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Unaligned Is the New Black in Partners

Posted By Larry Walsh, CEO and Chief Analyst of The 2112 Group., Monday, August 1, 2016
Updated: Sunday, July 31, 2016

More solution providers and resellers are forgoing vendor loyalty in favor of independence based on their own technical prowess and business savvy. What they lack in loyalty, they make up for in influence.

Defined by autonomy, these are the partners that align with vendors, but keep loyalty out of the mix. It’s not that they don’t value loyalty, or that they deem vendors untrustworthy. It’s just that they feel more comfortable flying solo. On the flip side, some of these partners won’t align themselves with any vendor at all.

Aligned partners without loyalty are putting their capabilities and services first. They see their value and viability in their intrinsic technology skills, domain expertise, and problem-solving capabilities. They’ve grown tired of the sales treadmill in which they earn pennies on the dollar for shilling products, and still have to perform services to make money. Maintaining vendor relationships comes with a partnership tax – the need to comply with expensive and distracting training, certification, and performance requirements. Instead, they’re letting the volume resellers – CDW, SHI, and Insight, for example – sell the product, and then they clean up by delivering the services.

Another facet of today’s vendor community that’s fueling independence in the technology channel is turmoil. As vendors go through difficult transitions – evolving business models, disruptive competition, and so forth – that chaos trickles down to the partner level. Some would rather sit and observe than get tossed into the storm.

Read the full 2112 Group article, Unaligned Is the New Black in Partners

ASAP Corporate Member, EPPP and guest blogger, Larry Walsh is CEO and chief analyst of The 2112 Group.

Tags:  Larry Walsh  partners  solution providers  technology channel  The 2112 Group  vendors 

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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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ASAP’s New “Quick Takes” Explore Impact of IoT and Ecosystem Partnering—and Proves to Be a Highly Successful Format for Engaging 2016 Summit Participants

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson & John DeWitt, Friday, March 18, 2016

Some forms of communication are more effective than others. The “TED Talks” speaking format, for example, has drawn significant numbers of interested viewers for over 30 years. That is why ASAP decided to introduce its new “ASAP Quick Takes,” patterned after the “TED Talks,” unveiling them for the first time at the 2015 ASAP Biopharma Conference, and again, at the 2016 ASAP Global Alliance Summit. 

The talks were a big hit and garnered lots of positive feedback. Such short talks are successful for several reasons: The message is sometimes simple, imaginative, and an easy take-away; the time limit of about 20 minutes forces speakers to distill the main points, which more-readily captivates the audience. 

Take, for example, John Bell’s “Quick Takes” talk where the marketing executive for strategy development at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health advised a collaborative approach: “Play in the sandbox. We are sitting on massive scale of opportunity to work in open innovation,” he said. “The toys must be shared. You can’t have it all your way, and you must behave yourself,” he added, while outlining the rules for success in today’s partnering environment. “Today, it’s a whole playground! Amusement parks, even. You can do many things [with] so many kids to play with. Which one would you choose, and why would they play with you?” he asked provocatively, prompting the audience to join him in the creative box for 20 minutes. 

Bell’s invitation was a terrific precursor to the talk by Larry Walsh, CEO of The 2112 Group and a well-known journalist, who asked the audience to join him in a virtual chess game. Strategy is a key component of success, he said. “Strategy is about making choices. If you fail to make choices, you often put yourself at risk,” he continued. “Lots of businesses say they make choices, but they are consumed by revenue generation and don’t discriminate between good and bad decisions. They also fail to anticipate. This is where surveying the landscape equates with chess. If you don’t survey the landscape and understand your competition, you cannot anticipate what the opposition will do,” he noted. Among other things, “you need to lay traps and position assets to create advantages.” 

Think ahead and read the board, he advised. Not only what you are going to do, but what your opponent is going to do. Chess helps you to play by the rules and take responsibility for your actionsto problem-solve in an uncertain environment.” 

Another “Quick Talks” speaker, Anne Nelson of IBM Watson, threw out an elaborate blueprint for success for IoT multi-partnering. IBM’s new business unit, formed in 2014, has seen astronomical growthsome 500 new partners in just two years. The IBM Watson Group provides over 30 services that partners can write applications against or leverage to improve applications. “What did you tweet over the last two weeks?” she asked the audience to recall. “Watson can provide personality insights from those tweets” and generate different coupons for discounts depending on that profile. “We are opening the platform to partners on data as well,” she replied. ‘This platform is the only one in the industry today with this many apps.” 

What’s the value for partners in alliances with IBM in the Watson ecosystem? “We’re the number one B2B brand, Watson has 70 percent unaided awareness—so brand is going gangbusters in terms of value to partners,” said Nelson, who was recruited to IBM Watson Group from IBM’s direct sales organization in January of 2015. “We have over 40,000 IBM sellers who touch millions of accounts,” she noted. 

For a longer-term view of success, Marcus Wilson, president and co-founder of Anthem’s real-world research subsidiary, HealthCore, Inc., spoke about his 20-plus years building healthcare partnerships. The key component is building trust, he said. His experience included pioneered the emergence of physician and patient education and clinical decision support services based upon real-world data. Wilson’s experience exemplifies the “kind of creativity and entrepreneur skill increasingly required when we are reinventing what we are doing all the time,” said Jan Twombly, CSAP, ASAP chairman of programming, and president of The Rhythm of Business, who prefaced the talks as moderator. 

As an entrepreneur and “intrapreneur,” Wilson shared several formative personal experiences, starting as a young clinical pharmacist doing his residency at a Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Delaware health center. “Influence is everything,” Wilson emphasized. “I had no power to prescribeI would have to walk into physicians’ offices and convince them that it was their idea to treat the way they should. I had to influence the healthcare center to offer all these new services—which eventually became incredible force for us.” Similarly, he said, “We met with FDA 10 years ago about real-world evidence. They said, that’s great, but this stuff is voodoo science.” Thanks to influence—reinforced by lots of data—“it’s becoming much more mainstream today.” 

You can read individual blog posts about these “Quick Takes” talks on our website at http://www.strategic-alliances.org/blogpost/1143942/ASAP-Blog.

Tags:  alliances  Ann Nelson  ASAP Quick Takes  assets  B2B brand  collaborative  healthcare partnerships  Heathcore Inc.  IBM Watson  IoT  John Bell  Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health  Larry Walsh  Marcus Wilson  multi-partnering  open innovation  partnering environment  problem solve  strategy  TED Talks  The 2112 Group 

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Playing the Strategic Alliance Game: The 2112 Group’s Larry Walsh Provides an ‘ASAP Quick Takes’ Talk on Smart Moves and Strategy at the 2016 ASAP Global Alliance Summit

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The world of business is sometimes perceived as a giant Monopoly game, where the luck of the dice and accumulation of assets win the game. For Larry Walsh, a more appropriate analogy is a chess game, with complex and sophisticated strategy that requires foresight and skillful coordination of the “chessmen” to provide an advantage. Walsh will be sharing his perspective and strategic insights during an “ASAP Quick Takes” talk “Seeing Around the Corners is a Masterful Move on the Partnering Chessboard” March 2 at the ASAP Global Alliance Summit. This year’s Summit, “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem,” is scheduled to take place March 1-4 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland. Patterned after the popular “TED Talks,” and well-received at the 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference, ASAP will bring four provocative speakers to the stage to provide key, interlocking pieces about emerging ecosystems 

“Anyone who plays chess has their set of moves,” explains the chief analyst and CEO of The 2112 Group during an interview about the upcoming talk. “You know what you hope your opponent will do. It’s not so much about the element of strategy as much as why we need to do the things we need to do, and why avoiding them comes with risks. If you are focused on short-term planning, you are at risk for long-term disruption. If you fail to take into account what the opponent can and should do, you are putting yourself at risk. You need to survey and execute, making short- and long-term choices that increase success and mitigate risk.” 

A journalist, analyst, author, and industry commentator, Walsh is also the founder of Channelnomics, a leading provider of IT channel news and analysis. He is an expert and seasoned commentator on the Internet of Things, cloud computing, security, and analytics and works with clients to understand their problems and challenges, developing realistic outlooks and strategies to translate to operational frameworks for effective execution. 

“An effective strategy mirrors a vision,” he continues. “The first step in any successful venture is establishing what it is that you’re doing and why. The strategy outlines how you’re going to do it: a surveying and understanding of your landscape; an identification of where you’re going to play; your inventory, resources, and strengths; and translating all that go into how you’re going to execute your plan. Strategy developmenta critical phaseis about making choices. And if you fail to make the right ones, you often put yourself at risk.” 

He provides a current-day example: A client today has dozens of reseller partners. Two-thirds haven’t made a sale. To understand why sales are not being made, and how to get to first, second, and sustained sales, requires assessing and determining what resources are needed and to come up with a strategy and execution plan for sustained revenue generation.  One of the risks, however, is that “lots of businesses say they make choices, but they are consumed by revenue generation and don’t discriminate between good and bad decisions. They also fail to anticipate. This is where surveying the landscape equates with chess. If you don’t survey the landscape and understand your competition, you can’t anticipate what the opposition will do,” he says. 

Business is often reactionary. When launching a new product, it’s critical to estimate and survive the competition’s response, he adds. For example, Tesla wasn’t the first electric car, but it has more staying power and innovation than others because the company had a strategy. Instead of trying to build a low-end, mass-produced car, Tesla built a high-end, very expensive car. High-end products attracted high-end buyers, which allowed them to plow money back into their product, he explains: “They knew the GMs and Toyotas and Nissans would counterattack with more hybrids or low-end versions of electric cars. See how their strategy worked? Who is coming out with high-end electric cars that are more moderately priced? Porsche, Mercedes, BMW.” 

Different industries work at different paces for different reasons, sometimes to collaboration’s advantage, he notes. Collaborations can influence the pace at which data is turned into intelligence. It’s sometimes faster and more economical to partner with companies than to reinvent them. Leverage partnering strengths and offset company weaknesses for speed, efficiency, and effectiveness, he advises. “If we identify that our objective is a certain point ahead, and our resources can get us halfway there, then we need to look around for alliance partners to fill in blanks.” 

For more information on this topic, click here for Walsh’s webinar “The Channel Is Not the Best Route to Market but It Can Be,” which joins last year’s previous channel-related webinars now archived in the ASAP Member Resource Library, available for free to ASAP members (nonmembers can access for a fee). 

Tags:  analytics  ASAP Quicktakes  Channelnomics  cloud computing  collaborations  electric car  Internet of Things  IT channel news  Larry Walsh  partner  revenue generation  security  Tesla  The 2112 Group 

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Channel Predictions for 2016 | THE TRANSFORMATION IS STILL TO COME

Posted By Larry Walsh, CEO and Chief Analyst of The 2112 Group., Wednesday, January 20, 2016

By all accounts, 2015 will go into the channel history books as “interesting.” Vendors, distributors, and solution providers have reported mixed experiences – particularly when it comes to sales and revenue. Solution providers are having an up year, mostly due to services. Vendors are posting mixed results as customer spending is inconsistent. And distributors are trying to find their way in the middle.

Most would agree that this was a transition year. By 2112’s estimation, however, the transformation is still to come.

Channel Predictions for 2016 Technology advancements are changing the market landscape. Cloud computing is transforming the way vendors and solution providers sell technology, and how end users consume infrastructure and applications. Mobility is allowing everyone to access IT resources from virtually any location. And soon, Big Data will make decision-making better through greater intelligence and insights.

Technology is always changing. But what we find most interesting when we look into our 2112 crystal ball is not how technology is changing but the impact technology will have on the channel going forward. In 2016, the technology industry will apply lessons and new ideas – some as innovative and others out of necessity – to reshape and advance the state of the art in the channel.

In looking at what to anticipate in the coming year, 2112 analysts looked at our research and conversation notes with vendors, distributors, and solution providers. The following are our dozen channel predictions for 2016. Some are based on hard data; others are more speculative, rooted in experience.

Keep an eye out for January ASAP eNews to read all twelve of Larry’s predictions. If you are anxious for  a sneak peek, visit Larry’s Blog.

ASAP Corporate Member, EPPP and guest blogger, Larry Walsh is CEO and Chief Analyst of The 2112 Group. He will be presenting a Quick-Take Session “Seeing Around Corners is a Masterful Move on the Partnering Chessboard” and moderating The Channel Panel discussion, at the March 1–4, 2016, ASAP Global Alliance Summit “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem,” at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland, USA. For a sneak preview, click here

Tags:  analysts  applications  big data  Channel  infrastructure  IT Resources  Larry Walsh  mobility  The 2112 Group 

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