In the modern business environment, end users across the spectrum need rapid business solutions tailored to their industry. Expertise, functionality, maintenance and often times customization, are all necessary components of these solutions.
Creating such a wide variety of dynamic applications is nearly impossible for any one company.
Alliances, then, become vital. Take a technically sound platform, add an alliance network of industry-specific domain-level experts. Then, within that ecosystem, you can drive dynamic solutions that can be developed rapidly, productized, and maintained for the end-user.
How do we know? We asked Drew Quinlan, VP of Strategic Alliances for IoT at PTC. Drew leads the strategy and execution team responsible for expanding the functionality and capabilities of PTC’s ThingWorx IoT platform. He joined us on our most recent Alliance Aces Podcast to share how he develops alliances within PTC’s network and constantly expands the functionality of their IoT platform.
Why ecosystems matter.
PTC’s ThingWorx is a rapid application development environment and associated network geared towards industrial IOT. Drew is responsible for two teams at PTC, one of which recruits and integrates partner products into the ThingWorx platform. The goal? Drew’s team wants to maintain a pioneering platform in which PTC’s alliances are rapidly creating a variety of enterprise-grade industry-specific solutions to a wide customer base.
With ever-expanding functionality on the ThingWorx platform, Drew’s team is hitting the mark — and it’s all about value for the end customer.
Drew says that the key is the alliances. It’s nearly impossible to be successful without a large ecosystem of very active, very varied partners.
The need for rapid deployment within platform-based ecosystems.
In today’s world, you have to consider the end customer and their dynamic, ever-changing needs. Platforms attempt to solve these needs by providing a way in which solutions can be quickly and easily developed.
The deployment of the platform is key: Creating a world-class technology platform simply isn’t enough for the the modern business world. Failure at the deployment piece is why a variety of companies who have provided amazing platforms have come and gone.
The four types of partnerships in a platform ecosystem.
As a platform provider, you’re creating the environment. The implementation partners are the ones who are creating the building blocks, and deploying plus maintaining the solutions themselves.
Drew identified four types of implementation partnerships in a platform ecosystem:
- Regional or global SIs: They are configuring, customizing, and deploying the ultimate solution.
- ISV partners: These typically have experience as SIs, but they are experts at identifying patterns when a specific solutions is being created again and again. So, these type of partners productize that solution to extend the overall functionality of the platform. Essentially, products that can be installed versus custom builds.
- A solution provider: Hybrid SI, possibly a reseller. A company in this category will have deep domain-level understanding of a highly specific industry, and they will be an expert at putting together building blocks to create an end-user solution. For instance — at PTC, Drew works with an alliance partner who is an expert within oil and gas, specifically with factory remote monitoring and maintenance. This alliance partner doesn’t actually build the solutions themselves, but they have deep understanding of the industry, and they stitch together the hardware and software from other alliances to provide solutions.
4. Standard reseller partners: Resell partners fill a much needed space, particularly in the global marketplace, niche industries, and especially in the government contract space. Government contracts are difficult to navigate, and it’s easier to jump on board with a pre-existing contract.
Last thought: Partners need to see a path to ROI.
Before joining an ecosystem, alliance partners will consider the strength of the platform and its technical capabilities. Furthermore, they will take into account the credibility of you as a company.
SaaS companies that decide to open up and create — or become the platform upon which these solutions are built — do this well because they already have credibility, as well as a customer or “install” base. With that customer base, they attract the ISVs and SIs, since they can drive exposure into those different groups. Those ISVs and SIs see a clear path to ROI.
Within platform-based alliances, as in all business, the path to ROI is paramount. The companies that are providing such an environment will ultimately attract the quality alliances necessary to drive powerful customer solutions across industries.
Check out other Alliance Podcasts here.
To contact the host, Chip Rodgers, with topic ideas, suggest a guest, or join the conversation about alliances, he can be reached by: