Chip Rodgers here with your Ecosystem Cloud Summit, May 2020 edition roundup. Over 250 ecosystem professionals joined and we were thrilled to see so much interaction in the chat and Q&A.

Chip Rodgers

First, I want to thank all of our terrific panel members — each are senior leaders driving partner ecosystem programs for their companies and brought amazing experiences, transparency, and insights to the audience.  I was inspired and I’m sure you were too!

There were so many awesome takeaways during the 2.5 hour event that it’s impossible to include everything, but we’re sharing our roundup of panels, best practices, 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!  Want to watch the entire event again? Catch the replay on Facebook Live along with Amit’s slides. 

And now, what you’re here for, the panel recaps!

Leading Partner Programs in the Time of Coronavirus 

with Amit Sinha, Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer, Workspan.

Watch Amit’s presentation here and check out his slides here

Amit spoke about how companies can “see ahead of the curve to a post-digital world” and drive digital transformation for their partner programs, and why now is the time to do it. It’s the time to digitize, short term to better respond to the current situation and long term to set your ecosystem up for success.

  • Amit provided a framework for collaborating with partners today: Assess, Stabilize, and Grow. 
  • Priority industries are shifting and new solutions will be needed, either with new partners or working with existing partners in new ways. As ecosystem leaders we need to address this quickly – “partners are selling different solutions for different buyers in a very different way.”
  • How can ecosystem leaders stabilize the impact on your partners? A few ideas- help your partners identify “lifeboat” projects, provide digital training, and implement a rapid co-solution process.

Driving World-Class Joint Partner Programs 

with Attis Bouillon, Director of Global Software Partner Sales, Intel and John McAtee, Director Global Alliances, VMware

Watch Attis and John’s panel here

Attis Bouillon John McAtee

Attis and John lead the innovative Intel/ VMWare “Amplify” program focused on driving growth technologies in the channel. Ahead of the curve, they worked together to digitize the program on WorkSpan and bring Intel and VMWare together “as one” to their shared channel. Some key takeaways about the challenges, learnings, and what they see for the future of the program:

  • As the program evolved, Attis and John considered what they could do to make the program appealing to partners. As Attis notes, “The partners that are the easiest to implement on and execute tend to be the ones that are favored.” They looked at how they could digitize processes and standardize workflows to better collaborate with partners using WorkSpan.
  • John provided great insight into how digitizing has not only made the program better for partners, but for Intel and VMware internally. “It’s dynamic, we now see more real time data. The accuracy and granularity of data will help us shape the program going into the future.”
  • The results of investing in digitization of the program? Attis shared that “The number one impact from deploying WorkSpan is broader use of the Amplify program. The number of projects we do with partners has increased dramatically.”

Microsoft and SAP: Pioneering a strategic Co-Sell Program 
with Margaret Synan, Director Business Strategy – WW SAP on Azure Sales Lead, Microsoft and Connor McCarren, Hyperscaler Partnerships Go-to-Market, SAP

Watch Margaret & Connor’s panel here. 

Margaret Synan Connor McCarren

Margaret and Connor lead the “Embrace” program for Microsoft and SAP respectively. Embrace pairs Microsoft and SAP with systems integrators (SI’s) to provide a unified approach to their shared customers moving their SAP S4/HANA implementations to the cloud with hyperscalers. 

Margaret and Connor chatted about compliance, consistency, culture and collaboration with us. Check out some highlights:

  • A key challenge for co-sell programs is jointly tracking sales pursuits (both pre-pipeline and pipeline). Margaret and Connor needed an approach that would accommodate different commercial models, provide data consistency, and meet rigorous  compliance requirements. 
  • Digitizing the Embrace program on WorkSpan is enabling the team to “coordinate joint sales and pipeline reviews, have our regional teams work off of one single source of truth, and bring in consistent data to track joint KPI’s.”  Microsoft and SAP CRM systems are the systems of record, while WorkSpan pulls in data approved for sharing to help drive joint opportunities forward while maintaining data privacy. 
  • Margaret shared four learnings about her experience launching a groundbreaking co-sell program: 
    • Run through the end-to-end process first to identify any hiccups
    • Engage privacy and data protection teams early on to address data compliance
    • Leverage the field as subject matter experts
    • Align your resources from global to the local level

Next Generation of Ecosystem Partnering for Global Systems Integrators
with Cherie Gartner Vice President and Global Head of Partners & Third Party Advisors, DXC

Watch Cherie’s panel here

Cherie Gartner

Cherie joined the summit from Switzerland (that’s Lake Geneva behind her!) where she leads the partner ecosystem for DXC, including over 200 partners and 3rd party advisors. Cherie shared some great insights on Covid-19’s impact on ecosystems and how “this is everyone’s time to look at what we need to do differently.”

Here’s some takeaways from Cherie: 

  • Cherie shared four key areas to drive success with ecosystems during the covid-19 crisis: 
    • Clarify the objective of the ecosystem to drive technology solutions
    • Deliver with agility and speed — rapid changes in business models demand it
    • Digitize to enable triangulation between multiple partners working together
    • Focus on driving customer success to differentiate yourselves in the market
  • On the last point, Cherie emphasized throughout her discussion how the ultimate measure of any ecosystem program is your ability to come together as partners to align with and support your joint customer’s success to achieve their goals.
  • Check out Cherie’s article, Three Keys to Ecosystem Success where she talks about how during the current crisis we need to engage differently, enable with technology, tools and platforms, and evangelize to drive awareness”.

ECS Audience Poll responses

We ran a few short polls during the virtual summit and wanted to share the results with you. We hear a lot of these challenges and success factors on a daily basis, and many of them are why WorkSpan was developed! Reach out to us to learn more and see how we might be able to help. 

  • What’s your role? 35% of attendees manage a partner program (or multiple partner programs!)
  • What kind of partner program(s) do you manage? Co-sell program was the top choice by far with 53%, with channel/VAR at 44% 
  • What challenges are you experiencing with managing partner programs during the  Covid-19 situation? 48% respondent that “Accurately predicting rapidly changing pipeline forecasts “ was a challenge followed very closely by “Shifting joint funded in person events and other activities to virtual”; “Spending more time on virtual meetings to get status updates” was right behind with 46%
  • What actions are you taking in your partner programs to support your partner ecosystem through this challenge? 63% indicated that your programs were “Offering or reduced cost virtual training and certification programs”
  • What challenges do you have managing your MDF programs? 55% of you shared that “Poor ability to show proof of performance for achieving goals” was a challenge, with labor-intensive manual processes and tracking program status both coming in at 30%
  • What are the key success factors you are looking for from your co-sell programs? The clear winner here with 77% was “Grow pipeline and achieve higher win rates”, coming in second with 50% was “ Demonstrate the value of co-sell partnerships”

Thanks for your feedback on what you would like to see in the next Ecosystem Cloud Summit!  Sharing best practices on specific programs and what’s ahead in ecosystem trends were the top choices. If you’re interested in being a panelist for the next virtual ECS in June, please reach out to me directly.

I’d like to wrap up our roundup with a few words inspiring words from Cherie about how to not only survive, but to thrive through this challenging time:

If we wait to anticipate what tomorrow is without acting right now, I think all of us are going to be behind. The trends are going to shift, we have to exhibit agility, we have to exhibit strategic resiliency to show that we are in it to survive and to thrive. It’s up to us to take part in how we drive that change forward.”

-Cherie Gartner, Vice President and Global Head of Partners & Third Party Advisors, DXC

See you at the next Ecosystem Cloud Summit in mid-June!

About the author

Chip Rodgers

Chip is passionate about building strong customer/partner communities around enterprises to amplify brand and market impact. 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.