ecosystem cloud summit interviews

WorkSpan’s ecosystem cloud summit is the monumental gathering of the top ecosystem leaders from top B2B companies around the world – Google, SAP, NetApp, PTC, Microsoft, Citrix, etc. The summit presents an opportunity to network, discuss emerging trends, and share best practices with other ecosystem professionals.

We interviewed key ecosystem leaders from PTC, SAP, Constellation Research, Cognizant, Infosys Ltd., and NEO4J at the summit, and they shared their views on:

  1. What brought them to the summit
  2. Best practices for the ecosystem economy
  3. Why now is the right time for Ecosystem Cloud

Here is the recap of their interviews showcasing nuggets of brilliant anecdotes, and you don’t want to miss them.

Ravi Asrani from PTC – Quick fixes lead to failed alliances 

For Ravi Asrani, Senior Vice President at PTC, digital ecosystems and partner ecosystems are very relevant in today’s partner world. In the past, organizations focused on a set of partners to go to market. But, an ecosystem play is a new way to be successful and deliver outcomes and innovation – that’s what customers expect.

The Internet of Things (IoT) augmented reality market is one of the disruptive technologies. To execute well with the IoT ecosystem, organizations don’t only need a platform; they need sensors, storage, cloud, and security, making it an ecosystem play.

Ravi explained that there are no quick fixes in alliances, and the organizations looking for a quick fix are often the first to fail. He states that successful partnerships are there for the long term. Business partners that stay committed to each other during the ups and downs are more likely to achieve success. 

Traditionally, ecosystems have revolved around a particular technology player or a service provider; but in reality, Ravi notes, we should all revolve around the customer. Keeping the customer top of mind and applying the ecosystem framework to the problem. Ravi adds, “The moment you know that this is your objective, and this is how you fix it — the fix is ecosystem.”

Prasad Gonuguntla from SAP – Ecosystems transcend competition 

Prasad Gonuguntla, Vice President of Global Business Development & Ecosystem at SAP, has a vested interest in innovation and evolution of ecosystems and views WorkSpan on the leader.

 “I view WorkSpan as a leader in trying to get the ecosystems to work for larger companies.”  

Prasad’s work at SAP focuses on how to work with different partners to create an advantage, particularly in how to reduce the time to market for SAP products. The summit allowed Prasad to get an outside-in perspective and connect with ecosystem leaders to explore some of the new ideas and emerging trends in the ecosystem space, such as the public cloud.

One of the most exciting aspects of modern ecosystems is how it transcends competition. In many cases, partners can be competitors in one area, but partners in another. Cooperation is critical in ecosystems, and blurring of the competitive lines makes the market more complex.

“It’s always good to hear what is getting innovated on edge, especially around building frameworks, platforms, and technology for providing the ecosystem to innovate itself,” Prasad said.

Ray Wang from Constellation Research – The science of doing the deal

Ray Wang, Principal Analyst, Founder, and Chairman of Constellation Research, Inc., says that ecosystems have been a part of the move from transactional relationships and bilateral agreements to co-innovation and co-creation. Unfortunately, this transformation happened without any automation or standardized processes – it’s been chaotic as every organization has had to evolve in real-time.

Today, partnerships and alliances are getting more complex, and the deals and transactions are larger and more challenging than ever. One significant challenge is the finite number of available customers, especially in the enterprise space. With a global pool of 2,000 to 5,000 enterprise customers, and there are more vendors than customers – requiring organizations to be much smarter about how they build their ecosystems. Organizations realize that to solve complex customer needs, they need to be good at co-innovation & co-creation. 

A key hurdle is figuring out how to make the leap from concept to commercialization after the deal. And, beyond execution, learning how to succeed and measure that success.  

“We’re going from the art of doing the deal to the science of doing the deal and then bringing it back together,” Ray said. “If you don’t put this together, you have a lot of great announcements, a lot of good publicity, but you actually end up with nothing and a lot of wasted time and energy, and more importantly, wasted brand capital.”

In the tech world, everyone thinks they can do everything, but that’s not the key to success in today’s market. Ray explained the importance of thinking about your value chain first, where you see yourself in the broader ecosystem, and then picking strategic partners.

Essential to this process is understanding your strengths and opportunities for growth. Knowing your weaknesses can start the partnership process in building value chains across industries to deliver solutions that allow customers to think about what their bigger future would be versus their immediate needs.

Samir Konmur from Cognizant Technology Solutions – An alliance team is better than one alliance manager

Samir Konmur, Associate Director at Cognizant Technology Solutions, sees Silicon Valley not merely as a geographical construct but as a construct of people and partnerships. The Ecosystem Summit gives ecosystem professionals like himself the opportunity to network, exchange ideas, and foster innovation.

One of the biggest challenges for current alliances is that the success of these partnerships relies heavily on the personalities of those driving the relationship. The problem presents itself whenever there is a change of personnel; it brings the momentum back to zero, and new people have to start all over again. To be successful and not lose that rhythm, Samir has found that an alliance team working on a product together reduces the dependency on that one connection between organizations.

We see an unprecedented speed of change in almost every business aspect, not just technology, which means that there isn’t a way for any entity to stay on top or drive it. The only way organizations remain competitive is by leveraging innovative technologies from different partners to co-create solutions and reduce their time to market. 

“We know that we are not going to have one entity that is capable of driving this change on their own. There is no alternative but to build an ecosystem or build a partnership and execute,” Samir said. “I think that’s the only way for the future to survive and thrive in this economy.”

Ved Vyas from Infosys Ltd – Quantify the value of ecosystems

Ved Vyas Associate Vice President for Alliances and Business Development at Infosys Ltd. came to the Ecosystem Cloud Summit to learn from ecosystem leaders in a unique event focused on the growth and emerging issues facing professionals in this space today. The depth of industry knowledge, expertise, and topics focused on best practices, which have been a great learning experience for and from the attendees was stimulating for him.  

When thinking about best practices for ecosystem leaders, one of the things that stood out to Ved is to quantify the value that business ecosystems bring to the business. But this isn’t as simple as a direct business transaction. Alliance leaders need to quantify & categorize how they are delivering value because that’s what gets attention, Ved says. And after that, “people start seeing the value that ecosystems bring to the table.”

Many of Ved’s clients come to him and ask for a solution to a problem and are least concerned about what technologies would be involved in solving their problem. For instance, he recalls one client asked him to modernize and transform their procurement business. The client wanted the problem fixed, but it was up to Ved’s team to bring in the partners that would make it happen. He brought in the software, big data integrations, and several other players, totaling ten different partners. Every one of the players stitched together the end to end solution for the customer. 

One of the most exciting results of digital disruption is that many times clients don’t understand which technologies they need because technology is changing so fast. It is up to you to stitch the perfect solution for the customer by partnering with businesses. 

“Innovation is happening at such a rapid speed even the practitioners sometimes don’t know when it’s important to get the right people, the right skill set, the right ecosystem, which can solve the problem,” Ved said.

Fawad Zakariya from Neo4j – Ecosystems are a meaningful business function

Fawad Kayariya, SVP Corporate & Business Development at Neo4j, views the Ecosystem Cloud Summit as a chance to collaborate with former colleagues and friends he’s worked with for many years in the business. He adds that there aren’t many exclusive events for ecosystem professionals, and ECS is an opportunity to see what new ideas and innovations are in the market.

In some companies, we see ecosystem leaders in the c-suite, and that number is growing. He believes the reason ecosystems have not received the right level of commitment in the c-suite is the fact that “it has a bit of a stigma in many instances of unsuccessful sales.” 

Fawad emphasizes that ecosystem leaders have to make the CEO, head of sales, and others understand that an ecosystem is not a subsidiary but truly an essential function that helps scale their business. He further adds, what holds many ecosystem professionals back is lack of communication w.r.t., how their strategy affects the direction and success of the company.

The cloud transition is central to the way ecosystems enables technology companies to grow by co-innovating most effectively with a wide variety of partners. 

“I think the ecosystem criticality to the businesses has gone up because of the public cloud in particular,” Fawad said.

WHAT’S NEXT

55% of executives believe that ecosystem participation allows businesses to access new markets and new customers, according to Accenture. Our ecosystem cloud summit presents an opportunity for you to network with other ecosystem leaders from top B2B organizations around the world. It will enable you to develop deep, meaningful business relations that could lead to quantifiable business outcomes. 

If you would like to be interviewed and share your point of view about the ecosystem economy, join us at our next ecosystem cloud summit or drop me an email at marketing@workspan.com.

About the author

Vishal Kalia

Vishal is the Director of Content Marketing & Social Media and leads our Alliance Aces Community. He has been in marketing for 14+ years and writes about ecosystem cloud, alliance strategies, and digital transformation.