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The Value of Honing in on Partner Specialization and Expertise—the Google Way

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Google has been called a trendsetter; a more apt description might be “epoch-maker.” The company repeatedly has surged ahead of the pack to set long-term standards. When adapting to the evolving multi-industry, multi-partner ecosystem, Google places great value on making specialization and expertise central to strategy, says Nina Harding, channel chief at Google Cloud. Harding discussed that message today in her session “Transforming Partnerships in the Cloud” at the 2018 ASAP Tech Partner Forum, “Reimaging Part­nering in a Disruptive World,” on October 17, at the Four Points by Sheraton, San Jose Airport, San Jose, California. In a fascinating pre-Forum interview, here’s what Harding honed in on:

Your session description describes Google’s link to transformation as pervasive in a world of continuous change. How does this philosophy fit into Google’s present partnering mindset?

We partner differently. We approach partnering much more from the ways companies and partners are transforming. I plan to talk a lot about traditional services and resellersthe way partners build their businesses. That traditional way is in the rear view mirror. We are finding increasingly the need to build businesses around where they have expertise, so it makes it easier to partner to fill in gaps. We ask the question: What do you want the ecosystem to do for you, and how do you want it to extend value for you? We look at channels differently as we meet with partners and look at the marketplace. Those traditional partners don’t exist anymore. They don’t show up as one type or two types anymore.

The shift from vendor to ecosystem partner requires figuring out for a particular company how they can best ride their business. You need to look at it more from a behavioral perspective: How can we make you successful or profitable? Or if you want to just sell, how can we unbridle you from the resell? Become strategic advisors if you don’t want to be bridled into reselling. We talk about transforming and looking at the landscape of the ecosystem and how they want to engage with us. It’s a very different approach. Companies like Google, SAP, and Microsoft used to have a lot of power in who their partners were. Now, with social media, purchasing is through networks. Our job is not to assess the value of a partner. Instead, it’s to differentiate the business. There is a fundamental shift in the way you want to engage and work with our ecosystem. We talk a lot more now about how we help partners differentiate in the marketplace and how we make them successful. Because we created a culture, we ask questions like: How do we find the right partner? How are they specialized? What is their expertise?

As one of the big leaders in this new ecosystem, how is Google adapting and adjusting to the change?

It’s critical. One of the biggest areas of investment in the last six months requires really focusing on industry perspective. For example, some of our great new partners and customers are makers of wearable devices, where they have the Google Cloud platform. This is not the traditional cloudwe take geospatial data, maps, linguistics, etc., and intertwine them. The power of having such tools and resources through Google partnering is to be able to deliver transformative options in, for example, the healthcare space. We also have Chrome. The utilitarian nature of a Chrome book allows hospitals and organizations to have a utility laptop that anyone can access. They can sign into their account regardless of it being their machinebecause everything is in the cloud. It’s not just signing into an epic system; it’s anything and everything they have access to as a user, from the G-suite to GCP, Chrome, maps. There’s a tower of solutions as a partner.

You state that companies need to become business advisors solving customer challenges in an agile, customer-centric, digital environment. Why is that the new normal?

Customers are almost ahead of partners sometimes in digital transformation, as partners are no longer going in to solve a lift-and-shift problem. Whole conversations need to be about imagining what your business could be and tackling what your next version of your business will be. It’s about transforming your businesshow to reach and serve your customer versus going in and saying “This is our tech, and this is how this will fit.” That’s the conversation we’re having about being that trusted advisor.

What are key considerations when building these new partnering programs?

I don’t think the partner program are vendor-driven, they are ecosystem-driven. So when building programs, build to make the partner successful. Build their business. In this world, it’s about innovation, digital transformation, and the need to infuse with tech enablement, but also it about how to think differently and imagine a different world than we have today. It’s a different way to enable partners. It doesn’t mean anything to a customer if you are a silver, bronze, or gold partner. But it means something if I have specialization or expertise to give you an idea of where you need to take your business. It’s about serving your ecosystem rather than measuring your ecosystem. My message is more about how should companies should be thinking differently working with their partners. Look at this from a different perspective and be customer-centric, which is a different philosophy.

Stay tuned for more of the ASAP Media team’s coverage of the 2018 ASAP Tech Partner Forum on the ASAP Blog at www.strategic-alliances.org. Learn more about the 2018 ASAP Tech Partner Forum at http://asaptechforum.org

Tags:  ASAP Tech Partner Forum  Chrome  cloud  customer-centric  digital Transformation  geospatial data  Google Cloud  innovation  Microsoft  multi-partner ecosystem  Nina Harding  partner programs  partners  SAP  strategic advisors 

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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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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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High Tech, Biopharma, and Academia: The Three-Legged Stool of Many of Today’s Collaborations

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, September 8, 2016

Cross-industry partnering is on the rise, and a sturdy three-legged stool is fast becoming fundamental furniture in the world of collaboration. The hot topic of collaboration between high tech, biopharma, and academia is on stage Sept. 8 at the ASAP 2016 BioPharma Conference “New Faces, Unexpected Places in Partnering: The Foresight to Lead, the Foundation to Succeed” being held at the Revere Hotel, Boston Common, Boston. In this session, three panelists from diverse backgrounds discuss the trend of “Cross-Industry Partnerships: Managing Alliances between Biopharma and High-Tech Partners”: Chaitanya K. Dahagam, MD, global partner innovation executive at IBM Watson Health, who has managed collaborations for IBM; Rachel Sha, transactions lead, business development & licensing, at Sanofi, who has managed a collaboration with Google; Juliana Leung, director, strategic alliances, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, who has overseen collaborations with Intel, Google, and IBM. I spoke with session moderator Prakash Purohit, managing partner at Raaya Biopharma Consulting, about the thrust of the panel discussion. 

What is the focus of the panel discussions?

They are giving their perspective on how they approached different issues or aspects of cross-industry alliances, how they resolved their questions and concerns, and their approaches in doing so. They describe the metrics and tools they used to resolve these issues. For example, if you take an alliance between high tech and academic institutions, some of the challenges that might crop up are the alignment of goals. Each institution may have their own set of goals for innovation, licensing, fund raising, and publications. So how do they align these goals, especially with high tech, because they are looking to bring to market in the short term, and how will they manage those alliances? We will discuss IBM’s collaborations with healthcare and biopharma: What kinds of challenges did they find in these alliances with various entities, such as clinicians, patients, technical personnel, and consumers? 

Why is this topic of such interest now in biopharma?

This is a brand new session. Recently there has been a recognition of the benefits of developing these alliances for these industries, because they provide clinicians, patients, and doctors with new tools for managing data and genomic data. Considerable growth in the amount of that data has necessitated building cross-industry partnerships in healthcare and biopharma with companies such as IBM, Google, Oracle, and Microsoft. And because today’s data is digital, high tech companies are developing new tools for data analysis for the healthcare industry. 

Where does academia fit in?

We did an ASAP Webinar in May to address the challenges of academia and biopharma alliances. One reason collaborations with academia are happening more frequently is that the tremendous amount of growth of data through genomic or clinical research has become a daunting challenge for both academia and hospitals. High tech is continuously evolving with new software programs, technology, etc. Those collaborations tend to be short because of the dynamics and changes. Biopharma and bioresearch tend to be long-term collaborations because understanding the mechanisms or functions is complicated. It takes time to understand how processes happen. Human trials tend to take place over a long period, some eight to 10 years to go to market. Academic research can happen in a few years of collaboration or it can involve clinical trials with long processes and numerous stagesoften with government funding. That is another way academic institutions come into the picture. They might be involved in a screening process that can be used to create new sets of molecules. Industry partners can then test a number of compounds using that tool for screening purposes. They can determine what works and provide the results to the biopharma industry. 

Tags:  alliances  analytical tools  biopharma  Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard  Chaitanya Dahagam  collaborations  cross-industry alliances  Google  healthcare  IBM  IBM Watson  Juianna Leung  managing data  Microsoft  Oracle  Prakash Purohit  Rachel Sha  Sanofi 

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How to Manage Mega-scale Partnering in the Era of the Internet of Things from the Vantage Point of Schneider Electric

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, January 28, 2016

When it comes to Schneider Electric, the company operates in a seemingly unlimited world of opportunities for establishing connections. Its partnering mantra seems to be “think globally and act locally, globally, and everywhere in between.” 

Now add the Internet of Things, and Schneider is broadening its scope to partner in complex and creative ways with some of the biggest companies in the world, such as Cisco Systems, Microsoft, and IBM Corporation. That’s the topic Anthony DeSpirito, CSAP, managing director, strategic accounts at Schneider Electric, is scheduled to address during the panel discussion “Capturing the Value of the Internet of Things” March 1–4, 2016, at the ASAP Global Alliance Summit “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem,” at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland, USA. The discussion will focus on generating revenue from the complex partnering and business models driven by IoT. Other participants scheduled for the panel discussion are Nancy M. Green, global practice lead, healthcare strategy & thought leadership, at Verizon  Enterprise Solutions and Joan Meltzer, CSAP, smarter cities go-to-market leader at IBM Analytics, IBM Corporation. 

Schneider currently manages more than $30 billion in energy for 4,500 clients in 147 countries. The company integrates solutions in large numbers of physical structures, such as electrical and SCADA systems (data acquisitions and control systems for power or water treatment systems), and has access to vast amounts of data about the physical environment. The information is then provided to an analytics platform that turns physical data into information that allows partners, such as Verizon and IBM, to make better-informed decisions. 

Such complex, mega-scale strategic alliances require large teams and significant investments of time for planning. Schneider has 14 alliance managers. Key components need to fall into place for mega-partnership to fly: “Alignment is absolutely critical at the executive level,” DeSpirito pointed out during a recent interview.

 

For example, Schneider’s alliance with IBM to provide cutting-edge cloud services for the utility industries required the fundamental first step of having problem-solving meetings at the executive vice president level. “Once they agreed, it … cascaded throughout the organizations. Now the sales areas have agreement, and there is a cadence of communications between the two teams doing workshops and basic education. Now we need to bring discipline and cadence through quarterly business reviews,” he explained.

 

The early-stage, innovative ADMS cloud-based service solution could radically change the utility industry if it gains regulatory approval because it could provide services to utilities that can’t afford ADMS as a stand-alone product. Electrical power plants use a distribution management software system called DMS that allows them to be efficient in production and distribution. Schneider’s system is ADMS, where “A” stands for Advanced. The system is “much more customizable, much more efficient, and allows a utility to become more productive,” he says. If a proof of concept with ADMS that is underway in Canada is successful, “we anticipate it will move into production, … which should manifest itself in lower operation costs, cheaper electric, and allow us to go to smaller utilities,” he explained.

 

From a partnering standpoint, this is a brand new business model, and also an example of the complex alliance management planning often required in large company alliances, DeSpirito added. “This is not just buying and selling software and space in a data center.”

Tags:  ADMS  alliance management  alliances  Cisco Systems  cloud  DMS  electrical and SCADA systems  IBM Corporation  IoT  Joan Meltzer  Microsoft  Nancy M. Green  Schneider Electric  Tony DeSpirito  utilities  utility industry  Verizon Enterprise Solutions 

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