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Ecosystem Leaders

Episode 165

January 11, 2023

#165 Keith Peckman: Ecosystem Partnership in the Financial Industry

Keith Peckman, Director Of Security Sales and Compliance Pre-Sales Engineering at Microsoft, joins Chip Rodgers on this Ecosystem Aces episode. Chip ...

Joining Chip Rodgers on this episode of Ecosystem Aces is Keith Peckman, Director - Security Sales and Compliance Pre-Sales Engineering at Microsoft.

Chip and Keith discussed the best practices for partnering within the financial industry, specifically elaborating on the following topics:

  • Microsoft's Financial Security Program
  • Building Solutions Together
  • Data Ecosystem
  • Regulations & Compliance
  • Partner Management
  • Partner Enablement

Microsoft's Financial Security Program

Microsoft's Financial Security Program started as $200 million worth of products and solutions focused on security management. Now, the company's financial security services have exploded to approximately $5 billion, with total revenue of $17 billion globally.

According to Keith, the industry is mostly made of US-based insurers and global banks looking for secure solutions for regulation and compliance.

When the program started, Keith was the sole engineer for services on pre-sale. Now, they're running a team of approximately 45 compliance field engineers supporting financial services.

Microsoft's finance security partners depend on the solutions they are targeting. Partners include industry specialists, detective response providers, integrators, licensing resellers, etc. However, Microsoft’s tightest relationships are those on the advisory side helping clients stay in compliance.

Building Solutions Together

Like in other industries, use cases are critical for finance security, specifically around the potential risks for compliance per industry or geography. Microsoft and its partners start with solving customer problems, mainly focused on streamlining tools for cost reduction.

However, what makes Microsoft's approach unique, is hiring specialists who deeply understand security. They aren't street salespeople, but instead, are engineers who understand the wants, needs, and hows of financial companies to make their services more secure.

Microsoft is also very sensitive in choosing partners involved in any products or solutions end-users receive. The company is aware that existing solutions may not be comprehensive, and a partner who understands the processes is essential.

Microsoft also varies its solutions based on the nature of the company, whether they are US-based insurers or global banks, and the operational stage in which the solution is needed.

Data Ecosystem

Financial institutions are complex organizations with data spanning across their ecosystem, and most of their data are customer and user-facing. Tech partners must go deep within the organization, understand their processes, and know where the data resides – a process that a single click on software can't realistically do.

In most cases, there's a need for tailored solutions, which include training, management, development, governance, and consulting specific to the organization.

One of Microsoft's approaches to knowing the data is to partner with the company's existing advisory partners. This way, they can be guided in understanding the company's processes while Microsoft can educate them about their offered products.

According to Keith, it all boils down to functioning inside the environment and knowing your data.

Regulations & Compliance

Government plays a huge role in regulations and compliance for financial institutions. This is critical, but solutions providers often ignore it.  

Keith shared the origin of RiskIQ. The company approached Microsoft on exchange vulnerability issues, complete with a list of companies that may benefit from the solution. In no time, Microsoft was able to create a solution, and acquired the third-party company that brought them the idea.

Keith said that this example is an indication of how Microsoft truly understands the importance of security.

Partner Management

Keith shared three crucial aspects of partner management: proper delivery of solutions, a strong understanding of how the solution will be utilized, and a strong feedback system.

He also said that support and ticketing within the ecosystem are essential so all concerns can be escalated accordingly.

It all makes sense to ensure that both the partner and software provider is doing their job because everybody succeeds when we work together.

Partner Enablement

The solutions ecosystem is broad, with different partners working on complicated problems.

Microsoft understood the need to step up on their partner engagement and enablement. Aside from their partner executives, they have field engineers working as partner managers within their ecosystem as another layer of support.

We knew that if we're going to take the next step of solution delivery, we needed to do something different.

Each field engineer is assigned to one or two key strategic partners to ensure that all accounts are tracked, solutions are driven properly, and issues are escalated. This approach creates a bevy of solutions and non-solutions experts working on the entire process.

Microsoft also has its account teams meeting with partners regularly, GPS teams tracking opportunities, and events that allow partner organizations to meet.

Wrapping Up

With his experience in finance security, Keith said it all boils down to knowing your partners, specifically their motivations, such as targets, measurements, and goals.  For Microsoft, it's all about respecting the similarities but emphasizing what needs to be done for the customers.

Competence + Integrity = Trust. This formula should be established with both partners and customers in the financial industry.

"We're in this together. Extending partners out to that conversation not only makes everything easier and faster, but it's imperative," Keith said.

Follow Keith Peckman on Linkedin to stay updated on his work at Microsoft.

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