Hi! Chip Rodgers here with your Ecosystem Cloud Summit roundup!

That’s me below having a great time chatting with our panelists and attendees. We had folks joining us from the United States, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Peru, and Switzerland!

There were a lot of great takeaways during the 2.5 hour event, so we’re sharing our roundup of the panels, best practices, poll responses and more. You’ll find an overview and video for each panel!

Click here to watch the event in its entirety, and access the slides presented during the event here.

Before we dig into the panel sessions, we also had to share a few of our favorite sayings from our panelists. Want to know more about the context? You’ll have to check out the videos below!

“All the rappers all want to be rockstars, and the rockstars all want to be rappers.”
-Tom Roberts

“Identify the fox!”
– Michael Bruchey

“Rail against the spreadsheet!!”
– Tom Roberts

Now for what you’re really here for, key takeaways from the presentations, panels, and polls! Scroll down to check out each session.


Welcome to the Ecosystem Cloud Summit with Thack Brown, Chief Operating Officer for SAP NA

Watch Thack’s ECS welcome here

Thack Brown, Chief Operating Officer for SAP NA, joined us from SAP’s Hudson Yards office to welcome everyone to the virtual summit. In his role as COO for SAP NA, Thack owns the “formulation and execution of overall GTM strategy,” including the largest System Integrator (SI) relationships (SAP Global Strategic Service Partners) and reseller business (SAP Solutions Extensions).

Here are some key takeaways from Thack’s warm welcome:

  • Partners contribute to significant growth and customer value for SAP and have long been a critical part of their strategy. In the past several years, SAP has evolved the services they offer to their customers and diversified their partner ecosystem. This diversification contributes to significant growth, but has also added complexity with new sales, delivery, support, and business models.
  • In the last year, the SAP team realized the “classic” model of partnering–the “human to human” model with in person meetings, tracking in spreadsheets, and “cobble it all together”–would not scale.
  • SAP’s team turned to new, next generation collaboration methods and tools to allow their business to scale and grow- “WorkSpan has been one of the critical components of that so they can stay lock-step as they go forward with their partners. This is what’s going to allow us to scale and to take the partnership to the next level” without having to deploy armies of human beings.

The Power of Ecosystems: Six Trends and Three Recommendations with Amit Sinha

Watch Amit’s presentation here

Amit Sinha, Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer at WorkSpan, joined us from WorkSpan HQ (the view doubles as a Highway 101 traffic cam!).

  • Amit talked about how much revenue flows through the ecosystem- according to Forrester 75% of all tech revenue is partner related (regardless of partnering model) and how alliances need their own digital platform. And how, with such massive value attributed to your ecosystem, the time is now to digitize your partner ecosystem programs.
  • You can check out Amit’s slides on Six Trends and Three Recommendations here. They’re all great, but we especially love the “Copernican moment” inspired by Tom Stuermer from Accenture.

Best Practices Learned While Leading the World’s Largest GSI program with Michael Bruchey

Click here to watch Michael & Amit’s panel

Michael Bruchey, Global Vice President Partner Solutions, Global Business Development & Ecosystem, SAP joined the virtual Ecosystem Cloud Summit from Florida, while his moderator Amit Sinha was at the WorkSpan HQ in Foster City, California. In his role at SAP, Michael manages the largest SI program in the industry, SAP’s Global Strategic Systems Integrator program.

Some key takeaways from Michael and Amit’s conversation:

  • When Michael inherited the global SI program, there wasn’t an effective way to track and measure the impact of the partnership. Michael wanted to provide Partner Business Managers with insights to run their business. As we all know, managing partnerships is a tough job- what tools could he provide to make their job easier and to free them up from tactical activities so they can focus on the things that impact the business and make them more effective?
  • “What we did in implementing WorkSpan was to ensure that we had a vehicle that allowed us to focus on those things that are most strategic to the business. We can automate the processes we couldn’t automate before, and integrating with SAP’s CRM provides near real-time updates.”
  • Best practices for rolling out new tools? Identify the “fox”– aka find the champions who understand what you’re doing and work with them first. Roll tools out internally first and then to your partners (never throw a blanket on a partner!). Communication and enablement are key.
  • Ecosystem collaboration in the time of Covid-19- “glad we’ve built our digital muscle”. Now is not the time to pause, let’s get prepared to digitize collaboration now so we get ahead and can be prepared for both the ebbs and flows.

Growing an ISV/OEM program to over $1 billion in sales with Tom Roberts

Watch Tom & Gaurav’s panel here

Tom Roberts, Senior Vice President, Software Solutions Program, SAP joined us from Pennsylvania with a very cool SAP logo background while his moderator Gaurav Saini was at the WorkSpan HQ in Foster City, California. In his role at SAP, Tom manages the software reseller business including Solution Extensions and Endorsed Apps.

Some key takeaways from their talk:

  • “Rail against the spreadsheets!” People are tired of doing a complex role and doing it with spreadsheets- the complexity just doesn’t scale.
  • “All the rappers all want to be rockstars, and the rockstars all want to be rappers.” Everyone thinks they do alliances but it’s a very complex role. Similar to how the sales profession changed when they got a dedicated platform, CRM, evolution for our alliance profession is embodied in a tool like WorkSpan. “This is the skill-set you need to take your game to the next level.”
  • Advice from Tom: “Figure out how to get the economy of scale by looking for things that are similar. When it comes to go to market, you want to ride on the paved roads. If you have to hack through with the machete, you’re not going down the autobahn, and speed matters!

Building Ecosystems as a Global Systems Integrator with David Wilson

Watch David and Nirav’s panel here

David Wilson, Senior Vice President and Head, Partner Ecosystem at Infosys, joined us from Connecticut, and won for most scenic backdrop of the day! His moderator Nirav joined from WorkSpan HQ in Foster City, California.

Here’s some takeaways from the panel:

  • The shift to the cloud has blurred the lines between SI’s, ISV’s, VAR’s. Customers are not interested in owning the technology CapEx and in some cases are looking to contract for business/technology outcomes.
  • 3 areas David looks to evaluate the value of a partnership:
    • 1. What is the market pull from the vendor’s technology? This is the most important element!
    • 2. What is the commercial model? Check for conflict in the commercial model between the partners.
    • 3. What is the GTM model? How you engage from a market presence, executive alignment, how do the field reps work together? Check out more on how David approaches partnering here
  • On ecosystem digitization and metrics: “I don’t want to measure individual people. I want to measure the ecosystem. The ultimate goal is not to have individuals that have the title partner or alliance involved in every single major deal if we’ve done our job correctly. So we’ve shifted the metrics of how we look at the partnerships less about treating as a channel sales and much more about being an ecosystem builder and an ecosystem enabler. And the only way you can do that is to through digital means to manage your business.”

ECS Audience Poll responses

We ran a few short polls during the virtual summit and wanted to share the results here.

  • What’s your role? 33% of attendees selected partner program leaders
  • What kind of partner program(s) do you manage? Co-sell program was the top choice by far with 58%, with channel/VAR at 37%
  • How are you changing your business practices during the Covid-19 environment? 80% indicated you were holding virtual meetings and 70% are using digital tools and platforms to manage through the crisis.
  • What are your challenges in running partner programs? Managing and tracking collaboration between partners was the #1 challenge selected, closely followed by partner revenue attribution.
  • What would be important to you in a digital collaboration tool built for partners? Almost a tie, with 70% indicating “Managing a joint pipeline of opportunities together with partners” and 66% “Having one system of record with partners.”

Lastly, feel free to share this email with your colleagues who might find it valuable as well. Thanks again and see you next time!

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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.