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Partnering Strategy
xx min read

Ease of Doing Business Trumps Everything Else in Partnerships

Nitin Mathur

Successful ecosystems are built with a purpose of solving real world problems, value creation, and sharing of wealth.

An ecosystem is a network of organizations and individuals that co-evolve their capabilities and roles and align their investments to create additional value and improve efficiency. An organization’s success partly depends on how effectively it takes advantage of each partner’s complementary capabilities, resources, and knowledge of the network of firms, institutions, and individuals around it.

Yet, the most important attribute to make these ecosystems succeed often goes unnoticed. In an IDC survey, 91% of the partners rated “ease of doing business” as the topmost attribute when considering partnering, even rating it above “market/ customer demand”, at 80%.

We have to understand the reasons behind why “ease of doing business” is such a big factor in making ecosystems work. Let’s try and unravel those possible reasons.

Your partners are not just your partners

According to the Gartner Technology and Service Provider 2025 Survey, 46% of partners that participate in any ecosystem also participate in another partner’s ecosystem and another 46% of the partners have created their own ecosystem. For these partners, a multitude of tools, systems, processes, and workflows adds to the complexity, needing to follow those processes and additional costs for hiring resources to manage partnerships. These all add friction and result in barriers to the success of an ecosystem.

Watch Jose Van Dijk, Vice President, Operations and Partner Performance, Global Partner Organization (GPO) and Cisco as she shares Cisco’s journey reducing from hundreds of different tools to manage partner ecosystems to now just a few.

Most ecosystem leaders are realizing this reality and working towards cutting the number of systems and tools to manage their partnerships. Most see investing in existing ecosystem networks where their current partners already operate. A major part of this investment in ecosystem networks is funded by shutting down old and redundant tools and systems that were adding to operational complexities.

Knowing your role in the ecosystem

Some ecosystems evolve through serendipity and self-organization. In some ecosystems, hub companies play a major role by orchestrating ecosystem partners for not only value creation but also value capture. As ecosystems advance and become self-governing, they often don’t require orchestration by lead firms. In some instances, multiple orchestrators take center stage, in other cases partners themselves take initiative in making the ecosystem work. All this needs to be achieved while keeping partner experience in mind to keep the ecosystem intact and growing.

Watch Gavriella Schuster, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advocate Former CVP, One Commercial Partner at Microsoft as she talks about the need for orchestration in a healthy ecosystem and the importance of understanding your role as a “lead” or an “attach” to an activity within the ecosystem.

The old thinking was all about gaining leverage and controlling the supply chain. Increasingly, however, value is created through networks where partners share data, code, and skills; where communities of businesses create value and antifragility together. ~ McKinsey

Ensuring frictionless partnerships through simplified operations by automating processes, facilitating shared workflows, helping partners engage to advance deals, exchange co-sell referrals, manage shared pipelines and book of business and track performance will go a long way in making your ecosystem a success.

Traditional tools are not the answer

Solutions like partner portals were optimized for reselling relationships, but have never been effective in managing partner ecosystems with ISVs, IHVs, GSIs, cloud, and other partners. Different teams within business functions like sales, marketing, business development and finance have to collaborate and share data, tasks and activities within and across partner organizations to make an ecosystem truly operate at scale.

Ecosystem Business Management Platforms end this counterproductive isolation. To learn more about these solutions and their capabilities click here.

Check out our Ecosystem Business Management Principles guide to learn more about the best practices in activating a winning ecosystem.

Director, Product Marketing

About Nitin Mathur

Nitin Mathur is a marketing maverick with an extensive experience in the tech, telecom, and consumer electronics industry. As Director of Product Marketing at WorkSpan, Nitin is on a mission to revolutionize the way businesses manage their multi-partner ecosystems with WorkSpan's cutting-edge product capabilities. Prior to his stint at WorkSpan, Nitin worked at various marketing positions at some of the biggest names in the industry, including IBM, Motorola, and Philips. He is also a tech enthusiast passionate about harnessing technology's power to solve real-world problems.

Ecosystem Business Management — Principles and Best Practices

We’ve developed a 49-page eBook on the emerging category of Ecosystem Business Management to share learnings from our customers and how to apply best practices successfully in your organization.

  1. IDC says by 2024, those who adopt an ecosystem business model will grow 50% faster than companies that do not.
  2. Accenture’s survey showed 76% of business leaders agree ecosystems will be the catalyst to drive dramatic changes in business models over the next 5 years.
  3. Forrester says ecosystem growth requires automation.

Make sure you’re ready to accelerate revenue with your Ecosystem partners!

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