Last Updated on April 30, 2021
What an amazing Ecosystem Cloud Summit to round out the year! Once again over 150 partner ecosystem leaders joined us for our fifth and final ECS event of 2020 to connect, learn, and share best practices on how to grow partner ecosystem value for their organizations.
We’re incredibly thankful to our panelists for taking time out of busy year-end schedules to share their experience and perspective with us. We heard a few themes come up throughout the event, including:
- Implement a win-win-win approach: Customer success should be the North Star to lead all partnering decisions and actions
- Quality matters: Having partners to co-build solutions with is successful only when you have a clear understanding of the value they bring to the table. Recognize what effort your partners are providing and reward them appropriately
- Visibility is key: Measuring the success of your ecosystem requires transparency into all stages of the process.
- Focus on the future: Don’t obsess on the past with reports based on old data. Develop a forward-thinking approach for how you build and execute your partner strategy
- Agility Wins: With COVID-19 accelerating business transformation, being able to move nimbly through the market will help keep your business going strong
There were so many great takeaways during the summit that it’s impossible to include everything, but we’re sharing our roundup of panels and poll responses so you can dive deeper into the topics that matter most to you. Scroll down for an overview of each panel with video clips followed by the very interesting poll results!
Ecosystem Market Overview
with Amit Sinha, Chief Customer Officer and Co-Founder, WorkSpan
Watch the presentation from Amit.
WorkSpan’s co-founder and Chief Customer Officer kicked off the event sharing his Ecosystem Market Overview, including 6 best practices and trends that have been developed through numerous roundtables with co-sell experts throughout the year. They include:
- Manage Customer Lifecycle, not the Partner Lifecycle, on Co-Sell
- Make co-sell repeatable with Joint Solutions
- Establish Opportunity Sharing and Data Privacy
- Establish Standard Metrics to Measure Influence including Splits
- Drive Accountability – Running Cadence Calls/Agile Sprints
- Be Ready for Multi-Partner in Co-sell (e.g. ISV + SI + Hyperscaler)
Many of these best practices can be achieved by implementing an ecosystem business management platform like WorkSpan. As Amit shared, “you can finally kiss goodbye to those spreadsheets that you have been lugging for years.”
Additionally, Amit announced that the WorkSpan/Microsoft P2P program is generally available, allowing you to partner with Microsoft on the WorkSpan platform for $48k/year. The service can be “switched on” to allow your CRM and Microsoft Partner Center to be integrated in WorkSpan, and you can go live in less than 3 weeks.
Building a World-Class Ecosystem Organization, Platform, and Measurements to Win
With David Stone, Vice President and GM, Worldwide Ecosystem Sales Leader at Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Mayank Bawa, CEO and Co-Founder, WorkSpan
Watch the discussion with David and Mayank.
David and Mayank had an intimate conversation about how HPE is improving and scaling their partner ecosystem, including how David is structuring HPE’s incentive framework. Highlights included:
- Everything is built as a service- HPE joins the many organizations that are blurring the lines between a hardware and software company, which requires tracking of every single component in a complex partner ecosystem.
- Executing on a win-win-win approach – Start with how you and your partners give the best possible outcome for customers. Then understand what’s a win for your company and your partners and their goals.
- Innovative Incentive Matrix- HPE measures partner-related opportunities in three categories: ecosystem sourced, ecosystem collaborated, and ecosystem endorsed/validated, then looks at the effort and value delivered in terms of both compensation and economic benefits for your sales teams and your partner’s sales teams.
“WorkSpan is truly enabling us to automate the digital process of everything from the solution build to housing the repositories for a lot of our referral programs to tracking pipeline.”
– David Stone
Your channel is a platform, not a program: Build a stage to connect, collaborate, co-create, and sell
With Daniel Rippey, Director, Partner Programs & Experiences, Microsoft and Puneet Mittal, CFO, WorkSpan
Watch the conversation with Dan and Puneet.
Dan shared how Microsoft, as a partner-driven company, is developing a better partner experience through Partner Center. With one of the largest partner ecosystems out there, including hundreds of thousands of organizations, this can often be a challenge. Key takeaways include:
- Quality matters – Having numerous partners to choose from is nice, but if none of them have the quality to provide value to the customer, it will not be a successful P2P program. Microsoft is focusing on how to find the right partners for each opportunity.
- Fostering trust with partners is key – Rather than waiting for partners to come to Microsoft, Dan and his team put on their “entrepreneurial hats” and work to foster relationships with partners, big or small, and use WorkSpan to help ensure transparency across the P2P process
- Join the conversation only when needed – Microsoft has learned that it’s best to bring partners together (“like Match.com”) and then let the magic happen. WorkSpan facilitates those partner co-sell activities while staying fully integrated to Microsoft Partner Center.
“The ability to connect, the ability to search and discover other partners…that’s the magic that we’re looking for WorkSpan to bring to the table.”
– Dan Rippey
Stimulating Growth Through a Highly Agile Partner Ecosystem Model
With Bronwyn Hastings, SVP of Worldwide Channel Sales and Ecosystem, Citrix and Amit Sinha, Chief Customer Officer and Co-Founder, WorkSpan
Watch the discussion with Bronwyn and Amit.
Bronwyn and Amit spoke about how 2020 has been a year of immense digital transformation for Citrix, despite the obstacles the pandemic has created. Highlights from this lively discussion include:
- Frictionless experience for partners – building a world-class ecosystem shouldn’t require multiple hoops for partners to join. Citrix is bringing cloud capabilities to the forefront and expanding in multiple directions “by looking for the puzzles that come together naturally.”
- Agility – Being agile with your ecosystem is a critical imperative this year. Keeping agility top-of-mind is vital so that you can course-correct back to the overall strategy.
- Transparency – You can’t be agile without transparency. Bronwyn and her team aim to provide bi-directional transparency, starting at the offering level and then all the way through the co-sell process.
“What we appreciate about WorkSpan is that it lets you stage the business to get a single source of truth. It becomes a fundamental part of how your strategy works”
– Bronwyn Hastings
ECS Audience Poll Responses
During the summit, we ran a few short polls to understand the audience better and what are some challenges everyone faces in the co-sell space. Interesting results!
- Are you a partner or alliance professional? Most (29%) are leading partner organizations while 18% support partnering teams.
- What kind of partner program(s) do you manage? 53% manage Co-Sell Programs, 39% Channel / VAR programs, and 37% P2P programs
- What type of organization are you with? 49% are with software vendors, 15% system integrators, and 13% CSPs
- Which Co-sell best practices/trends will be your priority for next year? 62% wan to make co-sell programs repeatable, 46% managing multi-partner joint selling, and 41% on standardizing metrics
- What challenges do you have when managing complex partner initiatives with multiple partners? 55% said aligning go-to-market teams, 46% lack quantifiable data, and 43% said standardized processes/workflows
- What are the key metrics you use to measure the success of your partner ecosystem? 75% chose revenue growth (no surprise!) and 55% new solutions / co-innovation.
Thank you so much for being a part of the WorkSpan ecosystem community! I’ll leave you with these inspiring thoughts from Bronwyn Hastings, SVP at Citrix:
“If you’re fixing the past, you’re not creating the future. If you think of that as a principal, it shifts all your reporting and your analytics from backward-looking to being transparent from the beginning.”
– Bronwyn Hastings
Chip Rodgers, VP of Marketing