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Transform or Risk Extinction (Part Two): Recognizing Value in Multiple Engagement Models

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Updated: Sunday, May 20, 2018

This is the second of two blogs continuing my April 2018 eSAM Plus article on “Architecting for Transformation: The Next Generation Partner Ecosystem,” the title of a lively conference session led by Russ Cobb, senior vice president, growth and business operations at SAS Institute, and Norma Watenpaugh, CSAP, founding principal, Phoenix Consulting Group. The two took the stage at the A2018 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Propelling Partnering for the On-Demand World: New Perspectives + Proven Practices for Collaborative Business,”March 26-28, 2018, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. The drivers of seismic changes in channel partnering, Cobb and Watenpaugh explain explained, are the convergence of SMAC (social media, mobile computing, analytics, and cloud technology), the change in technology consumption, the rise of digital transformation (DX), and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Part One of this blog post concluded on Watenpaugh’s comment, “There are no simple partner models anymore. They are adopting complex, multi-faceted business models where they do all of the above.” So how to recognize value across multiple engagement models?

Watenpaugh: Companies need to recognize value across multiple engagement models in the following ways:

  • Partner programs are evolving to recognize the breadth of contribution from partners across a blended business model.
  • Incentives shift to reward behavior and customer value.
  • Vendors can no longer subsidize profitability through rebates or discounts.
  • Recognizing value, investment, commitment, volume.

Cobb: SAS has a partner program that has a precious metals taxonomy as well. What we are trying to do is have more partners because of economics—if we can get a partner to look at different ways at engaging with SAS, such as the ability to resell SAS or engage in analytic services with a revenue-sharing agreement with SAS. We are really focused on economics because of customer behavior.  The more ways we can get engaged with you partner-wise, the more commitment you will get. The ROI will go up over time. One reason we get partners to do things with us is we create commitment over time.

Watenpaugh: The cloud strategy right now is evolving and emerging. We need a flexible view of what cloud means. We need to transition to a service model. How can we help our customers fit into third-party cloud environments? We’ve got to figure out how to meet our customers where their need might be. There is a complexity of applications. No one can do it alone, so we are seeing more partner-to-partner. There are so many specializations. No company has it all. It’s becoming more and more important to get from a pick list to what skills are needed to deliver.

Some people think it needs to be more like a blockchain model. That involves the challenge of finding new partners and finding how to engage to meet the needs of customers. Infrastructure companies are challenged, and finding the right value and provision in the cloud is really a challenge.

Russ: This all comes down to if you are a channel or IT partner, what is your unique value proposition? You need a very crisp value proposition. So what is the road ahead in ecosystem evolution?

  • Industry trends in cloud, digital transformation, and IoT are driving disruption and opportunity in the market
  • Non-traditional partners offering access to the line of business
  • Vendors will be required to think more holistically about the capabilities of the partner ecosystem
  • Vendors must create relevance to business outcomes or become commodities
  • Creating a compelling partner experience

Check out Part One of this blog post as well as the May 2018 issue of eSAM Plus for other topics addressed in Watenpaugh and Cobb’s session as well as ASAP Media’s coverage of other sessions at the 2018 ASAP Global Alliance Summit. 

Tags:  blockchain  business models  channel partnering  channel partners  Cloud  complex partnering  digital transformation  IoT  Norma Watenpaugh  partner ecosystem  partner models  Phoenix Consulting Group  Russ Cobb  SAS Institute  SMAC  value propositions  vendors 

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Transform or Risk Extinction (Part One): ‘Become the Yoda to Our Channel Partners’

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, May 21, 2018
Updated: Sunday, May 20, 2018

This is the first of two blogs continuing my April 2018 eSAM Plus article on “Architecting for Transformation: The Next Generation Partner Ecosystem,” the title of a lively conference session led by Russ Cobb, senior vice president, growth and business operations at SAS Institute, and Norma Watenpaugh, CSAP, founding principal, Phoenix Consulting Group. The two took the stage at the 2018 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Propelling Partnering for the On-Demand World: New Perspectives + Proven Practices for Collaborative Business,” March 26-28, 2018, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. Cobb and Watenpaugh provided a frank tutorial on seismic changes in channel partnering. The drivers, they explained, are the convergence of SMAC (social media, mobile computing, analytics, and cloud technology), the change in technology consumption, the rise of digital transformation (DX), and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Watenpaugh: We need to become the Yoda to our channel partners. They need our support in areas like: how to sell to the line of business, the C-level, how these products integrate together to make a solution. The ability to manage the customer experience is going to be primary. I don’t think we’ve gotten it mastered. To enable our partners, we need to know that:

  • The trusted advisors role requires in-depth knowledge of customers’ businesses
  • The ability to manage the customer experience is key
  • Digital transformation and IoT require a more verticalized approach and expertise

Russ: I agree. This is an area where we need to put the greatest emphasis. IT is a commodity, if you think of the tech itself; you cannot create a lasting competitive advantage simply on IT advancement. This was going on almost a decade ago. The tech is going to get quicker and quicker. We are a company that is very proud of our products. We build lots of different products and product market segments. You need to ask, what unique value propositions do you have that are relevant to your customer? If you are not there, you are not going to win these conversations over time because you will not be able to provide the most value.

IoT, in particular, is very specific to your customer. We had some false starts in IoT with our partners. Now, we are trying to determine at an industry level, what is the value proposition were going to provide? You have to get really concrete about what that is. You want to add value to them not only on a cost basis but also on an innovation basis.

Watenpaugh: There are no simple partner models anymore. They are adopting complex, multi-faceted business models where they do all of the above.

Check out the May 2018 issue of eSAM Plus for other topics addressed in Watenpaugh and Cobb’s session as well as ASAP Media’s coverage of other sessions at the 2018 ASAP Global Alliance Summit. Stay tuned for Part Two of this blog post, in which Watenpaugh and Cobb discuss how to find value in complex partnering business models.

Tags:  business models  channel partners  complex partnering  digital transformation  IoT  Norma Watenpaugh  partner models  Phoenix Consulting Group  Russ Cobb  SAS Institute  value propositions 

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‘Building Corporate Capability for Collaboration’: Pre-Summit Workshop Attendees Assess their Organizations’ Readiness for the ISO 44001 Standard for Business Collaboration

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

If you think your organization meets a certifiably high standard of collaboration excellence just because you’re an ASAP member and employing best practices—well, you just might be right. On Monday, March 26, several dozen ASAP Global Alliance Summit attendees were able to validate their assumptions and measure the level of their organization’s collaborative capability against the International Standards Organization’s (ISO) 44001 standard for business collaboration and ASAP’s Handbook of Alliance Management. Norma Watenpaugh, CSAP, principal of Phoenix Consulting Group, and Parth Amin, CSAP, principal of Alliance Dynamics, LLC, presented an in-depth ISO 44001 preconference workshop at the 2018 ASAP Global Alliance Summit in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida USA.

“What is the standard? People tell me you can’t standardize a relationship—they are all so different,” Watenpaugh noted in her opening comments. “And this is true—but we know from ASAP that there is a common life cycle and approaches that make alliances more successful.” More to the point, she continued, “It’s a framework, not a rigid process. It doesn’t tell you how to have a process or governance, it just tells that you need to address that.” The standard is designed for broad applicability, she added. “It enables organizations of all sizes—you can be a two-person organization and certify.” Regardless of organization size, when two or more organizations partner, “having a common model, language, framework, makes partnering more successful because it reduces friction.”

The ISO 44001 standard “also recognizes cultural differences” and, “as a standard, it’s very unique in promoting collaborative behavior,” Watenpaugh said. “Most standards are about processes, how you manage those processes, and that’s part of it as well—but there is high emphasis on having collaborative behavior and culture.”

The first part of the 90-minute session focused on how ASAP certification and best practices complement and accelerate ISO certification. Watenpaugh and Amin walked workshop participants through a collaborative maturity model based on the fusion of the ISO Standard and the ASAP Handbook of Alliance Management: A Practitioner’s Guide. Amin discussed new tools and then had attendees utilize a live assessment app that, based on the responses, scored their organizations’ ability to deliver high-performing collaborations. Attendees also received (on a memory stick) a comprehensive implementation guide that maps the ISO 44001 standard to the ASAP Handbook of Alliance Management.

Amin, an evangelist for the ISO standard who has worked closely with ASAP partner New Information Paradigms to develop the assessment tool, emphasized “the importance of relationships to CEOs.” He and Watenpaugh—leader the US technical advisory group for the ISO standard who previously led the revamping of the ASAP Handbook of Alliance Management several years ago—addressed, from an enterprise perspective, why relationships struggle in practice. “Getting value from collaboration is pretty hard,” Amin said. Amin and Watenpaugh talked about how a standard helps to get that value—on an individual, organizational, and partner level—and how ASAP best practices and certification contribute to the standards.

Assessing Readiness for ISO 44001
Amin and Watenpaugh walked through “the initial steps for certification—focusing on the assessing your organization’s readiness and the assessment tool itself,” said Amin, referring to a 20-question assessment app developed by the UK-based New Information Paradigms. Participants then roll up their sleeves for the remainder of the session to “do the assessment live, see their scores, talk about what were some of the ‘ah ha’ moments and surprises,” Amin said, noting that a diverse group of executives participated in the session. “We have broad range of industries represented—from academia, finance, medical device, pharma, high tech, etc.—and a broad range of executive levels—CEOs,  directors, managers, and so on,” he said.

Amin and Watenpaugh “brainstormed on how best to lead our session,” Amin said. “Should it be educational or interactive? We figured it would be something of both, instead of us preaching the whole hour.”

See John W. DeWitt’s recent feature article in the February issue of eSAM Plus for more about the ISO 44001 standard, including excerpts from the February 15, 2018 ASAP Netcast Webinar on the topic with Watenpaugh, Amin, and Cisco collaboration guru Ron Ricci, who discussed “Is Your CEO Challenging You to Go Faster? Why a Collaboration Standard Can Help.”

Tags:  Alliance Dynamics  alliance management  alliances  ASAP Handbook of Alliance Management  certification  International Standards Organization’s (ISO) 44001  Norma Watenpaugh  Parth Amin  Phoenix Consulting Group  standardize a relationship 

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‘A Common Vocabulary of Collaboration’: ASAP Announces Publication of ISO 44001 Standard for Business Collaboration

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Friday, March 31, 2017

On March 27, ASAP officially announced http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/03/prweb14185234.htm the publication of ISO 44001, an international standard providing common frameworks, standardized terminology, and assessments for business collaboration.

“The way organizations collaborate and work together might be the most important capability organizations need to survive the accelerating pace of change in the twenty-first century,” commented Ron Ricci, vice president, customer experience services, Cisco. “ISO 44001 creates a common vocabulary of collaboration, with tools and ways to work together on common goals, while recognizing and respecting the cultural and other authentic differences between people and their organizations. That’s why the simple principles in this standard are so amazing.”

The International Standards Organization (ISO) published ISO 44001 under the title “Collaborative business relationship management systems — Requirements and framework.” As a nonprofit, ASAP has served as the lead organization on the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Technical Advisory Group (TAG). ASAP’s alliance management frameworks and certification program have guided the development of the standard.

According to US TAG member Parth Amin, CSAP, principal of Alliance Dynamics, “The ISO 44001 standard provides several components that create the common ground needed to support business collaboration among diverse organizations and individuals in any industry, as well as government agencies, nonprofits, and academia.” These include common assessment using a relationship maturity index, a common framework using a disciplined, phased approach, and a standardized terminology, Amin added.

“A standard raises the visibility of business collaboration and awareness that there is a process model and a set of skills for collaborating effectively,” commented Norma Watenpaugh, CSAP, founder and CEO of Phoenix Consulting Group, who serves as leader of the US TAG. “One of the myths to dispel is that adopting a collaboration standard is restrictive. It’s a framework, not a hard-and-fast checklist or set of rigid procedures,” Watenpaugh emphasized.

The US TAG—which also is the US delegation to ISO—includes executive representatives from diverse sponsoring organizations and companies. TAG members whose companies have provided sponsor funding for the collaboration standard development include Ron Ricci of Cisco, Ravi Rajagopal of Verizon, Nimma Bakshi of PwC, Parth Amin (formerly of funding sponsor Vision RT) and Alekzandr Zuhk of Business Relationship Management Institute (BRMI). Other members of the US TAG include Watenpaugh, Michael Leonetti of ASAP, along with Michael Young of biomedwoRX, Ann Trampas, CSAP, of the University of Illinois, Chicago, Bryan Stamford of BAE Systems, David Luvison, CSAP, of Loyola University, and Greg Burge, CSAP, of California’s San Mateo County.

“The US Technical Advisory Group that has worked very hard to make this standard possible,” said ASAP President and CEO Michael Leonetti, CSAP, who serves as chair of the US TAG. “A disciplined, proven framework and common language enable companies to partner more quickly, with more confidence, and with more consistent strategic performance. … ISO 44001 offers business collaboration ‘superstructure’ or ‘meta-framework’ that aligns and integrates with ASAP’s frameworks, best practices, measurement systems, and certifications.”

For more information, read the full announcement http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/03/prweb14185234.htm, see additional coverage in “The Close” in the Q1 2017 issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine, and check out the lead story in the March 30 edition of eSAM Plus

Tags:  Alliance Dynamics  American National Standards Institute  ANSI  business collaboration  Cisco  collaboration standard  international standard  ISO 44001  Norma Watenpaugh  Parth Amin  Phoenix Consulting Group  relationship maturity index  Ron Ricci  standardized terminology  TAG  Technical Advisory Group 

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Why do Channels Matter to Alliance Managers?

Posted By Norma Watenpaugh, CSAP | Phoenix Consulting Group, LLC | CEO & Founding Principal, Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Today, increasingly channels are becoming the preferred route to market for technology alliances with new models of converged architectures, such as cloud computing and big data analytics. As a result, each alliance relationship needs to redefine the sales engagement models that make sense. One partner can be a route-to-market for the other or they can meet in the channel or they can take the traditional influence channel model and collaborate on joint selling.  More often than not, it’s a combination of all of the above.  

What we have seen in the 2013 Go-to-Market Alliances Research is not only are alliances employing multiple routes to market: channels, OEM and co-sale, but the top performing alliances are more heavily invested in an indirect route vs. relying on just joint sales for revenue. This is an ongoing trend with 65% of alliances choosing direct sales in our previous 2010 survey. Given what we are hearing in the industry today, we would expect to see even more business shift to the channel were we to conduct this survey again in 2016.

What this implies is that it is not feasible to keep partners neatly siloed and alliance managers need to be as sophisticated about enabling channel sell-thru success as they are in sell-with.  And in this time of technology convergence and business model transformation, alliance managers need to be solidly grounded in what is happening in the channel and how to equip channel partners to succeed with alliance offers.

 What do alliance managers need to know about channel sales? 

Well it starts with tried and true partner value proposition but viewed through the new lens of “what is the value the channel partner brings to the customer?” What is the value or business proposition that is recognized by the channel partner? What is the value that you, as part of an alliance, recognize? The key principles of success being how do WE create value for customers and how do WE make money all together? That would be the inclusive WE meaning channel partner, your alliance partner, your company and even your customer.

Starting with the customer experience will give alliance managers some perspective on the best route to market, whether direct or with a channel partner. How does your target customer prefer to buy? Do they work with local heroes to recommend and implement your proposed alliance offer or do they rely on global system integrators to act in the trusted advisor role? With the confusing array of converging technologies and digital transformation, going to market through a channel partner that acts as a trusted advisor makes sense. Your channel partner absorbs the complexity and connects technology features to business relevancy for the customer. One channel marketing professional raved about her favorite VAR. They specialized in the Health Spas. They knew everything about the business of operating Spas and could help Spa owners and operators with turnkey technology that would create better experiences for spa customers. And in her words “They were making a killing!”

Another building block of success in understanding how to go to market through channel partners is understanding the driving economic model for the channel. Gone are the days when VARs could make a tidy living on resale margin. Cloud solutions are putting even more pressure on the channel as the cloud margins are even thinner and recognized as monthly recurring revenue. The survivors are developing new skills, new services, and IP, such as API extensions to create complementary revenue streams. In other words, your joint offer may have just become the razor.  Savvy alliance managers will examine the profit model around their joint offer for the channel, being mindful that they need to compete for the best channel partners. 

Understanding the channel partner economic model, gives you insight into how to enable profitability for those partners and you have to do that at scale. You will need many channel partners who are capable of selling, marketing, provisioning, implementing, configuring and supporting your offer. This means working with your channel organizations to build the enablement program that supports not only the joint offer, but also those new revenue streams.

Yes, there are many moving parts and lots to think about, but the trend is clear. As technology buying shifts to the line of business buyer, it takes a partner in the ecosystem that understands the buyer’s business and has that vital relationship required to sell solutions that build their business.  That partner is a channel partner.   

Author and guest blogger Phoenix Consulting Group CEO & founding principal Norma Watenpaugh, CSAP was named 2015 Woman of Influence in Silicon Valley and is a seasoned  volunteer leader for ASAP. She is a member of ASAP and her company is an Education Partner Provider to our members. 

Tags:  alliance managers  channel  channel marketing  Channel partner  cloud solutions  Economic model  Education Partner Provider  go-to-market alliance research  Norma Watenpaugh  Phoenix Consulting Group  sell-thru  VAR 

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