinman: I’ve set up the tools for a two-party alliance, but I have used them in multi-party alliances. I have used them in five- and six-party alliances.

Nancy Breiman: Using these tools, even if it’s only with two parties, has incredible value. But I have tried to work in partnerships where there are multiple parties involved, and no one has figured that out yet. It’s very challenging on multiple fronts. Where I’d like to test the waters on this is with IBM’s blockchain ecosystem strategy. With blockchain technology, you have to have multiple parties in the ecosystem. It’s the nature of the beast.

Kleinman: Multiple parties are exponentially harder. But one of the tools we look at, which we call alliance swim lanes, permits as many partner lanes as we want.

Breiman: But then you will have five sets of KPIs, five sets of IPs, etcetera, to deal with.

Kleinman: It’s definitely a multiplier.

Hannon: The more complexity, the more need for structure. What Bill is proposing here for a two-party agreement is all the more critical when it involves multiple parties. It speaks to the need to come up with something that is structured and allows for the same discovery and results when multiple parties are involved. That is so much harder to achieve without tools. I wouldn’t even attempt to do a multi-party collaboration without tools like this.

What are some of the other collaboration challenges this session will address?

Breiman: There is no way to separate the legal construct and thinking from the alliance construct. A good alliance manager will have both party’s needs top-of-mind. You need to represent your own company while being sensitive to the needs of other partners. The legal team needs to be part of the team up front and part of the collaboration process. I don’t think they are separated.

Hannon: If you can avoid some of the trial-and-error aspect of the maturation process, you are going to be in a better position to produce better partnerships sooner.

Breiman: Bernie and I together have a lot of years of alliance management under our belts. For new people, its hard to bring them into the business because its one of those roles where maturity, seniority, and experience are needed. New alliance managers without a lot of world experience can avoid a lot of the pitfalls using these tools.

How do you apply these techniques and tools in your alliance management positions?

Kleinman: I’ve probably been using these tools over the last 10 years, and they have developed over time. They are based on things that I have come up with and read about in literature.

Hannon: I am just learning about this process in this engagement with Bill and Nancy. I have a very forward-looking view of this. A lot of the negotiations I’ve been involved with until now were done the old-fashioned way. Things have changed enough in these industries that we need to find new outcomes. Partnerships tend to be more enduring when founded on objectives and outcomes that are perhaps more mutually desirable than in the past.

The views represented by Nancy Breiman and Bernie Hannon are their own and do not necessarily reflect their company’s perspectives. For more information on this and other Summit sessions, go to http://asapsummit.org/.

Tags:  alliance  alliance professionals  Bernie Hannon  Bill Kleinman  Citrix  Collaborators  Haynes & Boone  IBM  Lawyers  Nancy Breiman  Negotiators  partnerships  techniques  tools 

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The Beatles, Alliances in the C-Suite, and a Company Built on Strategic Partnerships (Part 2): Citrix Chief Marketing Officer Kicks off the ASAP Global Alliance Summit

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Tuesday, March 27, 2018

ASAP Global Alliance Summit keynoter Tim Minahan, an English and political science major and graduate of the Kellogg School of Management’s Chief Marketing Officer Program, joined $3.2 billion Citrix about two years ago. The senior vice president of strategy and chief marketing officer framed his presentation around the theme of “everything I ever needed to know about strategic alliances I learned from the Beatles.”

His first point—“or what I learned from John, Paul, and Ringo”—emphasized the importance of driving growth “With a Little Help from My Friends,” a hit song from 1967’s Yellow Submarine. “The fastest way to grow, to scale, is to trade on someone who has established networks and relationships,” Minahan explained, referring back to the beginnings of Citrix nearly three decades ago. “Back then it was Microsoft—so it made tremendous sense that founders of Citrix made a business out of making it easier for IT to migrate to the Microsoft platform,” he said.

“This carries through even to today,” Minahan continued. “Today, on day one, we’re there to provide our solutions whenever Microsoft launches new solutions. …  As many of you know, Microsoft has a sell-through model. So we’ve predicated our investment, ensuring we’re building the right enablement and incentives for Microsoft and its channel partners.” The size of this partnering opportunity? He cited projections of “a $1 trillion market cap business for Microsoft migrating to the cloud.”

Minahan talked in some depth about swimming in the sea of coopetition, including how Citrix has partnered with Google and Cisco to enable functionality for Microsoft’s office software on the latest generation of Android phones. He peppered his talk with repeated references to “incentivizing your partners” and emphasized one of his key initiatives to radically streamline marketing Citrix campaigns and make joint marketing much simpler for partners.

“When I joined Citrix two years ago, we had over 40 different marketing campaigns. It was very difficult for alliances partners and salespeople to understand,” he explained. “This year, we have three primary campaigns aligned with business outcomes: employee experience and productivity, security and compliance, and choice. We’ve lined up our leading strategic alliances within each of those. … That’s the type of investment we’re making to drive up the ROI,” he added.

“Alliances is really a strategic leader,” Minahan noted during the Q&A that followed his talk. “I elevated our alliance marketing leader. She sits on the marketing leadership team, and we include strategic alliances as we build the market plan, not as an afterthought. That also signals to our organization and our partners that we are very serious about alliances.”

Other Beatles-inspired alliance management insights from Minahan included:

  •  “Come Together”—“make yourselves an essential component by fostering value between partners.”
  • “Tax Man”—“find a common enemy. It could be a common business challenge, not necessarily a competitor.”
  • “A Day in the Life”—“always put the customer first.”
  • “Help!”– “make the investment to ensure our partners and channel can be successful and—I can’t say it enough—incentives.”
  •  “Revolution”—“have a common vision for a better future. We all want to be a part of something great that is transforming the world.” 

Tags:  Alliances  Cisco  Citrix  C-Suite  Google  marketing campaigns  Microsoft  strategic leader  Strategic Partnerships  Tim Minahan 

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The Beatles, Alliances in the C-Suite, and a Company Built on Strategic Partnerships (Part 1): Citrix Chief Marketing Officer Kicks off the ASAP Global Alliance Summit

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Tuesday, March 27, 2018

“Our entire business is predicated on ‘any-ness,’ so we recognize you can’t go it alone,” said Tim Minahan, senior vice president of business strategy and chief marketing officer of Citrix and the keynote speaker at the Tuesday, March 27 opening session of the 2018 ASAP Global Alliance Summit. “Citrix was founded 29 years ago [and] has built its entire business on nurturing and fostering strategic alliances and strategic channel relationships. We have dozens of alliances today and nearly ten thousand channel partners that are building entire businesses atop of Citrix.”

Minahan took the stage after opening comments from ASAP President and CEO Michael Leonetti, CSAP, and an introduction by ASAP Chairman Brooke Paige, CSAP, vice president of alliance management at Pear Therapeutics. Leonetti emphasized to a jam-packed ballroom how, historically, more than half of alliances fail or fail to deliver—but today, “we’ve reversed that trend of alliance failure,”  citing ASAP and other research data indicating “those organizations that have implemented ASAP best practices, and have certified practitioners, are able to achieve up to 80% success rates.” The recent ASAP 6th State of the Alliance research study, he added, “shows that alliances that use best practices make more money. That was something intuitively known for a long time in the ASAP community, but now the data show it as well.”

Leonetti emphasized—and Minahan exemplified—that today, alliance management has a seat at the leadership table and correspondingly, the C-suite itself better understands, is more engaged, and more than ever emphasizes business collaboration and partnering strategy to drive growth, innovate, and deliver better experience and value to customers. Leonetti clicked to a slide citing a slew of business research studies “since 2014 that consistently say CEOs now get it” and rely upon “new strategic alliances for growth, innovation, and go-to-market.” Indeed, “KPMG’s CEO Outlook study in 2016 said 40 percent of CEOs believe we need to move alliances to the C-level.”

For the ASAP community, this advance—of partnering as profession and alliances as core to company strategy—has been a two-decade journey. This year ASAP celebrates the 20th anniversary of its founding. (See the Q2 2018 issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine for a look back at ASAP’s formative years.) Leonetti did a shout out to ASAP’s Founding Chairman Robert Porter Lynch, CSAP, asking him to stand up and be recognized. “Talk about a visionary,” Leonetti exulted as the audience enthusiastically applauded Lynch. “We appreciate everything you’ve done, Robert.”

Leonetti concluded his comments by emphasizing, “We really need a vibrant community. Engagement is the key to our growth. We have the tools, the people, and we have the attention of every CEO. The table is set.”

To introduce the keynoter, Leonetti invited the ASAP chairman to the stage, recalling that he and Paige both “started in ASAP in 2003. Brooke is now VP at Pear Therapeutics. Brooke has worked with companies with 80,000 people and now, I think, with 50.”

Paige took the handoff. “Here at ASAP we love to talk about the ASAP family, a close community of alliance practitioners. But the question is, what kind of family are we?” she asked. “I was talking to my teenage stepson about alliance management, describing what we do. I said sometimes we see things way ahead in the future that others don’t see. Sometimes we’re dealing with a derailment of a partnership and helping to fix it. Sometimes we’re doing things that nobody else sees. My stepson said it sounds like alliance managers are superheroes,” she said, clicking to a slide with images from recent Marvel comics movies, then to the next slide with the headline on the front page of Superman’s Daily Planet: “Alliance Managers Save the World!”

Paige then introduced Minahan, an English and political science major and graduate of the Kellogg School of Management’s Chief Marketing Officer Program, who joined $3.2 billion Citrix about two years ago. Minahan framed his presentation around the theme of “everything I ever needed to know about strategic alliances I learned from the Beatles.”

Read more of Minahan’s comments—and alliance management insights he derived from Beatles songs—in Part 2 of this blog post.

Tags:  alliance managers  Brooke Paige  Citrix  Michael Leonetti  partnership  Pear Therapeutics  Tim Minahan 

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