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Ecosystem Cloud Summit September 2020 Roundup!

Chip Rodgers

Hi! Chip Rodgers here with your Ecosystem Cloud Summit, September 2020 edition roundup. Over 150 ecosystem professionals joined us on September 24th to learn, share, and connect.

We’re so thankful to our panelists for taking time to share their experience and perspective with us. We heard a few themes come up across all of the panels, including:

  • The shift from the “walled garden” to vibrant ecosystems in the telco industry is driving significant changes in partnering and driving new opportunities.
  • Ecosystem orchestration (especially in IoT) is challenging and complex. You can’t execute these complex ecosystems with spreadsheets or portals, you need a platform and programs purpose-built to accommodate multi-partner orchestration. (This complexity makes it uniquely valuable as a strategic differentiator if you can execute well!)
  • The human element is becoming more central as B2B and B2C shift to P2P (Partner to Partner) with the human impact as the basis for solution development.

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 Strategy to Grow Your Business - How to Get the Ecosystem Party Started

Julian Kawohl, Professor of Strategic Management, University of Applied Sciences Berlin and Founder of

Watch the discussion with Amit and Julian.

Amit and Julian spoke about ecosystem orchestration, operationalizing trust by implementing joint digital business plans, and the important human element, what Julian calls “Ecosystem to Human”. Key takeaways from Amit and Julian:

  • Most partner leaders think about creating their ecosystem program, our advice - plug into other programs and grow faster for less cost
  • Multi-party joint solutions will be the norm in IoT/5G as well as in the overall technology ecosystem - this needs a joint solution process, ideally on a shared platform
  • Check out for useful ecosystem frameworks, strategies and tools, like this Ecosystem Strategy Map

Delivering IoT/5G Innovation and Differentiated Solutions with Ecosystem Partners

Eugene H. Banks, Vice President - Head of Partnerships & Channels, Ericsson

Watch the discussion with Eugene

Eugene shared Ericsson’s 5i process for innovation- how they bring new technology and solutions to the marketplace, from incubation to ideation to MVP- by starting with customer needs and challenges. Bonus, if you ever wanted to explain 5G to a five year old, Eugene has you covered - check out the video to hear his amazing explanation!

Key takeaways from Eugene:

  • Structured partner programs are what helps Ericsson drive co-creation and ultimately  volume in the market.
  • Those programs need the right tools and processes in order to be able to be successful with product adoption.

Working with Global Technology Partners, Resellers/Agents, and Global SI Partners to Deliver Whole Solutions to Customers

Trina Horner, Global Technology Alliance Director, Global Technology Partners, Strategic Partnerships, Verizon

Watch the discussion with Trina.

Trina and Chip had a lively discussion on Verizon’s 2.0 customer-focused transformation initiative and how technology, SI, and reseller partners play a role - this is truly a multi-party play with a complex ecosystem of partners. Check out the recording for some very cool 5G use case stories from Trina involving drones and holographic overlay x-rays!  Key takeaways from Trina:

  • Verizon views partners as a  “force multiplier to the business” partnering with companies making the most impact in their space- look at who is making a difference (including the emerging companies) and prioritize around customer needs and “best in class”.
  • Collaboration is critical in bringing new joint solutions to market. The partner teams add value as the orchestrator in this process, aligning product management (most important!), marketing, sales, and executives across multiple companies.
  • Joint business plans are critical to drive accountability to meeting the jointly agreed KPIs.

Powering 5G/IoT/Industry 4.0 Ecosystems with Platform, Processes & IPs

Thomas Muller, CTO, Wipro Engineering Services, Wipro
Vishy Ramaswamy, Vice President & 5G Business Head, Wipro

Watch the discussion with Thomas and Vishy.

Thomas kicked things off by talking about previous approaches to joint solution development (the “Internet bubble” times many of us remember) with tightly controlled, catalog oriented solutions that took 12+ months to get to market. He compared this static, expensive approach to the way Wipro is co-developing solutions today, using digitalization for a shared, scalable, repeatable methodology that takes weeks instead of months. (btw, this applies to all ecosystems, not just telco!)

  • Define and build the process once, then reuse with other partners, with other customers who have that need. You can increase the reach of investment dollars for a multiplier effect.
  • Trust is key. Spot and manage conflicts when you see them; have a systematic approach and a platform (like WorkSpan) to increase transparency and build trust.
  • With a digital platform like WorkSpan you can leverage integrations - connecting disparate systems across companies - for increased agility and speed.

Audience Poll Responses

We ran a few short polls during the virtual summit and wanted to share some of the really interesting 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 and what type of partner program do you manage? At 68%, most attendees lead one or more partnerships with 22% leading the entire partner organization.  Coming in at 54%, most attendees manage co-sell programs, with channel and P2P sales tying for second at 24%.
  • What type of organization are you with (or business unit if your organization provides more than one of these)? Most respondents with software vendors at 43%, with system integrators in second at 24%.
  • What challenges do you have creating differentiated solutions with partners? A majority of attendees (51%) agreed that measuring the performance of joint solutions is one of their challenges, with driving solution development process closely behind (47%).
  • What challenges do you have in scaling your partner initiatives? “Aligning go-to-market teams across companies (geographies, industries, solutions)” and “Enabling sales teams and training stakeholders in other companies” had the most responses, with 61% and 58% of attendees respectively indicating they have these challenges.
  • What are your biggest challenges working with ecosystem partners? Half of respondents responded with “Building trust relationships with partners to handle the inevitable bumps”, followed closely by 46% being challenged with automating partner processes.

Thanks for your feedback on what you would like to see in the next Ecosystem Cloud Summit-  “Ecosystem Trends” was the top choice.

Wrapping up our roundup are some inspiring words from one of our panelists:

“Be proud to partner- go forward and make it happen!”
Trina Horner,Global Technology Alliance Director, Global Technology Partners, Strategic Partnerships, Verizon

We are honored to be able to bring together this community of partner leaders on a regular basis and would love to have you featured in a session next time! If you’d like to be a panelist for the next virtual ECS in December, please reach out to me directly.

See you at the next Ecosystem Cloud Summit in December!

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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