Featured Image: Hybrid cloud ecosystem

The Emergence of the Hybrid Cloud Ecosystem (HCE)

Digital transformation initiatives have been driving massive changes in the infrastructure supporting companies’ software and hardware operations. Over the last 20 years, there has been a massive migration from traditional “on-prem” systems to combinations of pure cloud deployment, managed service providers, and hybrid solutions.

Each of the players in this story has its own unique objectives that are currently playing out in the competitive landscape.  The “hyperscale” cloud providers like Google, AWS, and Microsoft would like nothing more than to have exclusivity over their customer’s data location.  Managed Service Providers (MSPs) want to keep computers in a cage in their installations, and enterprises still have a desire to leverage their on-site data centers and not rip them out. They all want to be part of the digital transformation economy.

In addition to the intense competitive pressures between these major players, the digital transformation economy is also driving more and more ecosystem players into space, providing unique niche capabilities to better serve customers.  This, in turn, is driving the need for a more robust ecosystem partner model in the space. An ecosystem is a network of partners who work together to define, build, and execute market-creating solutions.  According to an Accenture Study Cornerstone for Future Growth: Ecosystems. “Companies that are embracing digital transformation and an ecosystem-based business model are growing 50% faster than those who have not.”

With everyone looking to the cloud, it’s relevant to point out that the digital transformation economy still needs hardware. Software is the enabler for enterprises to go digital, yet it needs to run somewhere. 

Enterprises are trying to figure out where their data and applications will reside, and there are many options to consider. The hybrid cloud is the current thinking and forecast, and as we shall see, the multi-cloud structure is quickly becoming part of this idea. 

In the Harvard Business Review “Six Rules for Effective Forecasting,” one of the rules is to look back twice as far as you look forward and peer far enough into the past to identify patterns. 

Let’s look back 30 years in the exponentially changing technology industry and three hardware business models to discover patterns and forecast a view of the next 15 years that is driving the evolution to a hybrid cloud ecosystem.

Three hardware business models:

  1. On-Prem Computing (IHV) – “Home Base”
    • On-premise hardware, rather than at a remote facility such as a server farm or cloud. Enterprises buy their hardware/software and build/manage their own data centers.
  2. Managed Service Providers (MSP) – “Rental Space”
    • A managed service provider (MSP) is a company that remotely manages a customer’s IT infrastructure and/or end-user systems, typically on a proactive basis and under a subscription model.
  3. Cloud Service Providers (CSP) – “Virtual Space”
    • A cloud service provider is a third-party company offering a cloud-based platform, infrastructure, application, or storage services., Companies typically have to pay only for the number of cloud services they use, as business demands require.

Each of these hardware models is an independent business model and these businesses compete with each other. The ecosystem market is driving the need for collaboration to reduce time to market.  Enterprise customers are now trying to figure out where to continue investing and determine where their hardware assets will reside. They currently have their data spread around the globe from headquarters locations, sales offices, managed service providers, and hyperscalers. 

This begs the question: “Where in the world is the data?”

1.On-Prem Computing – “Home Base”

An early 90’s data center

Figure: An early 90’s data center (image source)

Enterprises have large data centers established on-prem with security and staff in place. However, the data centers expand, become obsolete, and need regular tech refresh. The Cloud provides an alternative to on-prem data centers, and enterprises face new choices as well as challenges for managing their businesses as they move to an ecosystem model.

In the late 80’s and early 90’s, enterprises built their home bases with their assets. At that time, the large computer companies (IBM, DEC, HP, and SUN) were growing by 40%. Customers were buying a computer, disc storage, tape devices, printers, and high-speed modems to build on-premise systems. These environments required full-time operations staff and application development teams. 

As businesses grew over the next ten years and network connectivity became more ubiquitous,  the ability to build interconnected data centers became more prevalent. The cost for maintaining large distributed data centers became more expensive, and complete IT refresh cycles were, on average, three years. Systems had to be regularly upgraded, swapped out, and updated. 

As you can imagine, this is a very costly model for companies to maintain. It required companies to hire large, full-time teams to manage sophisticated hardware, networking, operating systems, and software that were not their core competencies.

The advent of cloud computing has completely changed the economics of these on-premise technology models. Hyperscale providers take responsibility for all of the complexities of managing servers, disc capacity, networking, operating systems, speeds and feeds, upgrades, and optimizations.   With cloud, customers are essentially buying a service level agreement, and the complexity, staffing, expertise, and problems are all “behind the curtain.”

At the same time, many enterprises have continued to have significant investments in on-premise data centers for a variety of reasons. Enterprises are concerned about the security risks of cloud computing, some still have under-appreciated assets on the books, so the economics aren’t yet attractive.  And some have just been slow to make the transition.

2.Managed Service Providers (MSPs) – “Rental Space”

An Offsite IT Facility

Figure: An offsite IT facility (image source)

Recently, enterprises have also rented systems in locations from MSPs for back-up and recovery, off-site archival, and non-critical applications. MSP’s put computers in company-specific cages for security with restricted access and separation from other enterprises using the same location. Enterprise customers also outsourced business functions to managed service providers to control costs.

In the late 1990s, enterprise companies built out their home base large proprietary data centers that were composed of different information technology vendors. Companies built dedicated systems to run their business applications, and the technology environment sprawled. The cost of operating, maintaining, upgrading, refreshing, and deploying apps was becoming a business issue. 

Then businesses began “outsourcing” business functions to companies that would provide these services and guarantee service level agreements. Specialized technology outsourcers called “hosters” would take “your mess for less” and deliver services back to the customer as a service price. Customers would have their computers in a cage at these firms. They did not have to bear the capital cost and had secure access to the systems. Customers bought off-site storage space to extend their home base and stored specific assets there to use when needed.

This pattern has ultimately morphed into  XaaS (Everything as a service) business model. That took the pain of managing the data centers and applications off the plate of the enterprise customers so they could focus on business outcomes and not just “keeping up with the latest technologies.”

3.Cloud Service Providers (CSP) – “Virtual Space”

Cloud Service Provider On-Demand Facility

Figure: Cloud service provider on-demand facility (image source)

Information used to be locked up in data centers and MSP locations.  Today, more and more data is ubiquitously available and accessible via the internet – “the virtual space.” As customers have moved more of their capabilities onto a specific cloud service provider, each provider wants to “lock-in” their customers without alternatives to go to other cloud providers. Once the cloud service provider has customer data, they prefer exclusivity, taking away the choice from a customer. 

In the early 2000s, the Cloud Service Provider model emerged. Started by Google in 1998, the information access paradigm shifted.  Then DropBox (2005), AWS (2006), Box (2007), and Google Cloud Platform (2008) built offerings based on the premise that data centers do not have to be owned but accessed with internet connectivity.  Dropbox and Box provided secondary and personalized storage at a very low cost. AWS followed suit with infrastructure platforms delivered as a service at a low cost. Enterprise customers were slow at first to adopt because of security and performance concerns.

When Microsoft entered the Cloud Service Provider market with Azure in 2010, it strengthened the confidence that enterprise applications can run in the public cloud.  The first suite of Microsoft applications on Azure was Microsoft Exchange 365. The email had become a critical application for enterprises in the digital transformation age and the care and maintenance of Microsoft Exchange services was at a very high IT cost. Microsoft began offering the Microsoft Office Suite as a Service on Azure.  With this offering, the end-user experience was better and the cost was less for enterprises. 

But no large enterprise customers had moved their mission-critical ERP to the public cloud until 2011 when SAP released on AWS. It was the first implementation of SAP ERP on a public cloud platform. Five years later, SAP on Azure in 2016 became the first example of a multi-partner ecosystem on the public cloud platform. It was a multi-partner offer sold by Microsoft but built and delivered by SAP, Cisco, NetApp, VMWare, Accenture, and Equinix. This set the stage for the cloud enterprise application model leveraging multiple ecosystem partners to deliver an overall “whole solution” to end customers.

As cloud service providers continued to grow, technology advances made it easier to scale-up and scale-out their data center architectures.  However, enterprise customers had to adopt one cloud service provider and stay with them. Customers want flexibility, so they don’t like being “locked-in” to only one provider. This has given rise to a new phenomenon in the market where customers and providers are building capabilities to allow customers to deploy “multi-cloud” solutions that work across the three main public cloud providers (AWS, Azure, and Google.) 

Forecast: The Shift to Hybrid Cloud Ecosystem

In the book The Wealth of Networks, Yochai Benkler talks about the advent of the Network Economy. “The rise of effective, large-scale cooperative efforts-peer production of information, knowledge, and culture is driving the network economy not just for technology but for every other industry and culture.” Looking at the past, we discover three patterns that set the stage for upcoming changes in the technology industry.

Three Patterns Emerged:

  1. Data processing, access, and storage continue to evolve from single locations to multi-locations at a price/performance curve that creates innovation.
  2. New business ventures focusing on customer needs like secure data access anytime and anywhere are the fastest growing industry segment.
  3. Connectivity and access to information has created the opportunity for tangential business ventures that disrupt the status quo.

The three patterns pave the path for three new trends in the technology industry.

Three Upcoming Trends:

  1. Shift from “The Network is the Computer” to “The Network is the Ecosystem”: In 1984, John Gage of Sun Microsystems coined the phrase “The Network is the Computer.” The ubiquitous connectivity of the Internet and the exponential development in technology has enabled digitally connected ecosystems to become a reality. 
  2. From Data Focused to Customer Focused: Focus is not where data is but is how customers can access and use the data to drive the digital transformation economy.
  3. Zero Sum Game to Abundance: By connecting and collaborating, we create more opportunities and growth rather than competing for market share with differentiated value propositions.

On-Prem providers are moving from “Data Centers” to “Data Stacks”.  MSPs are shifting from “your mess for less” to “Software as a Service”. Cloud Service Providers are shifting from Proprietary Data Centers to “Market Places and Multi-Cloud Connectivity.”

Hybrid cloud ecosystem

Figure: IHVs, MSPs, and CSPs come together to form a Hybrid Cloud Ecosystem

In a recent 2018 Harvard Business Review Article, “In the Ecosystem Economy: What is your Strategy?”  Michael G. Jacobides writes “Ecosystem Businesses Are Changing the Rules of Strategy” and “Competing is increasingly about identifying new ways to connect and collaborate rather than simply offering alternative value propositions.”

The ecosystem business model strategy is the foundation of the hybrid cloud ecosystem. This is a  business model that requires companies to come together to collaborate and deliver joint multi-partner solutions.  Individual companies cannot deliver this alone.

A great example of this strategy is HPE’s recent launch of their Greenlake offering which is a program that integrates on-prem offers as a service, channel partners for mid-market expansion (CDW), connection into MSPs (Equinix), and extension into Google Cloud which connects multi-partners for joint sales and solutions  to create a hybrid cloud ecosystem.

Another terrific example is how Equinix has formed partnerships with IHVs (HPE, IBM, etc.) and connections to leading cloud providers (AWS, Azure, and GCP) plus key ISVs (SAP, Microsoft, and Oracle) and channel partners to align and execute a multi-partner ecosystem to create a hybrid ecosystem cloud.

What you might notice about these two examples is that they are both coming from different places to get to their own version of hybrid cloud offering.  HPE is a tradition hardware provider; Equinix is an MSP. Both companies are transforming their business models and leading the market in the design and adoption of a hybrid cloud ecosystem.

My forecast – we expect to see more of these kinds of matchups where IHVs, MSPs, and CSPs come together to form a Hybrid Cloud Ecosystem, giving rise to the network ecosystem economy as the lines between these hardware business models dissolve. 

All these shifts are being driven by customer needs in the digital transformation economy.   Forward-looking enterprises are adjusting and embracing the advent of the Hybrid Cloud Ecosystem to stay competitive.

Further Reading: 

Three C’s Driving Shift to Ecosystems

Modern Partnering Enterprise Architecture

Ecosystem Cloud – The Next Frontier

25 Innovative Partner Ecosystem Leaders

25 Innovative Partner Ecosystem Leaders You Should Follow

Having a partner ecosystem strategy is no longer a “nice to have”.  Partner ecosystems is a topic that is at the top of mind for CEOs and Boards as they drive to have their companies innovate and compete in today’s fast-moving market.  The current issue of Harvard Business Review asks the pointed question “In the Ecosystem Economy, What’s Your Strategy?”. 

A recent Accenture survey showed that, while most executives have plans to or are already building an ecosystem to respond to threats of disruption, many partner ecosystem leaders are discovering how challenging it can be to drive results, discover best practices, and navigate the changing ecosystem landscape.  The topic has exploded, so we’ve collected a page of top research on the Ecosystem Economy and Ecosystem Cloud.

At WorkSpan, the category leader in Ecosystem Cloud, we celebrate leaders and innovators in ecosystem strategy that are laying the groundwork for success and tapping into the enormous ecosystem market. 

We’re interacting regularly with some of the top innovators in the Partner Ecosystem space.  So we wanted to share our list of top 25 professionals we think you should follow and why we love what they’re doing to advance the art and science of managing business ecosystems. 

If ecosystems has become a strategic topic for your company, keep an eye on this group of innovators to make sure you’re at the top of your game as well!

Our List (in no specific order):

Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President One Commercial Partner Channel Chief | Microsoft


Follow her on Twitter and on LinkedIn.

About Gavriella:

Gavriella has provided over 20 years of leadership in digital and cloud transformation roles, driving strategy and execution spanning from business model and product development to launch, marketing, sales, and partner development. She has led global recruitment, enablement, and engagement in Microsoft’s fast-growing partner ecosystem.

Content We Love:

A leader in promoting diversity in tech, Gavriella continues to drive the industry forward and open up paths to inclusion. At Microsoft, she is an avid supporter and promoter of the program to accelerate growth for #WomenInTech.



Accolades and Expertise:

Gavriella has been recognized by her colleagues for her skills in cloud computing, go to market strategy, enterprise software, product management and many more. She leads by example and hence, is viewed as an industry leader. Her championing of diversity and inclusion sets her apart as an industry leader.

Tom Stuermer, Global Managing Director, Ecosystem | Accenture


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About Tom:

Tom is leading Accenture’s global ecosystem organization, including partnership development, resale, channel activation, and ecosystem support services. Accenture has been at the forefront of all the latest research around ecosystems —- and they are making good on that research by building a world-class ecosystem organization under Tom’s leadership. In building Accenture’s ecosystem organization, Tom has enabled a dramatic transformation for their clients through joint innovation and market development.

Accolades and Expertise:

Throughout his career, Tom has been involved in partnerships in a variety of industries, from aerospace to medical equipment and consumer electronics, to high tech and communications. His diverse experience has built his reputation and recognition of his  IT strategy, business process improvement, business intelligence, and strategic planning skills.

Karl Fahrbach, Chief Partner Officer | SAP



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About Karl:

Karl leads SAP’s world-class channel organization, supporting partners through digital transformation and transition to the cloud. His philosophy establishes a transparent, consistent, and mutually beneficial relationship with partners. He has helped launch programs that increase partner profits, such as the SAP PartnerEdge Cloud Choice and the SAP Anywhere Referral Program.

Content We Love:

Karl believes that the customer experience and the partner experience are tied together, and a good partner experience is key to delighting customers. He talks about this next generation of partnering in this blog post, and we found his insight to be spot on. He writes that a next-generation partnership should match industry trends and free partners from strict channel segmentation by developing and innovating their IP and creating better offerings for their customers.

karl farhbach: A Great Customer Experience Starts With a Great Partner Experience

Accolades and Expertise:

Karl leads a global team at SAP and focuses on growth for his team members. One of the hallmarks of a good leader is how they empower their organizations to take on and own a strong vision and execute it well. Karl’s interpersonal skills have stood out to his associates. 

“I had the opportunity to work with Karl on a strategic project in SAP which is now deployed globally. Karl has excellent thinking and interpersonal skills. He thinks strategically, understands the business very well, and can turn this into operational assets and processes that support the business. He relates to people in an open, friendly and very professional manner.” — Frederic Hebert-Le-Bronec, Vice President Sales University, SAP

Kevin Ichhpurani, Corporate Vice President, Head of Global Ecosystem and Business Development | Google

Kevin Ichhpurani

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About Kevin:

Kevin expertly builds world-class teams and incubates new businesses. He is a leader in strategic planning and business development, ecosystem development, M&A, complex OEM sales, and developing new monetization models and routes to market. Kevin truly understands how to create a cooperative environment, even in a competitive market.

Accolades and Expertise:

Kevin is not only an innovator, but he’s also a collaborator. His ideas offer a fresh take on a solution, but he’s not just a visionary, he’s also committed to the follow-through. Here’s just one of the accolades he’s received — this one from SAP CEO Bill McDermott, a tremendous innovator in his own right:

“Few know the innovation-to-execution process better than Kevin. A strong leader and trusted colleague, he has my full confidence to help shape a new IT industry. I’ll always be in his corner!”

Gretchen O’Hara, Vice President, Go-To-Market Strategy, One Commercial Partner | Microsoft


Gretchen O'Hara

Follow her on Twitter and on LinkedIn.

About Gretchen:

Gretchen is a powerhouse at Microsoft and drives the partner ecosystem strategy and cloud revenue across all customer segments within the U.S. Her decades of experience make Gretchen a sought-after speaker and mentor. She has held numerous positions within small and large technology companies.

Content We Love:

In a blog post for Microsoft from this year’s International Women’s Day, Gretchen advocates for women in marginalized industries like tech with the hashtag #BalanceforBetter, “with the goal of creating a more gender-balanced world.” As a thought leader, she also offers suggestions for how to get more women to follow an educational and career path in STEM.


Gretchen O'Hara: Closing the Gender Gap with Women-in-Cloud


Accolades and Expertise:

Gretchen has been endorsed repeatedly by colleagues for her cloud computing, business development, product management, and product marketing skills. She was recognized by Ernst & Young on their list of 40 under 40 Top Executives.

Gretchen takes on diversity, equality and is passionate about closing the gender gap as a founding member of Women in Cloud, an organization which “bring[s] together the voices and insights of a diverse range of female luminaries from the worlds of business, technology, and politics for the betterment of women who are carving their path in technology and the cloud.

Jenni Flinders, VP, and Global Channel Chief | VMware


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About Jenni:

As VMware’s vice president and global channel chief, Jenni Flinders is responsible for the strategy behind VMware’s global ecosystem of solution providers, distributors, OEMs, and telecommunications partners.

Content We Love:

When looking at other industry leader’s careers, it can be tempting to try to map out and imitate their career moves to try to achieve the same success. However, as Jenni writes in her LinkedIn post – every person and career path is different, and by following a few simple principles, one can find career success.

Jenni Flinders: one goes alone


In 2017 she gave a TEDx talk about the DNA of an image: “A picture is worth one thousand words. Just as DNA provides the unique coding of our genetic makeup, technology is enabling the analysis of the unique coding of an image.” The IT channel could use more unique thinkers and powerful communicators like Jenni.

Accolades and Expertise:

A true leader, Jenni, is known for her skills in strategic partnerships, enterprise software, leadership, and strategy. She’s also received the National Diversity & Inclusion focus award and has been listed in CRN Channel Chiefs.

Tom Roberts, Global Vice President, Software Solutions Program | SAP

Tom Roberts

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About Tom:

Tom has 20 years of experience in both strategy and execution. He envisioned and built the SAP Solution Extensions (“SolEx”) business at SAP. Throughout his career, he’s created long-term relationships with major ISV software brands both on-premise and in the cloud. These solutions help to complete SAP’s own solution offerings and are integral to SAP’s intelligent enterprise strategy.

Content We Love:

Tom and his team recently launched a #LinkedInLive series of live video interviews that brings top partners together to offer knowledge leadership for followers focusing on topics such as digital transformation and best business practices. 

Tom roberts: Linkedin Live session

SAP has been a leader in the execution of cloud software delivery. Here’s what Tom wrote about how businesses are capitalizing on the speed and agility cloud solutions have to offer for business leaders to innovate intelligently.

tom roberts

Accolades and Expertise:

As a senior executive at SAP, Tom has grown not only SAP’s business, but also the careers and skills of those on his team. Many of his associates praise his thoughtful leadership, willingness to listen, and the ability to provide win-win solutions in many different scenarios. 

Tom has done an amazing job of developing and rapidly expanding SAP’s software solution reseller program. It’s truly one of a kind in the industry growing from nothing into a several hundred-million-Euro business in three years under Tom’s leadership.” — Dan Maloney, CEO at ZEPL.

Kevin O’Brien, SVP, Alliances, OEM & Analytics Sales | PTC

Kevin O'Brien

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About Kevin:

Kevin is a worldwide leader of sales and strategic alliances for PTC. He’s led a strategic alliances team covering PTC’s relationships with leading technology vendors in the fast-growing and ecosystem-heavy IoT industry. 

During his time at Oracle, Kevin developed a business plan for Oracle’s first SaaS partner strategy. He led business development to a sell-to model which helped elevate Oracle to power 19 of the 20 top SaaS companies while he was senior director there.

Accolades and Expertise:

Kevin clearly understands the shift from a reseller to an ecosystem model that organizations have had to adopt in recent years. As an early adopter, he led the way in go-to-market strategy, solution selling, and business development, and continues to push for innovation in his field. His colleagues have noted his experience in strategy, product management, strategic partnerships, and business alliances.

Colleen Kapase, VP WW Partner & Alliances | Snowflake


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About Colleen:

Colleen has built a career in partner sales strategy that spans over 20 years. She has developed a deep understanding and focus on the strategic importance of partners to a technology vendor’s sales success.

She’s known for architecting economics-driven strategies, working with sales execs to evolve programs and incentives to meet changing company needs, and driving ROI reporting.

Content We Love:

Colleen was featured in CRN’s Women of the Channel blog. In her profile, she discusses how she had advanced VMWare’s channel business over the previous year, her goals for the business in the upcoming year, and some of her professional achievements.

Colleen Kapase: Woman of the Day

We particularly liked her advice on why more women should be involved in the channel. In her words, “I believe the channel is a great opportunity for women; it leverages some of our core capabilities as females, such as communication and networking, while still having a technical background. I think there are just not enough female channel chiefs.”

What Colleagues Say About Colleen:

Colleen is a team builder, which makes her stellar in a channel role. Her expertise in managing people and understanding of professional relationships has led to glowing recommendations from her colleagues, such as this one:

“To say Colleen understands the channel is a gross understatement. Colleen knows the ins and outs of channel better than anyone I’ve worked with. She’s driven teams and initiatives to success again and again. I worked for Colleen in several roles for 5+ years. As one of her team members, she helped me understand channel economics and the importance of having data and solid business cases to drive channel strategy.” — Cynthia (Cindi) Johnson, Partner Programs Director at Tanium.

Chris Morgan, Global Vice President, Partners, and Alliances | UIPath


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Watch an Alliance Aces video podcast interview with Chris.

About Chris:

Chris currently leads a global partner sales organization developing an ecosystem of partners who add value to UIPath’s solutions and technology. UIPath is one of the hottest and fastest-growing companies in the already hot RPA (Robotic Process Automation) business.

During his career, Chris has led service provider strategy and go-to-market programs. Among his achievements are building the industry’s first go-to-market program where the service provider is considered a go-to-market partner rather than the end customer. He has been instrumental in building a working relationship with channel partners and ensuring their channel strategies align.

Accolades and Expertise:

Chris was named on CRN’s prestigious list of 2019 Channel Chiefs. CRN’s annual Channel Chiefs list includes IT leaders who continually drive growth and revenue in their organization through their channel partners, and who demonstrate exceptional leadership, vision and commitment to their channel programs.

chris morgan

Steve Blacklock, VP Global Strategic Alliances | Citrix


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Watch an Alliance Aces video podcast interview with Steve.

About Steve:

Steve is a successful executive leader of global alliance relationships with global high tech industry leaders with a proven track record of building and overseeing business relationships, leading to more than $1.25B in generated annual revenue and bookings. He has broad business development and alliances skills related to services, hardware and software companies. 

Content We Love:

Steve seeks to elevate women in tech and particularly those finding success at Citrix. He’s highlighted young professionals before, like this tweet about one of the youngest ever Citrix Certified Associates.

steve blacklock

Accolades and Expertise:

Steve is known for his skills in cloud computing, strategy, SaaS, and go-to-market strategy. He recently spearheaded the Alliance Aces Meetup on – key success principles for digital transformation. In this interview at the Alliance Aces Community, he talked about how alliances have changed the game for Citrix.

In his interview, Steve says that the fundamentals don’t change in strategic alliances — you should manage your business, understand sales, strategy, product roadmap, and marketing strategy in addition to your channel strategy. Further, he teaches the importance of understanding your partners’ resources and capabilities to execute your plans successfully.

Peggy Johnson, Executive Vice President, Business Development | Microsoft


Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Peggy:

Peggy leads the team responsible for driving strategic partnerships and transactions to accelerate growth for Microsoft and its customers. She also oversees strategic investments through corporate venture fund, M12.

Content We Love:

Peggy is passionate about women in STEM and regularly talks about ways in which the tech world can encourage more women to have successful engineering careers. Here’s an example of her advocacy.

peggy johnson

Peggy has also written about how to change the perception and trajectory of women in tech. She tells the story about how she entered tech and why the specific mentoring she’d received led to a life-long career in the industry. In the end, she offers solutions for how technology leaders can hire and nurture diverse talent.

Accolades and Expertise:

In addition to her remarkable advocacy work, Peggy is known for her leadership skills in strategic partnerships, business development, strategy, and product management.

Steve Steinhilber, Global Vice President Ecosystem Development | Equinix



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About Steve:

Steve is a 15-year veteran in strategic alliances and ecosystems, as well as a published author. He’s driven over $5B in annual business with his alliance partner contributions.

He’s received numerous industry awards from Forbes, ASAP, Conference Board, IDC, AMA, and other key organizations for alliance leadership and excellence, including corporate social responsibility.

Steve’s career in global business development and go-to-market enablement has led to partnerships in emerging markets, dozens of critical business alliances, and ultimately billions in partner-led revenue. He was also instrumental in the creation of an industry certification program.

Accolades and Expertise:

Steve’s book, About Strategic Alliances: Three Ways to Make Them Work, contains a wealth of knowledge for alliance professionals who want to learn more about how to harness the competitive and strategic advantages that alliance partnerships have to offer. In the words of one of his colleagues:

“Steve and I worked together for more than three years incubating and scaling IoT solutions and services portfolio. Steve’s depth and breadth of knowledge of the IoT market, relationships with all major IoT players and leadership and cross-functional skills were key to us having a successful GTM strategy and execution success. For any IoT business, Steve will be my go-to partner for advice.” — Ratan Agarwal, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at CARBON Group Global

Tony Beller, VP of WW Global Strategic & Technology Alliances | Anaplan


Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Watch an Alliance Aces video podcast interview with Tony.

About Tony:

Tony manages a diverse and vibrant partner ecosystem by driving revenue through reseller, MSP, outsourcer, ISV and OEM channels. He has accelerated growth with global strategic partners and ensured customer success with a partner ecosystem.

During his career, Tony has led sales teams with the mindset of creating enablement content and programs that produce delighted customers and build an ecosystem of partners that are genuinely brand evangelists.

Accolades and Expertise:

Tony’s experience has taught him to be a superstar leader. He understands how to motivate teams and build meaningful partnerships and get work done. Here’s what one of his colleagues said about their time working together:

“Tony is a cutting-edge consulting services leader with acute knowledge of consulting selling and delivery in a software company” — Jacques Dumais, VP of Product Delivery at IVADO Labs

Brandon Sweeney, Senior Vice President, WW Commercial, Dell and Partner Sales | VMware


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About Brandon:

Brandon has more than 20 years of experience building and leading global field and partner sales operations. At VMWare and elsewhere, he has championed hiring and retaining diverse team members to better connect with customers. Brandon was instrumental in driving VMWare’s focus on cloud orchestration and other emerging technologies. He has demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of channel strategy and is known for transforming the Cloud Provider Program.

Accolades and Expertise:

Brandon’s experience as a channel expert, particularly at VMWare, is recognized among customers and colleagues. According to Mark McKeever, principal at MicroAge:

“[Brandon] Sweeney has a solid vision about where to take [the channel business] with partners.”

Hannibal Scipio, Global Partner-to-Partner (P2P) Lead, GTM and Programs, One Commercial Partner | Microsoft


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About Hannibal:

Hannibal has 15 years of technology and leadership experience across the technology industry and the public sector. He is the lead for the partner-to-partner motion in the GTM and Program team at Microsoft, where 95% of revenue comes from partners. His work on the partner-to-partner programs is enabling partners to collaborate, driving digital transformation for themselves and their customers.

Accolades and Expertise:

Colleagues say Hannibal is known for his skills in software development, strategic planning, market analysis, and data analysis. He’s also involved with his alumni association and served as vice president for the Greater Boston Morehouse College Alumni Association.

Attis Bouillon, Director of Global Software Partner Sales | Intel


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About Attis:

Attis works with partners in the space where hardware and software meet. He engineered a joint go-to-market strategy consisting of a unique value proposition where software partners utilize Intel products and technologies to deliver a new and promising solution to a targeted customer base. He has decades of experience working within complex environments in the U.S. and Asia.

Accolades and Expertise:

Attis’s skills include insight and analysis, stakeholder management, business development, supply, and operations planning, problem-solving leadership, change management, leadership, and team building. He’s also received the Global Microprocessor Demand Forecast Award from Intel for enabling Intel to meet demand with excellent profit margins.

Jennifer Kerr, VP, Customer Programs | OpenText


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Watch an Alliance Aces video podcast interview with Jennifer.

About Jennifer:

Jennifer leads the Global Channels and Alliances organization at OpenText. Her team executes on the Global Partner Program strategy and direction, driving partner-sourced demand, and customer success through the channel.

Content We Love:

WorkSpan interviewed Jennifer in an Alliance Aces podcast about her secrets and tips for building a quality network that drives win-win results for the whole ecosystem. At OpenText, she breaks down her programs into three categories: revenue, training and certification, and loyalty points. This way, even partnerships that may not be immediately valuable or might be a little slower on the learning curve can still be considered relevant, and businesses can focus on the quality and not the quantity of partners. 

Jennifer Kerr: 3 Secrets to Building a Global Alliance Program

Accolades and Expertise:

Jennifer is known for her skills in SaaS, account management, and building world-class global partner programs.

Helen Morin, Vice President, Global Alliances & Channels | SAS


Follow her on LinkedIn.

Watch an Alliance Aces video podcast interview with Helen.

About Helen:

Helen leads the Global Alliance and Channel organization to bring maximum value to our partners and customers. She believes partnering is an intentional decision to work more closely with another organization for mutual gain. She’s passionate about leading a collaborative organization.

In her interview on Alliance Aces, she talks about how four tactics on managing a global alliance network. 

  1. Continually grow your network
  2. Find the customer pain
  3. Analytics
  4. Sharing stories.

Helen Morin: 4 Tactics on Managing a Global Alliance Network

Accolades and Expertise:

Her colleagues endorse her business intelligence, development, solution selling, and data warehousing skills.

Sanjay Jindal, Head of WW Partner Investments and Incentives Sales | VMware



Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Sanjay:

Sanjay is a sales and channel executive skilled in building high performance, end-to-end integrated sales teams. He has deep sales experience in managing customers, channels, and building the required infrastructure to support them. He has more than 15 years of extensive experience in the Americas and international markets.

What Colleagues Say About Sanjay:

Sanjay is an expert in using data and a statistical approach to managing and developing partner sales. Moreover, he’s also known for being an avid & focused mentor who is invested in his team’s success on an individual and collective level. In the words of one of his associates:

“I worked with Sanjay for more than 5 years at VMware. Sanjay held a number of roles across commercial sales, and partner sales across the Americas. He is a strong driver for change and advocate for any group he sees delivering high-quality impactful work. I collaborated with Sanjay on multiple aspects of our partner programs related to his routes-to-market and segments and found him to be a wonderful partner who was always setting a high bar for his team and for VMware.” — Philip Larson, Head of Global Partner Enablement, Google Cloud

David A. Wilson, Senior VP, Head – Infosys Partner Ecosystem | Infosys

David A Wilson

Follow him on LinkedIn.

About Dave:

At Infosys, Dave is responsible for extending current alliances, designing new partnership models, partnering relationships, developing new channel business lines, and an overarching global business partner management system. 

Accolades and Expertise:

As the ecosystem marketplace continues to evolve and rapidly change, successful alliance and partner managers should be able to drive their business forward quickly and efficiently. In addition to his ability to develop an agile, digital strategy, colleagues say Dave’s skills include cloud computing, sales, and security.

David Stone, Vice President, and GM, Worldwide Ecosystem Sales Leader | HPE


Follow him on LinkedIn

About David:

David’s career includes a diverse set of experiences ranging from global P&L managing, McKinsey consulting, driving operational excellence, developing growth strategies, and executing complex partnerships. He has a passion for driving impact caused by digital disruption. His industry experience ranges from technology companies, services-oriented companies, public sector, and electric utilities. 

Accolades and Expertise:

David is responsible for worldwide partner strategy and execution, and as such, he’s tasked with building a world-class team that can deliver on these partnerships and provide guidance and oversight to keep the programs on track. His colleagues have noted his extraordinary skills in bringing those expectations to fruition.

Cecilia Flombaum, Worldwide Lead — Business Applications Partners | Microsoft


Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Cecilia:

Cecilia is an advocate and a believer in ecosystems as a way to help people and companies achieve more. Her team plans Microsoft’s partner ecosystem needs for business applications around the world, accelerates their ecosystem, and executes plans through their global partnerships.

At Microsoft, she is responsible for developing, inserting, and communicating Microsoft’s cloud business strategy within the enterprise customer segment. It entails developing sales business models, synergizing with other technologies and roles, and building how they measure success.

Accolades and Expertise:

Cecilia has led strategy and management for more than 400 people in over 50 countries while developing and managing a channel partner ecosystem. A crucial part of her job is providing her partners and team members with the tools they need to do their jobs. In addition to this, Cecilia is skilled in cloud computing, business intelligence, and solution selling.

Krishna Gopal, Global Head — Enterprise Business Solutions  | Tech Mahindra


Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Krishna:

Krishna combines his passion for technology with business understanding to achieve business outcomes. He has incubated new businesses in the emerging markets of the Middle East, Africa, and India.

Content We Love:

Krishna writes about the digital shift and digital disruption and how to keep pace with ecosystem partners. He explains why it’s crucial to build a reputation for your business as a digital front-runner. Adopting a “Digital-Inside” approach means that you should adopt the technologies that are quickly becoming mainstream at the same time as or before your partners to keep pace. Innovations such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and automation are critical for businesses to adopt and utilize. He also writes about these topics on his blog.

Krishna Gopal: The Digital Shift by adopting Digital Inside

Accolades and Expertise:

Krishna has built a wealth of knowledge and insight throughout his career, which he shares with his colleagues in blog posts and through personal interactions. He’s known for being a creative thinker and approachable about a variety of business topics. Here’s how one of his associates has described him:

KG is one of the best persons and professionals I have connected with. A brilliant leader, tirelessly working for the growth, improvement, and success of all folks around him. A true gentleman.” — Ricardo Bendoraitis, Senior Executive

Emmanuelle Morice, SVP Eco-System, Global Partners, Strategic Alliances | Atos


Follow her on LinkedIn.

About Emmanuelle:

Emmanuelle is a senior executive, specializing in go-to-market & business model innovations. She builds digital businesses and designs transformation for growth strategies for large and mid-size enterprises.

Accolades and Expertise:

Emmanuelle specializes in new technologies, enterprise applications and platforms, business transformation, global competitiveness, and digital innovation. She also serves on the EY Global Women in Business Advisory Council.

Moving Forward

In the world of business ecosystems, finding professionals who are skilled and willing to offer their knowledge and experience can help boost your efforts and provide you with innovative solutions to your toughest challenges on the job. We recommend that you follow, engage, and join these leaders in the conversations around business ecosystems.


  1. In the Ecosystem Economy, What’s Your Strategy? by Michael G. Jacobides | Harvard Business Review 
  2. Cornerstone of future growth: Ecosystems | Accenture
workspan and asap partnership

WorkSpan and ASAP Announce a Partnership to Strengthen Their Collaboration and Grow the Ecosystem Community

WorkSpan and the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (ASAP), two organizations that are deeply engaged with alliance and ecosystem professionals, are proud to announce a new partnership designed to grow and enhance both organizations’ ability to deliver world-class services to these communities.

WorkSpan is the category leader for Ecosystem Cloud where alliance, channel, and ecosystem leaders connect, co-create, co-market, co-sell, measure, and scale with their ecosystem partners in a single, secure network to grow business together. ASAP is the only nonprofit, professional association and community which certifies and is dedicated to elevating and promoting the profession of alliances, partnerships, and ecosystems management.

Over recent years, ASAP and WorkSpan have collaborated on a number of engagements, joint marketing activities, event sponsorships, and joint communications.
In order to strengthen and deepen that collaboration, today the organizations announced a new partnership, working together on a number of dimensions with the intention of delivering greater service to our shared communities of alliance and ecosystem professionals.

The partnership covers a number of strategic programs in five primary dimensions including:

  • Global and local chapter events
  • Training and certifications (strategic-alliances.org)
  • Online community (AllianceAces.com)
  • Content around alliances and ecosystems
  • Alliance and ecosystems best practices

Through this partnership, WorkSpan and ASAP see the opportunity to strengthen each organizations’ mission and provide greater opportunities for ASAP to deliver high-quality resources to alliance professionals and grow to support additional programs in the future.

“ASAP and WorkSpan are ideal partners that support ASAP’s goals to develop, educate, and grow its community of practitioners, in addition to helping them identify the best processes and practices to manage their partnerships and ecosystems successfully,” said Mike Leonetti, president, and CEO of the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals. 

“We’ve always had the highest regard for ASAP as a professional association and have enjoyed collaborating with Mike and the ASAP Board over the years.  We look forward to a strong partnership that will deliver immediate benefits to the alliance and ecosystem professionals’ community,” said Amit Sinha, Co-Founder, and Chief Customer Officer, WorkSpan.

The partnership is managed by WorkSpan’s Vice President of Marketing, Chip Rodgers and Mike Leonetti of ASAP. As part of the agreement, Mike Leonetti will join the Alliance Aces community board and Greg Fox, WorkSpan General Manager for the communications & networking industry, will join the ASAP advisory board. 

Link to the announcement by ASAP

About ASAP

The Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (ASAP) is the only professional association dedicated to elevating and promoting the profession of alliances, partnerships, and ecosystems management. Founded in 1998, the organization provides professional development, networking, and resources for cultivating the skills and toolsets needed to manage successful business partnerships. ASAP’s professional certifications include the Certificate of Achievement-Alliance Management (CA-AM) and Certified Strategic Alliance Professional (CSAP).  Find out more about key ASAP events, webinars, and other content at http://www.strategic-alliances.org.

About WorkSpan

WorkSpan is the Category Leader for Ecosystem Cloud.  With Ecosystem Cloud, our customers are capturing a disproportionate share of the Ecosystem Economy — and you can too.  Join the WorkSpan network where alliance, channel, and ecosystem leaders connect, co-create, co-market, co-sell, measure, and scale with their ecosystem partners in a single, secure network to grow business together.

WorkSpan is a privately held company backed by Mayfield and is growing its network of global enterprise customers including SAP, Cisco, Microsoft, Accenture, Google, SAS, VMware, NetApp, Nutanix, NTT Data, Lenovo, and others.

ecosystem cloud

How CROs Can Use Ecosystems for Business Growth

Shifting buyer behaviors have led companies to look for pathways to scalable and sustainable growth. While being first to market can put you at a significant advantage, continuing momentum requires deep insight into the needs of the customer as well as an ability to envision and execute on a long-term strategy for revenue growth across sales, marketing, and product.

Chief Revenue Officers are business leaders first. CRO’s need to understand the shifting marketplace, evaluate the best opportunities for revenue expansion, and increase the lifetime value (LTV) of their customers to the business. 

In order to create sustainable and predictable growth, every channel needs to be a high performing piece of your revenue portfolio. Successful CROs have found ways to leverage their company’s partner ecosystems as an extension of their own team. According to a recent Accenture survey of over 1,200 global executives, “Executives believe that ecosystem participation allows businesses to innovate (63 percent), increase revenue growth (58 percent), access new markets (55 percent) and access new customers (55 percent).”

Accenture Strategy: Ecosystems cornerstone of future growth

Figure 1: Chart from Accenture: Cornerstone of the Future Growth – Ecosystems with a survey of over 1,200 global executives.

Clearly, CROs know that their ecosystem strategy will be critical to their success in driving revenue for their company.  But how do you operationalize an ecosystem strategy in a way that’s predictable, measurable, and scalable?

Great question!  Here are three ways we are seeing successful CROs do exactly that:

1. Break Down the Walls Between Sales and Partners

In the past, there hasn’t been a way for partners and sales leadership to collaborate on their pre-pipeline cadence. Sales and ecosystem partners relied on one-way communication and manual processes in spreadsheets. This has led to low visibility, inaccurate forecasting and little to no collaboration. 

“Modern” Architecture: PRM + Ecosystem Cloud

Figure 2: With Ecosystem Cloud, sales teams and partner business managers are 100% aligned on partner activities across company boundaries in a single, shared network to accelerate pipeline and drive higher win rates.

By operationalizing and automating interdependent relationships in ecosystems, all players that have been given permission, have an accurate, transparent view into pre-pipeline activities as well as the opportunity to build multi-partner sales plans. While this is a huge win for sales, from the CRO’s perspective, this gives predictability and visibility to previously unaccountable and non-transparent processes.

As sales campaigns roll out and CROs can identify and scale best practices, pre-pipeline activity improves, ultimately resulting in better quality opportunities and better customer experience—and, of course, more closed deals from your ecosystem.

2. Mobilize Ecosystem Partners to Help Drive Your Goals

Traditional partnerships are prone to a lack of transparency or hesitation to expose pre-pipeline information. The inability to view data and communicate quickly slows down deal flows. 

According to Constellation Research, over the past two years, the B2B sales cycle has lengthened and the number of decision-makers involved in a sales opportunity has risen from five to seven people. Without an ecosystem single source of record, you’re bound to have multiple partners working on the same opportunities without collaborating, creating redundancies, and leading to wasted resources and lost deals.

With an Ecosystem Cloud platform, everyone has access to the data they need, when they need it. Even more important, this system of record is the single source of truth for all partners, so no one is left in the dark about opportunities or updates they should know about. 

Now, rather than working in isolation on the same opportunities, each partner knows their contribution and can leverage their unique skillset to close business. And when the time comes to evaluate which partner is best for a new account, it’s easy to look at partner contribution data and invite the right partner into the next sales engagement.


pipeline reviews: nominate accounts

Figure 3: With WorkSpan, all partners working on closing a shared opportunity have a single place to collaborate and drive the business to close.

This creates a seamless, powerful process that accelerates deals, establishes a secure system of trust, and records all partner’s contributions from deal inception to closed-won.

3. Build Trust and Drive Revenue Together

Many partnerships begin with lofty goals of combined vision to build innovative solutions together, but often fall victim to fragmented processes and frustrating blind spots, leading to failure. As Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP has often said: “Trust is built in drops and lost in buckets”.  

As a CRO, you have to put the right systems in place to operationalize best practices, provide visibility and accountability, and ultimately build and grow trust across your sales teams and your ecosystem partners. Only by doing this, will you make sure you don’t have a revenue-killing “bucket-drop moment”.

Partner relationships that function in a way that consistently build and grow trust can’t scale with a traditional, manual system. They require an Ecosystem Cloud platform like WorkSpan. WorkSpan supports you and your partner’s needs to stay tightly connected on deal cycles and status, implement best practices across the organization, measure and report on joint pipeline and revenue, and close more business together!

Moving Forward

Today, it’s imperative for CROs to maximize all channels at their disposal to grow revenue and be successful.  Yet the world of partnering has changed dramatically from the old days of turning on a reseller channel and letting it fly.  CROs and their partner teams need to be agile, aligned and operating at the top of their game across a variety of go-to-market motions with partners.  Ecosystem Cloud enables your teams to do that consistently, measurably, and predictably. 

Good selling!


workspan new features

New Product Features: Restrict Participant Visibility, and Metrics Enhancements

As an Ecosystem Cloud category leader, we at WorkSpan keep our customers at the center of everything we do. We are constantly adding new features based on our customers’ feedback and this month, we are excited to share with you the launch of the following key features:

  1. Restrict Participant Visibility
  2. Filter and view funding & claim requests relevant to you
  3. Metrics Enhancements

Let’s dive in.

Restrict Participant Visibility into Your Programs and Solutions

What does it do

With WorkSpan’s new participant visibility restriction feature, you can block a participant’s ability to view information about other participants from other companies in your partner programs and solutions. 

How it helps you succeed

The majority of partner programs, marketing programs, and funds are designed to enable and drive engagement and contributions from multiple partners. However, these programs often include competing partners in the same program.

Similarly, a solution offering from a company can be sold by many reseller partners. Most of these resellers are competitors in a region or industry.

You, as a program host or solution owner, may not want these competing partners to be aware of each other’s presence.

With the new “Restrict Participant Visibility” feature, you can keep your communications and engagement with each partner private and hidden from other participants.

Use Case Example:

  • Partner Programs and Co-solutions:
    • Organizations running different partner programs have multiple partners across multiple regions. Enablement content is shared with all the partners across the program. Systems Integrators (SIs) involved in the program are often competitors on the same deals. Now, you can restrict visibility and the partners will not be able to see who else is involved in the deal. 

Metrics Enhancements

What does it do?

This is one of my favorite additions this month because now you can easily view all your metrics on one page, hide/share metrics, and also view the percent of the goal achieved in the progress bar. 

How does it help you succeed:

1) View All

With a new “View All” button you can view all the metrics on a single page.

WORKSPAN Metrics enhancement view all feature

workspan view all feature

2) Hide Metrics

You now have the ability to hide metrics, so that they are not shown on the Summary/Overview page or on the View All screen. This allows you to build metrics to use in Formulas [link “Formulas” to the KB article on metrics formulas], without having to display the metrics you only need for formula calculations.

WorkSpan Feature: Hide Metrics


3) New  symbols allowed in Metric names

Previously, Metric names had to be alphanumerical. However, our customers asked for greater flexibility with metrics naming conventions.Now you can use symbols such as these when naming a metric:   – : * / | = + # $ € £ % & [ ] ( ) ‘ “ 

4) Percent to Goal Displayed on Metrics cards

Sometimes even a small change can make a big difference. On the top right of the progress bar on a Metric card, you will now see an automatically calculated progress percentage, such as 50.7%, indicating the percentage of the goal that has been reached.  We hope this small change will help you understand how close you are to achieving your goals while avoiding the need to pull up a calculator.

WorkSpan feature: percent of goal displayed


If you have any additional questions regarding our new product features and would like to learn more, please contact us at support@workspan.com.

“Modern” Architecture: PRM + Ecosystem Cloud

Modern Partnering Enterprise Architecture

Companies today require agile innovation and the ability to quickly form creative solutions to solve customer problems. The need for more agile ecosystems has created a demand for an entirely new way for companies to work with partners with speed, agility, and effectiveness. 

Research from top analyst firms like Gartner, IBM, Accenture, IDC, Forrester, and others show that the top-performing companies have adopted an ecosystem model for partnering.

Companies have been selling their solutions through channel partners (“sell-through” model) for years using traditional PRM solutions. But to remain competitive and thrive in today’s market, modern partnering requires collaborating with your partners in an ecosystem model (“sell-with” model).

What is Ecosystem Cloud?

While this massive disruption is taking place and ecosystems are on the rise, the ecosystem partnering model has lacked a solution designed with these new collaborative partner motions in mind. Companies have been using spreadsheets and emails to collaborate with partners requiring excessive amounts of time and effort for manual updates and data reconciliation between partners. 

what is ecosystem cloud

Ecosystem Cloud is the shared place where all partners engage equally through a single, secure, cloud-based network. Your company can share its solutions, opportunities or marketing plans with selected partners. Your partners can share their solutions, opportunities or marketing plans with you. Notice that explicit sharing is needed – only those users and partners that are in the sharing list are given permission to collaborate.

Ecosystem Cloud enables a collaborative environment. Each company can selectively engage with their ecosystem and customize their own data model, access policies and reports for their needs; integrate with its own SSO, CRM, PRM, and Marketing Automation systems.

“As Is” Architecture: PRM + Spreadsheets

PRM and Partner Portal solutions were designed and built to handle the traditional channel “sell-through” model of partnering.   The philosophy when implementing a PRM and Partner Portal solution is typically:

  • Set up a partner portal
  • Invite partners to your portal (partners login to each company’s different partner portal)
  • Offer training and enablement
  • Enable deal registration
  • Track partner incentives

However, your top partners demand more collaboration with you and want to execute on sell-with, market-with and build-with motions that are customized for their objectives and initiatives. Such collaborative execution is simply not handled by traditional PRM solutions.  In fact, for your top partners, they may also have their own PRM / Portal solution. When that happens, who will log into the other’s portal to transact major deals together? The answer is neither — companies are not using PRMs for these kinds of transactions.

What is used? Your Partner Business Managers (PBMs) – sometimes called Partner Development Directors (PDD) – are using spreadsheets and emails to try to manage their programs, initiatives and pipeline with your top partners.

“As Is” Architecture: PRM + Spreadsheets


The bottom line, if you’re like most companies, your current process to manage your top partners looks like the architecture shown above.  You’re using a PRM solution to handle well-defined packaged use cases with partners (channel marketing, channel enablement, deal registration). 

And for your top partners, your PBMs are managing programs, initiatives, plans, pipeline, solutions, and marketing in their own spreadsheets.  However, each partner manager uses a different format of spreadsheet and a different process depending on the partner they are working with, the region, industry, and solutions they are selling. This makes it hard to report and manage effectively across all your top partners.

“Modern” Architecture: PRM + Ecosystem Cloud

Ecosystem Cloud is built as a network of peer companies that are planning and executing together.  Each company, including your own, logs into one place to work with all of your ecosystem partners. Your partners do the same to work with you and their own partners.  This provides a single, shared system of engagement and system of record to manage their partner build-with, market-with, and sell-with activities. 

As the chart below shows, Ecosystem Cloud allows your PBMs and their counterparts to work in a single place together that securely integrates with your CRM and PRM solutions to align all of your GTM motions with your ecosystem partners.  Many of our customers choose to keep their current PRM and Partner Portal in place to provide a simple login-based model for your volume channel VAR partners to log in and download partner materials or training courses.

“Modern” Architecture: PRM + Ecosystem Cloud

Collaborative Execution via Ecosystem Cloud

An Ecosystem Cloud enables these 3 elements for effective collaborative execution:

  • A Peer Network of Companies — All participating companies in an Ecosystem Cloud are peers across the network and log into one system to connect and conduct business with all other partners on the network.  This allows partners to engage in “n-way” partnerships inviting in whichever partners are working together to bring a solution to market or manage joint pipelines together.
  • Flexible business schema — All companies on the network have their own ways of organizing their internal systems and ways of interacting with the market.  Ecosystem Cloud solutions have the built-in flexibility to accommodate different data models and configuration tables for each company in the network to allow for every company’s unique way of defining their building blocks of business, like industries, regions, market units, organization structures, etc.
  • Configurable business policies — similarly, each company in the network may have different ways of defining their business processes, data views, metrics, derived fields, values, etc. 

PRMs are not organized to enable Ecosystem Cloud. Each PRM is set-up by the host company and is customized for the host company. Your partners cannot set up their own business schema, set up their own SSO and access policies, set up their own CRM integrations, and hold their opportunities private from you.

Preparing Now

There is a massive opportunity ahead for organizations able to embrace this modern architecture leveraging the Ecosystem Cloud platform. McKinsey estimates that digital ecosystems will account for upwards of $60 trillion of revenue by 2025 — more than 30 percent of all global corporate revenues. 

And at the same time, IDC declares:

“Partners that adopt an ecosystem business model will grow 50% faster than partners which do not.” 

IDC, January 2019

Forward-thinking organizations are preparing now by defining and implementing a vigorous ecosystem strategy that includes a modern partnering architecture with Ecosystem Cloud.

Create A product first!

Create a product first please!