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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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‘It’s About the Relationships, Stupid’—Finding the Fullest Potential and Meaning in Your Partnerships

Posted By Geena B. Richards and Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Maria Olson, CSAP encouraged her audience to reach their full potential in business alliances during an inspirational talk at the 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. During one of four plenary  “Leadership Spotlights,” NetApp’s vice president of global and strategic alliances told her listeners, “You have a duty to understand your true potential. If you don’t, you are cheating yourself and stealing from the world.” She then then provided several tools for unlocking that “true potential.”

Olson will be providing more thoughtful advice for her fellow leaders as a panelist at the ASAP Tech Partner Forum to be held at NVIDIA in Santa Clara, Calif., next Wed., June 7, 2017. In an in-depth session moderated by Erna Arnesen, chief channel and alliance officer at ZL Technologies, Olson will join Steen Graham of Intel, and Andres Sintes of Cisco to discuss “Strategies You Need to Partner Everywhere.” http://www.asaptechforum.org/17/tech17sessions.html#everywhere

“It’s not about the tech, it’s about the relationships . . . Without the relationships, we would not have the success,” Olson emphasized in her March 1 plenary talk. “As partners, have we reached the full potential, or are we still on the journey?” she then asked the audience to consider. Partnerships are important, and if they can reach peak potential and performance, they can have an even larger impact, she added. To do so, consider four key questions:

  • What is the meaning of the partnership?
  • What is the purpose of the partnership?
  • What impact is this partnership having on our customers and the market?
  • What contribution is this having in terms of revenue, innovation, and to our society as a whole?

It can be approached like a mathematical equation, Olson said: “You need to understand the meaning, purpose, contribution, and impact. When you understand these things, it will ultimately lead to success.” Ask yourself, “What was the meaning of this partnership? It was really about creating value for the customer,” she then answered. “The purpose was flexibility—being able to bring together pieces to make it easy for the customers. The impact it has had is innovation.”

Now consider multi-alliances, she continued. “Trying to work with two partners is hard, but with each new partner, it gets harder and harder. The multiplier effect is like partnering with an earthquake. You have a Richter Scale going on of 10.” To organize and assess many partnerships, she advised following these key points:

  • Have key performance measures in place to measure partner success
  • Measure revenue in terms of go-to-market initiatives
  • Consider how the company is performing in terms of training and enablement with channel partners
  • Make co-innovation a priority

With each relationship, applying these points will bring greater alliance success, Olson said. “The key to relationships is trust. . . . Trust is extra important in terms of being able to partner with companies and go back to the meaning, purpose, etc. Without trust, one cannot create greatness,” she added.

“So how do you help your teams understand their full potential? The Cisco/NetApp partnership is about 10 years old, and we’re still reaching our full potential,” she concluded, and then she hinted at one last secret ingredient for the sauce: “What really drives people is learning, really trying to learn how to do things in a friendly environment.”

Learn more about the June 7, 2017 ASAP Tech Partner Forum, an all-day event for senior tech and partnering executives hosted by NVIDIA at its corporate HQ in Santa Clara, Calif., at www.asaptechforum.org

Tags:  Andres Sintes  ASAP Tech Partner Forum  Cisco  co-innovation  contribution  Erna Arnesen  go-to-market  High Tech  inpact  Intel  Internet of Things  IoT  Maria Olson  multi-alliances  NetApp  NVIDIA  Partner success  partnerships  Steen Graham  trust  ZL Technologies 

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