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Ecosystem Cloud Summit March 2021 Roundup

Chip Rodgers

What an amazing Ecosystem Cloud Summit to kick off the year! Over 180 partner ecosystem leaders joined us for ECS 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 their busy schedules to share their experience and perspective with us. We heard a few themes come up throughout the event, including:

  • Deliver End to End Solutions: The shift to cloud has meant working with your ecosystems to deliver a holistic customer experience with partners engaged and driving value across the full customer lifecycle.
  • Communication is Key: Ensure that your partners are able to communicate and understand each other in real-time to deliver a coherent, single message to customers.
  • Cultivate Healthy Coopetition: It’s not all or nothing anymore. Create trust with transparency in your ecosystem to allow all partners to effectively collaborate and deliver the best experience for the customer.
  • Buy (Don’t Build) Ecosystem Business Management: Rapid changes in business models and cloud technologies make it unsustainable to build your own ecosystem business management systems. Buying your ecosystem business management solution is where the smart money is.

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 our poll results!  

Ecosystem Business Management and the New Era of Partner Co-Selling

with Mayank Bawa, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, WorkSpan

Watch the presentation from Mayank.


WorkSpan’s co-founder and Chief Executive Officer kicked off the event sharing how the era of the ecosystem is officially here. IDC, Forrester, Gartner, and Accenture all point to ecosystem business management as the new standard for facilitating partnerships and maximizing co-sell revenue.

Today, the revenue opportunity for companies co-selling with partners easily exceeds $300 billion. Already capitalizing on this opportunity, companies in the know are now actively participating in the coordinated ecosystems of others or creating their own.

Ultimately, operationalizing your ecosystem, shared business processes, and co-sell initiatives come down to the tools and technology that you will use for this enablement. A recent CEO survey by Accenture showed 63% of CEOs believe that technology is the most important thing to get right in an ecosystem.

This results in a “Build vs. Buy” decision - build co-sell capabilities or buy a co-sell management system that embeds or integrates into your existing PRM/CRM system.  Industry analysts covering the partnering technology stack have all voiced their opinion -- Buy, do not Build.  And the reasons are clear in the table below.

ecosystem business management build vs buy

With the rapid changes in business models, ecosystems and cloud technologies, building your own ecosystem business management systems will be too costly, too inefficient and unsustainable. Buying your ecosystem business management solution is where the smart money is.

In the Age of Cloud, Partnering is All About Co-Selling: How SAP and Cognizant Are Transforming Partner Engagement

With Marc Rolfe, Senior Vice President, Global Business Development and Ecosystems, SAP and Jack Miller, SAP Global Markets Head, Cognizant

Watch the discussion with Marc and Jack.


Marc and Jack shared how SAP and Cognizant are transforming partner engagement. They discuss how the RISE with SAP initiative to transition customers to the cloud has affected how SAP works with partners and prompted a new paradigm of partner engagement.

  • Continuous Engagement - Stay communicative and innovative throughout the entire customer journey. This constant, long-term engagement is the only way to effectively deal with emerging customer needs and deliver end to end solutions.
  • Real Time Communication - Co-selling means partners need to be on the same page at all times. This requires not only having willingness but also the capability and technology to collaborate at a moment’s notice.
  • Customers Expect Ecosystems- Your Ecosystem gives you credibility. Cognizant’s clients expect them to have a strong partnership with SAP and a deep understanding of their business.
“Today, we have over 1,000 sales plans on WorkSpan with our partners and over 200,000 opportunities. We’re leveraging Workspan to make sure there's a common understanding on where we’re at and where we’re going around individual sales plans and individual opportunities. It’s creating the transparency we need in this very complex world.”
- Marc Rolfe

Transforming the Ecosystem Model for the Cloud Economy: Full Customer Lifecycle, Multi-partner, Investments, and Blurred Partner Types

With Tracy-Ann Palmer, Vice President Partner Programs and Experience, VMware and Sanjay Jindal, Head of Global Partner Investments and Incentives Sale, VMware

Watch the conversation with Tracy-Ann and Sanjay.


Tracy-Ann and Sanjay shared how VMware is transforming the ecosystem model for the cloud economy. They discuss VMware’s incentive programs and how they’ve created new partner incentive programs to drive value across the full customer lifecycle.

  • Drive Value Across Customer Lifecycle - VMware engages partners across the full life cycle to ensure the best customer experience that doesn't stop at the transaction.
  • Incentivise Based on Outcomes - Paying incentives based on your partner’s organization type is inefficient, especially as partner roles are blurring. VMware gives incentives based on how their partners drive value motions in the customer lifecycle.
  • Create an Agile Partner Incentives - VMware leverages WorkSpan to develop and deploy new and creative partner incentives with agile, no-code changes.
That's how we’ve started working with WorkSpan because time to market has become very very critical.
- Tracy-Ann Palmer
[WorkSpan] is helping us continue to deliver the partner experience... We could not have done this without them coming and launching it on their platform.
- Sanjay Jindal

Thank you!

Thank you so much for being a part of the WorkSpan ecosystem community!  I’ll leave you with the advice from Tracy-Ann Palmer:

“When it comes to operating models and infrastructure models, I have a buy vs. build mentality because I don't believe inside of our own companies, we can build as fast as the pace of the industry, as the pace of our customers.”

See you at the next Ecosystem Business Summit!


Chip Rodgers, VP of Marketing

P.S. We are always looking for great partner ecosystem leaders to showcase in an upcoming Ecosystem Business event!  If you’re interested in joining as a panelist, please reach out to me directly.

Chief Partner Officer

About Chip Rodgers

Chip is passionate about building strong communities and ecosystems around enterprises to build excitement for the category, deliver value for customers, and grow the business. Prior to WorkSpan, Chip was with SAP for over 13 years, most recently growing the SAP Community Network to over 2 million engaged customers, partners, and developers. He has an MBA from the University of Chicago and an engineering degree from Northwestern.

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