Phoenix Rising Blog – Alliance Strategy

Posted Monday, July 31, 2017 at 05:00 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

customer experienceWhen we talk about digital transformation, so much about it is about the customer experience. At a recent ASAP Tech Partner Forum, Tiffani Bova from Salesforce cited an example of how as a consumer, you might order a Starbucks, from your Tesla, through Alexa. When you drive up to pick up your coffee, it has already been made and purchased. All seamless, all automagic. What does that example say about how partnering is changing in creating these digital experiences? Obviously, it takes a fair amount of technology integration behind the scenes between the brands, but also an understanding of the customer experience in ordering a cup of Joe. The example also highlights the importance of choosing good partners who are meticulous about the digital experience. A bad experience will reflect poorly on everyone.

How are we Collaborating with Partners to Create a Compelling Customer Experience?

We also heard at the Forum that with such a fluid marketplace, relationships are perhaps more opportunistic.  Setting up strategic partnerships and waiting for the opportunities to come is a holdover of the traditional business model. You end up with the partners looking at each other, waiting for the other to bring on the customers.  Going back to the opening comments on how partnering is changing in the digital experience, partnerships need to be more agile, faster, and customer centric.  

Building the ecosystem around the customer, requires the whole company to evolve. It requires listening to the customer, more data on the customer, add in social media to understand the sentiment of the buyer. While customer centric companies have always put the customer in the center of universe, they still typically put themselves in the center when building partner ecosystems. The big technology brands may be in the cloud and not very visible to customers at all.  Building the partner ecosystem may start with asking the questions:

“Who has influence with the customer?” 

“Who is the trusted advisor?”

“Who owns the customer experience?”

It requires looking at the world from the perspective of the customer. With that comes the recognition that “partners are the customer experience” as asserted by Brook Cunningham from Splunk speaking on the Voice of the Partner.

How do you know if you got it right? One sure sign is Customer Advocacy. This goes beyond customer satisfaction with the initial deployment but a deep and lasting relationship with the customer.  This is a fundamental change in the customer relationship.  One company I worked for was once accused by a customer of ‘abandoning’ our products.   Drop ship was like drop and run.  In the ‘as a service’, business model this is not sustainable.  Recurring revenue means you need to earn the business every day because the business only becomes profitable over the long haul. 

Creating the best customer experience possible via an ecosystem of digital savvy partners is key to survival and success in the age of Digital Transformation. 

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Posted Monday, July 24, 2017 at 02:00 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

Recently I was invited to facilitate a roundtable/workshop at the June 7, 2017 ASAP Tech Partner Forum in Santa Clara, Calif., centered on digital transformation. We heard from many experts and pioneers in the technology space about the challenges and changes they were navigating. It was like drinking...

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Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at 12:00 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

How do you engage when your partner is strategic to you – but you are not strategic to them.  My partner thinks of me as a suppplier, or a channel, or 'fill-in-th-blank.' How do I become a strategic partner?  This is a common refrain from startups and small companies wanting a relationship...

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Tags: strategic partner, alliances


Posted Monday, May 25, 2015 at 01:00 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

Partnering Strategies to Accelerate Growth in the Internet of ThingsFor some time we’ve been hearing that Internet of Things is coming.   Well it’s here!There are many examples that we probably don’t think much about.  Beyond our personal devices: smart phones, watches...

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Tags: By one estimate IOT will represent $14T of new value creation by 2020 with 50-75 billion devices connected.


Posted Monday, September 15, 2014 at 09:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

Partnering Return on Investment is often quite attractive since the investment in a partnered initiative is shared.  In other words half of the resources or costs are on your partner’s balance sheet.  There are other organizational advantages as well which become apparent when a build...

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Posted Sunday, September 14, 2014 at 09:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

Creating Business Value for CustomersCreating a competitive edge is crucial for all businesses and can be achieved through alliances. Alliances can also be a defensive measure in countering a competitive shortfall such as a gap in a company’s product line. In our research we found that creating...

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Posted Monday, August 18, 2014 at 12:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

The definition for an alliance is when two (or more) organizations combine their resources to create new value that could not be (easily) achieved by either party alone. Innovation is often described as the process of combining disparate ideas to create something new and in today’s business climate...

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Posted Monday, August 11, 2014 at 12:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

Market Impact embraces those strategies that are aimed at growing the businesses of the allied partners. It includes strategies such as entering new markets, gaining a market share position, and generally expanding the capability to gain new customers. The top five selections of our best practices...

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Posted Sunday, August 3, 2014 at 12:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

The Strategy of AlliancesAlliances in the technology sector are overwhelmingly evaluated based on revenue and for good reason. They deliver incremental revenue over above business as usual. However, revenue is a lagging indicator and does not provide insight into whether the alliance is achieving...

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Posted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 02:00 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

Because more and more, channels are becoming the preferred route to market for alliances.As a recent CRN article on the VCE alliance illustrates, when alliance managers choose channels they need to understand how they work, what motivates channel partners, what are the economics, and how to deal with...

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Tags: channels, SaaS, Strategic Alliances, Routes to Market, Go to Market


Posted Saturday, November 30, 2013 at 08:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

Every organization has a unique culture as a result of the norms, values and accepted behaviors that are held within the community.  People are often unaware that they do function within a company culture. However, when they begin to work closely with another company culture, they become aware...

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Tags: Collaboration, corporate culture, partner friendly, alliance management


Posted Friday, November 15, 2013 at 08:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

Collaborative competencies are a distinct set of skills that effective alliance professionals have in applying the processes and practices described in the previous blog but collaborative competencies also include many ‘soft skills’.  The softskills are ironically the most difficult...

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Tags: Collaboration, competencies, alliance management


Posted Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 08:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

Alliance management is in many ways a young profession, yet there is a set of defined processes and practices that have been shown to be effective in creating and operating successful collaborations.   Research has shown that companies that approach collaboration through...

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Posted Monday, October 21, 2013 at 05:00 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

Success Begins at the TopIt is hard to overstate the importance of a champion at the senior levels of the organization.  Many alliances fail or falter when they lose the executive champion and the role is not backfilled with a strong leader.The role of the champion is many fold. They represent...

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Tags: champion, executive sponsor, alliance, strategic partner


Posted Friday, November 12, 2010 at 03:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

Alliance Management Practices: Performers and UnderperformersAll business managers, not just those managing alliances, have been challenged with navigating a stormy economy. We had to make decisions on where to cut back, how to to make the best of diminished resources, and still achieve targeted business...

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Posted Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at 08:46 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

Findings from a Survey Conducted by Phoenix Consulting Group, June 2009Social media is gaining presence within partner ecosystemsThese are natural communities and naturally lend themselves to these media.There has been a trend for some time by large vendor companies to position themselves as the...

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Tags: Social media, partner ecosystem, ecosystem management, partner strategy


Posted Thursday, September 10, 2009 at 04:38 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

Findings from a Survey Conducted by Phoenix Consulting Group, June 2009Well, arguably yes and no. Some technologies that might be labeled early Web 2.0 were in pretty widespread usage. Others such as Twitter are caught up in the tornado. Some, such as MySpace, already seem to be in decline.Blogs...

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Tags: social media, partner marketing, ecosystem management, partner ecosystems


Posted Saturday, July 4, 2009 at 12:23 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

The ASAP 2009 State of Alliance Management Report looked at thirty-six commonly recognized best practices of alliance management and benchmarked them across the community of respondents representing 431 companies. This year the researchers looked a bit deeper into innovation alliances and identified...

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Tags: emerging, best practices, alliance, management

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