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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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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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‘Global Alliance Partnerships Are Linchpins for the NetApp Strategy’: ASAP Announcement Recognizes NetApp’s Global Membership and 2014 Alliance Excellence Award for Emerging Alliance with Cisco

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, December 2, 2014

This week, ASAP officially announced that Corporate Member NetApp, the global provider of software, systems and services to manage and store data, has upgraded to Global Member. ASAP’s announcement also recognized NetApp for receiving, together with Cisco, the 2014 Individual Alliance Excellence award for an Emerging Alliance.

 

Together, Cisco and NetApp won the Individual Alliance Excellence award for an Emerging Alliance. Their collaborative model continues to evolve—NetApp’s new multi-way go-to-market partnerships involve not only Cisco, but also SAP, Microsoft, Accenture, and others.

 

“Our global alliance partnerships are linchpins for the NetApp strategy, and we are honored that ASAP recognizes our alliance with Cisco,” said Maria Olson, Vice President Global Alliances at NetApp. “We view ASAP as a pivotal association for advancing the professional alliance manager’s career and a valuable source for professional training and certification.” 

 

Previously a Corporate Member of ASAP, NetApp recently upgraded its engagement with ASAP to Global Member. This deeper level of engagement will further build NetApp’s alliance management capability and reinforce its partnering strategy, which focuses on innovative relationships, including multi-way converged partnerships, with leading software and hardware makers, global systems integrators, and other technology and service providers.   

“Our award honors NetApp and Cisco as two ASAP members on the forefront of partnering—they innovate not just their products, but the way they work together with partners to deliver solutions to customers,” said Michael Leonetti, President and CEO of ASAP. “In turn, ASAP is honored to welcome NetApp as a new Global Member. NetApp’s executives share their experiences and contribute in many ways to building the ASAP community and alliance management profession.”

Click here to read the complete ASAP press release, distributed via PRWeb.

Tags:  Accenture  Alliance Excellence Award  Cisco  Emerging Alliance  Maria Olson  Michael Leonetti  Microsoft  NetApp  SAP 

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August Webinar Archive: When Rubber Meets Road, Competitive Intelligence Can Drive Your Alliances’ Joint Sales

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Tuesday, August 26, 2014

In the high tech world—and increasingly throughout other industries—joint sales teams must drive alliance success and deliver revenues. According to Nancy Breiman, CSAP, manager of industry solutions and business development for IBM Global Solutions and Alliances, this is where “the rubber meets the road”—when the ability for joint sales forces to focus on the right targets and work together to grow the bottom line can and make or break your alliance. Competitive intelligence, according to Breiman, can give joint sales teams the traction they need to win the race. But it takes significant investment.

 

“It’s a rigorous process,” Breiman explained in her August 13, 2014 ASAP Netcast  Webinar presentation, “Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Leveraging Competitive Intelligence to Drive Joint Sales and Alliance Results,”  when she shared some of the ways she and colleagues at IBM use competitive and market intelligence in their joint sales efforts with Cisco and other partners. “It can take a month to do properly. And it’s not just data, but having the right people surrounding the process to think it through.”

 

Breiman, whose three decades at IBM has included extensive work both in alliances and in competitive intelligence, said that there are many similarities in the thinking of alliance management and competitive intelligence professionals. However, she emphasized that “sales teams like simple processes—‘KISS, or Keep It Simple, Stupid’”—therefore alliance professionals must provide the appropriate context to guide competitive intelligence and market intelligence. Otherwise, “competitive intelligence and market intelligence—which needs even more context—can put out analysis that’s ahead of you and the partnership.”

 

Breiman encouraged upfront investment in learning and relationship-building. “You have to have frank conversations at the beginning.” She described IBM’s “Alliance to Win” process that takes about a month to find synergies and alignment among stakeholders who have diverse goals. “The Alliance to Win process helps to prioritize efforts based on the resources available,” she said, but emphasized that “there is no silver bullet. You have to find commonalities between your [key performance indicators] and your partners’ KPIs. Peer-to-peer mapping is very labor intensive, but you have to know the right people, because none of us are organized and aligned in the same way. You have to take the time to engage all stakeholders.”

 

When the rubber does meet the road—when joint sales teams begin executing—“we do a lot of competitor targeting, and try to figure out what differentiation will make it easier to sell,” Breiman explained. Sales are tracked, clients and partners are surveyed, and win/loss analyses are performed at the account level (sometimes employing a third party).

 

Breiman noted that sharing a common alliance management language helps partners leverage competitive intelligence to drive wins: “You must spend time working through alliance semantics.” For this reason, she is a big fan of ASAP’s professional certification program. “If you speak the same language and use the same processes—for example, lifecycle management—it makes a tremendous difference.”

 

ASAP Members can access Breiman’s webinar and numerous other archived ASAP Netcast Webinars  within the member resource library by logging in and going to Resources/Member Resource Library and selecting ‘Webinars’

Tags:  ancy Breiman  IBM Global Solutions and Alliances  isco  ompetitive intelligence  SAP  SAP Netcast Webinar 

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