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Collaborating at Digital Transformation Speed: Report from the ASAP Tech Partner Forum, Part One

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Monday, June 12, 2017

ASAP Media Managing Editor Cynthia B. Hanson and I caught up with leading ASAP members from the ASAP Silicon Valley Chapter—and one from the ASAP Midwest Chapter—in an 8 a.m. Pacific debriefing the morning after the inaugural ASAP Tech Partner Forum in Santa Clara, Calif. Despite the early hour, triumph and excitement remained palpable on the conference call as the group of executives described the fruits of more than six months spent planning the event in conjunction with ASAP staff executive Diane Lemkin.

“It was pretty amazing. It all came together. I can’t believe it actually all happened after all that effort,” enthused Erna Arnesen, CSAP, chief channel and alliance officer at ZL Technologies. “Seventy-four people showed up. A few people registered right at the end. One guy signed up that morning—he came from Tahoe. The group of people was very diverse, coming from across Silicon Valley from most of the leading companies and from startups, so there was a very wide swath of companies represented.” Also, she added, “It was a good cross-section of ASAP members and nonmembers.”

Leading tech companies represented included Cisco, NetApp, Intel, SAP, GE Digital, VMWare, Citrix, Splunk, Oracle, ServiceNow, Cognizant, Microsoft, and Xerox. Aside from Silicon Valley, attendees came from San Francisco and points across the Bay Area. “We had quite a few people from Southern California,” noted Norma Watenpaugh, CSAP, principal of Phoenix Consulting Group. Her Phoenix Consulting colleague Ann Trampas, CSAP, flew in from Chicago where she also is a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Trampas chimed in, “We also had folks from Scottsdale, and someone came down from Seattle from JDA Software” to join several other JDA colleagues, “there were several execs from Hitachi Data Systems, including one from Minnesota, and we had several people fly in from the East Coast,” she added.

“From the perspective of an attendee, the quality of the program was exceptional,” Trampas said. “It was right up there with the quality of ASAP Global Alliance Summit presentations, but in a more intimate environment allowing you more access to those speakers. So I was blown away by the program.”

“A lot of attendees said they liked the intimate grouping, the roundtables, that the room was ‘comfortably full,’” Watenpaugh said. “And by staying with the high-tech focus for the entire event, they felt the topics were targeted and addressed issues that participants had really dealt with in their companies. It was not a generic ‘this is how you do metrics,’ but rather, ‘this is how you work in high-tech partnering in the context of digital transformation.’”

After the welcome, host sponsor NVIDIA kicked off the ASAP Tech Partner Forum with what our group of reviewers described as an impressively relevant and “buttoned-up” presentation by John Fanelli, product vice president for NVIDIA GRID, and Olimpio DeMarco, director of strategic alliances for manufacturing & Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industries for NVIDIA, a maker of graphics processing units (GPUs) that is evolving beyond its roots in making graphics processor boards for gaming. Beyond gaming, the company is developing technologies that venture into the real world and virtually real world: supercomputing, artificial intelligence, and deep learning, Watenpaugh said.

“John Fanelli and Olimpio DeMarco really set the tone for the rest of the day—it was really good,” commented Greg Burge, a consultant and former San Mateo County alliance executive with a long history at IBM who is the immediate past president of the ASAP Silicon Valley Chapter. NVIDIA developed CUDA—which stands for Compute Unified Device Architecture—as the company’s programming interface and software architecture framework for writing to a GPU. “They described how this software programming model has affected NVIDIA’s approach to its partner ecosystem—anytime you bring in software development, it changes the way you partner,” Burge noted.

“It was really great for the host to kick off the event that way,” agreed Watenpaugh. “What I thought was fascinating is that NVIDIA has a lot of alliances with car companies around self-driving cars and artificial intelligence. Fanelli talked about both Toyota and Honda as partners.”

The highly engaged audience asked good questions, Watenpaugh noted. “One interesting question was around NVIDIA GRID—an ecosystem of five partners built to virtualize 10,000 desktop computers for Honda. ‘How do you manage that kind of constellation alliance?’”

Another participant asked the NVIDIA execs, “’What about the services required for all the complex technologies and complex ecosystem engagements you’re involved in,’” Arnesen recalled. “John Fanelli was very impressive in outlining his products, channels and alliances, but admitted that NVIDIA is just getting going building out services” and services partnerships.

“The last thing that they talked about was speed-of-light culture, or SOL culture,” Arnesen continued. At NVIDIA, “alliances are not centralized—the company has a distributed strategy and model. Olimpio DeMarco has his own alliance people that manage these different types of partners, but Fanelli said, ‘We want to be fast and nimble and agile, so we manage them as we need them for our businesses.’”

Check out the ASAP Blog for our previous articles and forthcoming ASAP Media coverage of the June 7, 2017 ASAP Tech Partner Forum in Santa Clara, Calif., hosted by NVIDIA, at www.strategic-alliances.org

Tags:  alliances  Ann Trampas  ASAP Tech Partner Forum  channels  Cisco  Citrix  Cognizant  CUDA  Erna Arnesen  GE Digital  GPU  Greg Burge  Intel  John Fanelli  Microsoft  NetApp  Norma Watenpaugh  NVIDIA  NVIDIA GRID  Olimpio DeMarco  Oracle  partner ecosystem  partners  SAP  ServiceNow  SOL culture  Splunk  VMWare  Xerox 

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Partnering and Digital Transformation: A Preview of the June 7 ASAP Tech Partner Forum with Erna Arnesen, CSAP

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Monday, June 5, 2017

A highlight of the 2017 ASAP Global Alliance Summit in San Diego was spending some quality conversation time one evening with Erna Arnesen, CSAP—a well-known and widely respected figure not just within ASAP but also in the high-tech community, where she’s been recognized as one of “Silicon Valley’s Women of Influence” by the Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal. Erna—who is chief channel and alliance officer at ZL Technologies—flew into San Diego and arrived at the Marriott Mission Valley in the late evening as I was chatting in the closed hotel bar with Greg Burge, CSAP, immediate past president of the ASAP Silicon Valley Chapter. She must have been tired, but the always-friendly Erna joined us and, at Greg’s prompting, recounted several experiences “back in the day” as one of the late Steve Jobs’ right-hand executives at NeXT (remember that very cool black workstation?). I asked her point-blank what the famously mercurial Jobs was like to work with. She recalled a number of times when Jobs was amazingly gracious—but had a different memory of the day Jobs got the news she was leaving the company for another position. (You’ll have to ask her yourself for the details.)

I caught up again with Erna this week upon her return from a European business trip. Her latest endeavor on behalf of the ASAP and high-tech community is helping to organize the Wednesday, June 7, 2017 ASAP Tech Partner Forum. Since January, she has been working with Greg and a core group of other leaders in ASAP’s Silicon Valley Chapter, including current chapter president Ana Brown, CSAP, of Citrix, Norma Watenpaugh, CSAP, of Phoenix Consulting Group, and Jennifer Ames-Hoskins, CA-AM, from Microsoft, along with ASAP staff executive Diane Lemkin. The event—focused around how to “collaborate at the speed of digital transformation”—is hosted by gaming processor board maker NVIDIA.

Erna also is the facilitator of a pivotal panel discussion on “Strategies You Need to Partner Everywhere,” where she will be joined onstage by Steen Graham, general manager, IoT ecosystem/channels, Internet of Things Group, Intel, Maria Olson, CSAP, VP of global and strategic alliances at NetApp, and Andres Sintes, Cisco’s global senior director, partner GTM, digital transformation & IoT. I asked Erna to talk about how the ASAP Tech Partner Forum came about, and what she plans to discuss with her fellow panelists.

ASAP Media: How did the ASAP Tech Partner Forum come about?

We knew about how the ASAP BioPharma Conference got started a few years back. We thought we’d start with a one-day event that would be a Tech Partner Forum—something specifically centered in Silicon Valley, less time-consuming than a multi-day summit, primarily targeting the Bay Area but encouraging people outside the region to come, and catering to high-tech partnering and strategy. Our first choice for location was Silicon Valley, not San Francisco, which is a different audience.  Silicon Valley attracts established companies as well as startups and has the big hardware and software players—SAP, Google, NetApp, Cisco, NVIDIA, etc. The audience is robust and we have quite a few Silicon Valley Chapter members attending. I see this as our opportunity to support our local high-tech ASAP membership and as an opportunity to engage non-members and expand the visibility of ASAP through both speakers and participation of attendees we could attract.

You’ve got an impressive and diverse lineup of executives from leading tech companies on the program and specifically in your panel. How is the day organized and what topics are you planning to tackle in your session?

Our theme is the strategy for partnering in the era of, and with the speed of, digital transformation and the Internet of Things. When we planned the program, we split the overall event into three major pillars:  strategy, execution, and tools. In the opening session NVIDIA will talk about the speed of alliances—they are known for being a fast-moving partnering company. Then there’s the strategy panel that I am moderating.  In the afternoon, execution and tools is the last panel of the day, prior to a networking reception.

In our strategy session, first of all, the Internet of Things (IoT) is really important to understand. What’s the ecosystem and channel strategy of companies around IoT? Two of the three speakers are focused on this as their full-time jobs—Andres Sintes and Steen Graham work on behalf of their companies to build ecosystems with partners that are expanding their footprint in digital transformation and IOT. We will start out with how to define IoT, the speakers’ role in go-to-market (GTM) strategy, and what’s the collaboration model for multi-vendor, multi-partner collaborations—more than two partners coming together, which is often the case for IOT and digital transformation.

ASAP Media will preview other critical and challenging topics on the agenda at the June 7, 2017 ASAP Tech Partner Forum in Part Two of our Q&A with Erna Arnesen. Learn more and register for the event at www.asaptechforum.org.  

Tags:  Andres Sintes  ASAP Tech Partner Forum  Cisco  Digital Transformation  Erna Arnesen  execution  Google  go-to-market (GTM)  Greg Burge  Internet of Things (IoT)  Jobs  Maria Olson  NetApp  NVIDIA  Partnering  SAP  Steen Graham  strategy  tools  ZL Technologies 

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