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These are questions that Chris Mancebo, the Senior Manager of Global Strategic Alliances and Cloud Service Providers at Veritas Technologies, is constantly asking himself.
Veritas often works with companies who are in their early stage of development when they are looking to pair with partners. They take the selection of a strategic partner very carefully and ensure that any potential partner is a great fit. Veritas is the leader in data protection and takes this reputation very seriously.
In the case of alignment with Microsoft, Veritas serves to bring their partner many use cases and sets of data so Microsoft can apply machine learning and fuel growth in their customer’s organizations. This relationship provides tremendous value for Microsoft, Veritas, and customers alike.
Chris joined us at Microsoft Inspire for this episode of Alliance Aces where we spoke about lessons learned, defining roles in partnerships, and the ever-important goal of alignment.
Lessons Learned Along the Way
Chris has learned that his north star should always be a laser focus on customers. He is constantly seeking to understand what customers need then drawing out what action steps need to be taken so that the two partners can be better together. Part of this strategy is identifying white space in a given market - how can we help our partner increase their speed to market?
Veritas has deep level of expertise and can create value for all 3 sides (both partners and customers). These relationships allow partners and customers alike to take advantage of what Veritas is offering and have been the lynchpin to their success.
Sometimes defining roles within an alliance or partnership can be difficult, but it really comes down to having a strong relationship with your partner. Chris and his team like to improve these relationships by doing things like easing first party preferences. With so many routes to any given market, how do you have clear and precise messaging? Veritas serves to help with some of this by stepping into that strategic advisor role.
Microsoft is a great partner for Veritas and has been since the partnership started in February of 2017. It was important right off the bat to establish a relationship, not just a strategic alliance agreement.
One of the first things they did was to align product managers from both sides. This consisted of a deep dive to see if there were any competitive areas of the business to hash out. But once these boundaries were understood, they came up with use cases to partner around and bring joint value to each other.
It’s crucial to do this type of work up front. It was not easy to get 25 people from both sides doing a deep dive into products and relationships, but that time has led to a successful relationship.
On an individual role level, many times alliance professionals hop around from organization to organization, but these individuals often have a unique point of view. They are given a 360-degree view of the entire organization and this allows them to step into new roles with a comprehensive and holistic view.
The role of the alliance professional is to quarterback many different aspects of the relationship between partners and manage these alliances.
Goal of Alignment
Alignment between partners is the most important goal you can have in an alliance.
Valuing the strength of the partnership over individual focus or accolades is an important piece of this puzzle as well. It can often mean having to sacrifice certain preferences, but if it’s done in the name of customer needs it will benefit both sides of the partnership (and the customer too!).