“In this new wave of technology, you can't do it all yourself,
you have to form alliances.”
Carlos Slim Helu
Partnering is more and more a necessity for success in technology businesses today. That said, a lot more partnerships fail than succeed. Even worse many partnerships just ‘exist’ because the companies involved do not set meaningful benchmarks by which to measure the success of otherwise of the relationship.
A lot of the challenge of creating good top-producing partnerships goes right back to the initial formation of the partnership. Partnerships should exist because together two companies can provide or deliver a much more complete solution to a marketplace than either company can by themselves. Good partnerships are characterized by the customer perceiving that the whole solution is more than the sum of the parts. This may show up in reducing the integration costs or a smoother delivery process saving the customer time, effortand money.
ZedCan can help your company in all aspects of putting together effective, productive partnerships.
These activities can include some or all of the following:
Identifying suitable partner candidates i.e.:
- Creating a profile for desirable companies with which to partner
- Surveying the eco-system to identify suitable companies.
Taking your standard company pitch and refining it so that it will resonate with the partners so identified. A clear compelling message early on can help make it easy for the potential partner to buy into the value of the partnership.
Contacting the potential partners. The initial contact with the partner can define the entire course of the partnership. Mapping out the key players in the partner company is critical at this stage.
Negotiate agreements with the partner. The right agreement will depend on many factors but it is critical that the objectives of the partnership are properly captured and that there is clear agreement on what activities and resources each company is committing to make the partnership a success.
MDSI – Mobile Data Solutions Inc.
MDSI provided an excellent enterprise software application for managing mobile workforces. However this application was only part of an overall value chain that included mobile devices, wireless networks, servers, etc. In 2000, the company decided to make available the other elements of the value chain by pre-packaging suitable devices, wireless network service, provisioning, activation etc. This required the negotiation of a number of partner agreements. In each case the partner had to be identified from a range of candidates, approached, and agreements had to be successfully negotiated.
The result was that MDSI was positioned to offer this new service to its customers. The initial customers were up and running just a few months after the decision to proceed was taken.
Motorola Wireless Data Group
Motorola had developed a great proprietary wireless data network product known as DataTAC. However as the cellular industry became more interested in offering wireless data services, the notion of open architecture took hold and this was a requirement of the CDPD (Cellular Digital Packet Data) solution. This required Motorola to radically re-work its solution to embrace both the Internet Protocol (TCP / IP) and the OSI protocol stacks. At the time Motorola did not have this technology internally available. Consequently, Motorola sought out partners that could supply elements of this technology. Partners such as Alcatel and Retix were identified and agreements were negotiated to allow the incorporation of this software in the total Motorola solution.
The result was that Motorola was one of the first vendors to deliver a fully functioning CDPD infrastructure solution. This led to multi-million dollar sales to cellular companies such as Sprint Cellular.
TrueContext has products that are positioned against small and medium sized enterprise customers. In order to fully capitalize on the opportunity, TrueContext realized that it will be critical to have a well defined partnering strategy.
This strategy was by necessity multi-dimensioned. Success in certain vertical markets will depend on partnering with the right ISV. There is further opportunity in the SME space for providing solutions by partnering with companies that work across multiple vertical markets. Partnerships with wireless network operators will bring access to a large number of customers while leveraging the broad sales forces and brand of the carriers. Lastly Value Added Resellers will enable the TrueContext products to be delivered and supported by knowledgeable and often local resources.
The clear definition of this strategy allowed TrueContext management to properly assign appropriate resources. This in turn will enable TrueContext to maximize its success in the coming years.