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5G: Overhyped, or a “Fairy Tale” Come True?

Posted By Michael J. Burke, Friday, July 17, 2020

Ready or not, the future is coming. In some ways, it’s already here.

So it is with 5G, the latest generation of mobile connectivity. The promise of this technology, and its implications for consumers, businesses, and partnering, were among the topics discussed in one of the many on-demand presentations that form this year’s ASAP Global Alliance Summit.

“How 5G Will Transform and Disrupt Business and Partners,” moderated by Stacy Conrad, director channel sales, TPx, featured three panelists:

  • Pradeep Bhardwaj, senior strategy director, Syniverse
  • Manoj Bhatia, CSAP, partner business development (technology alliances), Verizon
  • Andreas Westh, CSAP, director global partnering strategy, Ericsson

“Once upon a Time” Is Now

After a short introduction by Conrad to set the stage, Bhardwaj began by noting, “The story of mobile has been nothing short of a fairy tale. We have come a long way since the start of the first generation of mobile technology in the early ’80s.” Each generation of mobile technology has come with its own advancements, he added—including texting, Web browsing, and video—and 5G is no different.

For Westh, 5G brings with it “a lot of opportunities” for both consumers and businesses. These include connected smart homes, low-cost Internet of Things (IoT) technology, enhanced live event experiences, gaming, wireless virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), remote robotics, connected vehicles, and connected logistics for business. Westh views 5G as an “innovation platform” where “different companies come together and cocreate.”

Bhatia sees 5G’s impact as primarily occurring in three areas: mobile connectivity for business, new consumer services such as home broadband, and big industry services that will help enterprises digitalize and leverage IoT technologies, for example.

Of this last category, he said, “This is an area [where] everybody has been working for a while, trying to get new innovations. But with 5G, the speed, latency, moving massive amounts of data in a much more efficient way—that’s where the new challenge and the new excitement comes in.”

“A Complete Paradigm Shift”

Asked by Conrad whether 5G has been overhyped, the panelists seemed to agree on a resounding “no.” If anything, they suggested that perhaps the technology’s potential has been underestimated.

“The hype is very justified,” Bhardwaj maintained. “It’s a complete paradigm shift.”

Bhatia chimed in that when speed can be “magnified and amplified” anywhere from 10x to 100x over 4G, and latency reduced as much as 10x (avoiding delays in the movement of large amounts of data), “the hype is understandable.”

Furthermore, he said, “All businesses struggle not just in the transport of data but also in managing these big chunks of data. And that’s where 5G will actually help.”

“Cut All the Cables”

Westh said, “There’s huge interest from the business side, not just consumers. It opens up a lot of opportunities. We see a lot of interest from partners from different companies who want to leverage 5G for their businesses.” He added that his company, Ericsson, recently released the results of a survey predicting that mobile data consumption will increase 4x in the next couple of years, which has both business and consumer implications.

Looking at different verticals where 5G will have an impact, Bhatia mentioned healthcare—in particular noting contract tracing for the coronavirus, collection and analysis of public health data, the use of AR/VR in diagnosis, and telehealth. (And about the changes wrought by COVID-19 worldwide, he said, “We’re all going through this crisis. We’re all gathering the strengths, the technology, and the ideas to solve this problem more efficiently, so we are better prepared for this kind of crisis in the long run.”)

Westh mentioned advances in entertainment, including enhancing the experience around live concerts, shows, and sporting events—and even consuming entertainment safely at home. In these areas, he said, 5G will help remove or reduce capacity constraints, interference, and connectivity issues. Westh added that one of Ericsson’s goals is to “cut all the cables”—which means that professional cameras at live events will be able to get into spaces where it hasn’t been feasible up to now.

Bhardwaj took on the manufacturing sector, where he said that 5G could greatly improve both process and production automation, as well as connectivity and logistics, robotics, and other functions.

Partnering in 5G: From Small Islands to Super Ecosystems

Not surprisingly, the promise of 5G has spawned any number of new and innovative partnerships involving multiple players. “The foundation has been there,” Bhatia said, noting the prominence of technology and systems integrator partnerships, which he called “small islands.” But 5G, he predicted, will bring “a super set of ecosystems” with it, along with the incubation of a “new round of innovation—[creating] something that was unimaginable before.” Verizon itself is working with many startups on 5G projects, as well as with device makers like Samsung, and investing in “labs for new ideas.” But Bhatia warned that any such efforts must provide real, beneficial, “significant change,” or else it’s simply “hogwash.”

Westh agreed that partnerships are already an important element in the creation of new 5G use cases for consumers and businesses. “It’s a collaborative game,” he said. “It’s an ecosystem and a value chain [for] cocreation. We’re just at the beginning with 5G. It’s a long journey.”

If you registered for the 2020 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, don’t forget that all conference sessions—both livestream and on demand—are available for viewing from now through August 18, 2020, on the conference showcase.

Tags:  5G  Andreas Westh  AR/VR  channel sales  diagnosis  Ericsson  Manoj Bhatia  mobile  mobile connectivity  partner  partnering  Pradeep Bhardwaj  Stacy Conrad  strategy  Syniverse  technology  telehealth  TPx  Verizon 

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One Is Silver and the Other’s Gold: ASAP Summit Session Emphasizes Expansion Opportunities through Customer Renewal

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, March 2, 2017

New customers can hold great opportunity, but don’t neglect the old accounts because they hold hidden gold that can maximize revenue through expansion. That seemed to be the main message Jeff Newton, CSAP, global strategic alliance manager at Cisco Systems, and his colleague, Manoj Bhatia, CSAP, worldwide sales and business development manager at Cisco, conveyed to the audience during their session “Accelerate Partner Sales through a Customer Success Methodology.” Then they explained how to do it. The talk took place at the recent 2017 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Profit, Innovation, and Value for the Part­nering Enterprise,” Feb. 28–March 2, at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley, San Diego, California. Newton shared some thoughts from the session during an interview about his customer sales methodology.


How is the partner ecosystem changing/expanding to address new buying patterns?

From Cisco’s perspective, we are moving into lines of business where finance and marketing teams are making a lot of the decisions. It takes an ecosystem to deliver the right solution to the right customer. We need to ask how the changing ecosystem is impacting partners. We need to partner with the right people with the right technology. It’s really hard for one company to deliver the entire outcome.

Different people are making the decisions now. In the past, we would go into the IT department, find out the budget, and see how much product could be delivered. We have evolved to understanding what their pains are. To understand customers better, how can technology solve that problem? So it’s not really about selling product, it’s about selling solutions to business problems that the people in lines of business are having.

What is the role of alliance management in managing the customer?

It is good to understand what the customer is after. Ask yourself, what business problems are we solving? From an alliance management perspective, we need to put together the right ecosystem for the problem and solve the specific problem for each industry and vertical.

Please sum up your “customer success” methodology to drive an alliance to land, adopt, expand, and renew opportunities.

It’s about what the cost is to acquire a new customer. Companies spend a lot of time landing the new customer. Businesses forget to go back to that customer and find news ways to generate revenue with that customer. If you are adopting technology, you will be a lot more open. If you are helping a client build a data center, you may want to get into different lines of business to expand your sale. Also, we often don’t pay attention to sales teams, don’t focus enough on new opportunities, and we need to change our alliances to not only go after new business, but also expand together within the customer arena.

How can we measure our progress with customers?

There are some very different types of metrics we can look at. One thing I look at is the renewal rate for our support services. The industry average is about 90 percent, so if you go below 90 percent, you have an opportunity. It’s a compelling event to expand. The technology you have in your partner ecosystem will also help expand the sales and grow your footprint inside of a customer.

What are the best ways for alliance teams to lead this business transition and implement a customer success approach?

First, you really need to understand this methodology. Start looking at customers together in the same fashion. Ask how can we educate our sales teams on the ability to expand the opportunity and prepare for the renewal of the opportunity? How do we get our sales teams to think differently to engage with the customer? Look at the customer journey. Explore what they want to buy, and then evaluate it through a demonstration or something else, then the purchase, renewal opportunity, and then they can become your advocate inside the company. 

Tags:  alliance  alliance management  Cisco Systems  customer engagement  ecosystem  Jeff Newton  Manoj Bhatia  methodology  Partner Sales  technology 

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