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Morphing Your Partnering Philosophy in a Changing World of Digital Drivers (Part Two)

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, March 29, 2018

Key sectors of the economy are struggling to adapt to disruptions from digital technologies, such as the cloud. The change is resulting in new business models and service sector opportunities in areas such as security and supply chains. This article continues our coverage of the 2018 ASAP Global Alliance Summit session “Partnering with Change in a World of Ongoing Disruption.” Presenters Joe Schramm, vice president of strategic alliances at BeyondTrust, and Morgan Wheaton, senior director, global partner alliances & channels at JDA Software, addressed the considerable transformation in company culture that is needed to better enable new partnering models. The first part of the session covered emerging industry paradigms needed to succeed in today’s fast-paced, partnering-oriented ecosystems. These additional insights and excerpts are gleaned from the second half of the session.

Wheaton: JDA had a new CEO come in a year ago, and instead of replacing people he created a team of JDA employees to create a new culture. The culture at JDA is about three key concepts. Results—JDA is obsessed with delivering customer value. Relentlessness—we relentlessly drive new learning and innovation. Teamwork—we candidly and respectfully collaborate. So what kind of cultural change is needed to better enable new partner models? [The first change is] TEAM, which stands for Together Each Achieves More, a gradual change that takes time.

Schramm: Next on the list is [that] executives need to walk the talk: High-level executive alignment is critical.

Wheaton: Celebrate mutual success: Nothing gets more attention than selling a deal. It’s so very important to get the word out when we close a deal.

Schramm: Re-educate and reinforce. This is a big one as we go after new and different partners. We need to educate ourselves on what the win is with a new partner and why to go after them.

Wheaton: Compensation matters. I’m a coin-operated machine. Salespeople do what you pay them to do. Figuring out how to drive the right behavior through compensation is important.

Schramm: Transparent, open communications. Partners are in for the whole ride, and we need to include them.

In terms of the cultural change specific to BeyondTrust, there are lots of items. We emphasize passion—approaching each day with energy and enthusiasm. Teamwork—we work together and act as one. Customer and partner focus—the most important consideration, we are 100 percent committed to meeting the requirements of our customers and partners. Innovation—we work relentlessly to improve our products and processes for the benefit of customers, partners, employees, and the company. Integrity—we are honest and consistent in our actions.

Wheaton: So can alliance leaders design “future proof” alliances that accommodate ongoing disintermediation, otherwise known as cutting out the middleman in connection with a transaction or series of transactions? My crystal ball may not tell me what future technology will be like, but I know we will be involved in partnering. You need to put metrics in place. Sometimes you can’t future proof all alliances, sometimes you need to pull the ripcord and get out. Sometimes the pesky market shifts.

In summary, Schramm and Wheaton agree on implementing these key principles:

  • Listen and survey—be aware and anticipate changes.
  • Build a culture of “partner first.”
  • “Semper Gumby”—always be flexible; be ready to change things on the fly.
  • Execute today, but keep an eye on the future—monitor what’s coming while keeping an eye on the distance.

Tags:  alliance leaders  BeyondTrust  collaborate  collaboration  cultural change  Digital drivers  ecosystem  flexible  future proof  innovation  JDA  JDA Software  Joe Schramm  Morgan Weaton  Morgan Wheaton  partner first  partnering  partners  Semper Gumby  strategic alliances 

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Collaborating at Digital Transformation Speed: Report from the ASAP Tech Partner Forum, Part Two

Posted By ohn W. DeWitt, Monday, June 19, 2017

When I think of digitization, disruptive technologies, and the blistering pace of change, I understand that it impacts companies of all sizes. But, like many folks I’m guessing, I have this image in my head of nimble hotshot startups headed by 26-year-olds causing all the disruption and driving all the innovation. But of course, that’s not the case at all—tech industry giants like Cisco and Intel, and leading storage solution players such as NetApp, “aren’t young companies,” noted Erna Arnesen, CSAP—NetApp is 25 years old, Cisco 30, and Intel 40. But they are in the thick of driving digital transformation through ecosystem partnering with a diversity of players, from startups to decades-old tech firms to an increasing number of vertical industry operational technology companies.

We were talking with Arnesen last Thursday, the morning after the inaugural ASAP Tech Partner Forum in Santa Clara, Calif. (see Part One of our coverage http://www.strategic-alliances.org/blogpost/1143942/278261/Collaborating-at-Digital-Transformation-Speed-Report-from-the-ASAP-Tech-Partner-Forum-Part-One). On the conference line with me and ASAP Media Managing Editor Cynthia B. Hanson, Arnesen was joined by Gregory Burge, CSAP, a consultant and immediate past president of the Silicon Valley Chapter, Citrix alliance executive and current chapter president Ana Brown, CA-AM, and Norma Watenpaugh, CSAP, and Ann Trampas, CSAP, both of Phoenix Consulting Group.  Where we left the conference recap, Arnesen and colleagues had just described the very effective opening presentation by two NVIDIA executives.

Now we were discussing the three established tech leaders represented in her panel discussion focused on “Strategies You Need to Partner Everywhere” the previous morning. Arnesen, a familiar face in Silicon Valley and ASAP for many years, moderated a discussion among Steen Graham, general manager, IoT ecosystem/channels, Internet of Things Group, Intel Corporation, Maria Olson, CSAP, VP of global and strategic alliances at NetApp, and Andres Sintes, Cisco’s global senior director, partner GTM, digital transformation & IoT. The three talked about how their large organizations are making key strategic shifts and embracing “the importance of these large-scale, multi-partner, broader ecosystems,” Arnesen said.

One “back to the future” theme that emerged: verticalization driven by engagement with operational technology (OT) companies. The panel delved into the shift required to move beyond partnering with traditional partners. “As the Internet of Things [IoT] and digitization have transformed partnering, the operational technology players who didn’t come from the IT world are really the players that we are engaging with IoT and a lot of these other disruptive technologies,” Arnesen explained.

Panelists emphasized that “multi-partner engagement is key because of the complexity and size of digital transformation solutions,” Watenpaugh commented—and this raises many strategic questions for companies and their strategy and partnering leaders to sort through now. “To do these at scale, you’re going to market as an ecosystem of partners. The verticalization discussion was interesting—are companies really verticalizing? The operational technology companies have specific industry expertise but often lack the IT expertise. So are we going back to the future with verticalization—for example, with vertically oriented VARs [value-added resellers]? Are horizontal partners going away or rendered less relevant because we are leading with vertical applications?”

Definitive answers are still being determined—but even amidst unprecedented change, the “80/20 rule” applies. “The panel emphasized that you’ve still got to focus on your bread-and-butter [that drives] 80 percent of revenue while you’re doing these innovative partnerships. In the midst of SaaS [Software-as-a-Service], you still need the edge devices, the sensors, and analytics. And you need to engineer the business processes and human interface—if there is one,” Watenpaugh said. “This requires tight integration and coordination of these components, and it needs to be simplified so that it is digestible and repeatable.”

Burge added that he was intrigued when Steen Graham brought up an interesting new concept—“the IoT aggregator”—in the context of this discussion. The aggregator bundles these solutions so they can be deployed repeatedly and at scale.

Many of the themes continued into the next presentation by Karen Dougherty, vice president of channel and alliances at GE Digital, Brown recalled.  Dougherty’s presentation, “Building a Thriving Ecosystem: GE Digital's Partner Journey,” walked attendees through recent developments at a company that predates the 20th Century. “I thought her presentation was super strong—really effective,” Brown noted. “I liked it for two reasons. At events like ASAP’s Tech Partner Forum, I find it really valuable to learn about what multinational conglomerates, like GE, are actually doing. We learned from Karen Dougherty how they’ve taken a 125-year-old company and pivoted to the conceptual era of software-defined business intelligence and big data analytics with Predix, a cloud-based PaaS [Platform-as-a-Service] that enables industrial-scale analytics—asset performance management [APM]—and has been a key component in building and managing the company’s ecosystem partnerships.”

Arnesen chimed in to agree with Brown’s assessment. “She gave us a lot of information. Her division alone is 28,000 employees at GE Digital, and hiring another 20,000 by end of year. … GE built Predix, this platform of its own, and calls it a ‘purpose-built platform for industry.’ Consider that they are driving a lot of the change in traditional industrial companies. They called it the ‘digital industrial blueprint.’ It takes big players with deep pockets to do this,” Arnesen noted.

“Karen Dougherty’s presentation was so rich, talking about enabling productivity around industrial assets using Predix, which interacts with physical assets—asset performance management and operations optimization providing a way to connect machines, data, and people,” Brown continued. “She shared a real-world renewable energy example involving wind turbines, using the capabilities of the software to predict that something’s going to go wrong—an example using an industrial asset that will be more and more relevant in the next few years because of the worldwide efforts to combat climate change. Dougherty was crisp and, from tech perspective, so interesting,” she enthused.

Dougherty also touched on the impact of all the data now being collected via the industrial Internet, noted Trampas. “In her Schindler example, they can now answer the question, ‘How many people are there on the escalator at Union Station at the middle of the day?’ And they can sell this data, which is a new business for people like Schindler,” Trampas added.

At this point, we have only gotten to lunch—this just completes our recap of the morning’s presentations. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Part One of ASAP Media’s recap of the June 7, 2017 ASAP Tech Partner Forum at http://www.strategic-alliances.org/blogpost/1143942/278261/Collaborating-at-Digital-Transformation-Speed-Report-from-the-ASAP-Tech-Partner-Forum-Part-One. Stay tuned for more ASAP Media coverage of the conference, including the forthcoming Part Three of this series, where we’ll discuss topics and insights from afternoon sessions, including “Customer Experience Is the New Competitive Battleground” presented by Tiffani Bova of Salesforce. 

Tags:  Andres Sintes  asset performance management  broader ecosystems  Cisco  digitization  disruptive technologies  ecosystem  industrial Internet  Intel  Internet of Things  IoT  Maria Olson  multi-partner engagement  NetApp  operations optimization  partnering  partners  Steen Graham  strategic shifts  verticalizing 

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Partnering and Digital Transformation, Part Two: A Preview of the June 7 ASAP Tech Partner Forum with Erna Arnesen, CSAP

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Tuesday, June 6, 2017

I’m back for Part Two of ASAP Media’s conversation with Erna Arnesen, CSAP, whom you can talk to yourself if you’re attending the Wednesday, June 7, 2017, ASAP Tech Partner Forum. Erna is 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 currently serves as chief channel and alliance officer at ZL Technologies and has been working with a team of fellow ASAP Silicon Valley Chapter leaders to launch the ASAP Tech Partner Forum, which is focused on how to “collaborate at the speed of digital transformation” and hosted by gaming processor board maker NVIDIA at its corporate HQ in Santa Clara, Calif.

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, VP of global and strategic alliances at NetApp; and Andres Sintes, Cisco’s global senior director, partner GTM, digital transformation & IoT. We ended Part One http://www.strategic-alliances.org/blogpost/1143942/277657/Partnering-and-Digital-Transformation-A-Preview-of-the-June-7-ASAP-Tech-Partner-Forum-with-Erna-Arnesen-CSAP of this article in the middle of Erna describing what she plans to discuss with her fellow panelists—and why these are urgent topics for technology partnering and strategy executives.

ASAP Media: The event theme focuses squarely on how partnering and strategy must evolve to keep pace with digital transformation. How do you and your panelists intend to approach this topic?

As high-tech companies work to evolve and transform the way both they and their customers do business, partnering strategy is more complex. It’s complicated because you need to work with more and more partners doing bits and pieces of the total solution. While the technology connections are often highly automated, the collaboration often is manual. So we’re trying to manage the partnerships of complex technologies, many things in business are being digitally transformed, but our ability to work with partners isn’t that developed yet. Maria Olson of NetApp will talk about that—how even with her largest alliance partners, like Cisco, a lot of the communication, such as exchanging information, sharing leads, and so on are not always being handled with sophisticated technologies.

Andres Sintes of Cisco is going to raise some of the critical questions involved when you are focused on the infrastructure behind partnering. How do you connect ecosystems and share tools when you are still using 20th century technologies? Are we the cobbler’s children? Why are we as partners sometimes lacking the technology?

Another, related line of discussion is the process of simplification. As people digitally transform their businesses, they need to figure out how to make the more complex systems simpler from an operational standpoint. Whether you’re involved in two-way or multi-partner collaborations, you still need to have this mindset.

From a strategy standpoint, what other issues are top-of-mind for your panel—and presumably other strategy, partnering, and channel executives?

Everyone on our panel wanted to talk vertical strategy. Are we moving back, or forward, toward a verticalized set of tools and solutions? We believe that many partners and shared customers do have unique vertical requirements, and all three of my colleagues will give some examples of where they see that effect. We’ll also tie that into the Internet of Things (IoT), where you’re working with partners that often are not even IT providers, but vertical suppliers that evolved into digital strategies forcing them to be more IT centric.

Also we hope to have some discussion about very large, complex digitization like Smart Cities. The technology is advancing to make the Smart Cities vision more feasible. Cisco has been talking about it and developing the vision for 10 years—again, it’s one of the verticals with opportunity.

Another theme is monetization. People throw around digital transformation and integration of IoT, but what’s the real return on investment (ROI)?  What’s the strategy for monetization for you and partners, and what’s the benefit for customers in terms of their ROI?

Our last theme will address the effects of digital transformation on the partnering strategy. What is the impact on the ecosystem of today and tomorrow?

This will be an in-depth, hour-long discussion. In a nutshell, what do your panelists hope participants will take away with them when they return to their jobs?

To partner at scale for digital transformation, companies really have to build out more of the IT infrastructure around their alliance partnerships. They also need to focus on a multi-partner approach, verticalization, and simplification. If I had to summarize the messages they will share, it will be along the lines of those four major elements.  Let’s see how the panel discussion unfolds, though, and what insights are in store for the audience.

Read more in Part One of our Q&A with Erna Arnesen discussing the June 7, 2017, ASAP Tech Partner Forum at http://www.strategic-alliances.org/blogpost/1143942/277657/Partnering-and-Digital-Transformation-A-Preview-of-the-June-7-ASAP-Tech-Partner-Forum-with-Erna-Arnesen-CSAP.  Learn more details about the event program at www.asaptechforum.org.  

Tags:  alliance partnerships  Andres Sintes  channel executives  Cisco  Digital transformation  ecosystem  Intel  Internet of Things (IoT)  IT infrastructure  Maria Olson  monetization  multi-partner collaborations  NetApp  partnering strategy  partnerships  simplification  Smart Cities  Steen Graham 

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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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Unusual Alliance Management Project in The Netherlands Wins ASAP Alliance Excellence Award for Model that Streamlines Government Services

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

There was plenty of celebration and even a few surprises at this year’s annual Alliance Excellence Awards that took place 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, Calif. USA. One was the presentation of the Individual Alliance Excellence Award, which recognizes organizations that have instituted practices, tools, and methodologies in support of successful formation and management for a single alliance. The award was given to Loonaangifteketen-UWV-CBS-Belastingdienst for their novel alliance created between three government agencies in The Netherlands: Belastingdienst (Dutch IRA), UWV (Dutch National Social Security Administration), and CBS (Statistics Netherlands). The agencies applied a governance model that emphasized cross-agency collaboration that generates 60 percent of the Dutch government’s revenue in an easy-to-use system for pensions and social security benefits. The alliance lowered costs while increasing convenience to the citizenry with 96 percent accuracy. After the awards ceremony, I spoke with Diantha Croese, key alliance manager at Loonaangifteketen, Menno Aardewyn, business consultant at UWV, and Paul Vincken, alliance manager at Loonaangifteketen, about their experience, roles in the transition, and how they found themselves in a problem that required alliance management skills.

Diantha: The government wanted to lower administrative and implementation costs and improve convenience for citizens, such as making it easier to request information on taxes, benefits, students grants, pensions, and social security.

Menno: Additionally, there were two streams of money. One was for taxes and wages; the other was from social security. They wanted to bring the two streams together so one organization would complete the money stream.

Paul: The politicians requested the change.

Menno: It was forced on us by the government. The main idea was to make it cheaper and less complicated. But then the problems started.  It went completely wrong in the beginning because there was no attention to the alliance. Many people had to leave our organization, and there was no will to collaborate. People in different division didn’t understand each other.

Diantha: It was almost like the different divisions spoke a different language. The systems failed.  No one had the overhead view of where the risks were. Nobody saw the big picture.

Paul: We worked for two years in a big mess, from 2007-08 until 2010.

Diantha: It required problem analysis.

Menno: The analysis was very pure and prudent. The analysis was ordered by the government and made a lot of things clear.

Diantha: The analysis found we needed to do 50 procedures to get it started again.

Diantha: An independent alliance manager then stepped in and told everyone what to do. That helped bring people together, and helped us understand our role, why things weren’t working, and what we could do to get it to work.

Menno: He was an overriding authority.

Paul: He could intervene in the processes of the partner organization. That was his power. He had an extremely powerful start.

Menno: He was one of the solutions to solve the problems after the analysis.  This was normal procedure, but the alliance management tasks started after the first big meeting we had over two days with all of the key players on all the management levels of all the organization. It included the people who had all of the systems knowledge. These 40 people reorganized the thoughts they had. The old classical management instructions that are based on a hierarchical system weren’t working. We started to think completely new again on what we needed to manage with each other, and how we should do it together. So it was collaboration from the beginning.

Diantha: Each organization had someone they reported to, and they were aligned together in relationships they had not been in before.

Menno: We noticed in the analysis there were four dimensions that needed to be addressed to solve the problems: content, procedure (how it should be done), relationship needs, and cultural difference (awareness of the collaborating partners). We evaluated with surveys on how to manage the four dimensions. These diagnostics were really important to mirror what was really happening.

Diantha: We noticed some of the problems we faced couldn’t be solved between us, so we had to find other partners who could help us and create value for each other. We had been so busy with our own process, we finally had time to look around and see what other people were doing.

Paul: So we are evolving into a new ecosystem.

Menno: There are no boundaries anymore working together.

Diantha: They feel like colleagues.

Diantha: We did a lot of trust building. There are no groups anymore.

Paul: We are one.

Menno: It was really worth it also for our personal development. We changed because the organization changed.

Diantha: We have a lot of storytelling now so people can learn from our experiences.

Menno: We wrote a little book about all of our experiences and all the experiences we had with other organizations. The resulting system is transferable to any government. We mention many more alliances than just our own alliance.

Diantha: The model can be used in public or private companies. It’s all about aligning people.

Menno: But not just in knowledge, but the way we behave, the procedures, and how to respect each other.

Diantha: You have to help others to become successful, and that needs to be in the brain of every employee. It’s important that those at the top of the organization who want a collaboration practice what they preach. If that is not in order, then you have a problem. 

Tags:  alliance  alliance manager  Belastingdienst  CBS  collaboration  Diantha Croese  ecosystem  Loonaangifteketen  Management Project  Menno Aardewyn  Netherlands  partner  Paul Vincken  UWV 

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