Strategic Partnerships: Offering Business Solutions for Tech Leaders
By: Michael Latchford | 03/23/2018
In this time of digital transformation, IT decision-makers (ITDMs) are looking for solutions to business problems, not just a single tool. This is where alliances and partnerships among vendors can make solutions stand out during the tech purchase process. According to our 2017 Role & Influence of the Technology Decision-Maker research, 90% of ITDMs work with vendors that are part of a partnership (alliances, channel partners, etc.) – and this increases to 95% for enterprise organizations (1,000+ employees). As companies today have increased pressure to accelerate digitally and create new sources of innovation, knowing that their prospective solutions can easily integrate due to vendor partnerships removes a significant amount of stress associated with the transformation. C-level executives also understand the importance of strategic partnerships and the appeal they have on customers – 17% of C-level executives say that identifying opportunities for growth, including M&A, joint ventures and alliances is the most important topic on boardroom agendas over the next 6 months1.
Tech leaders also report that 27% of their IT strategy/roadmap is driven by responding to external events (competitive threats, market changes, customer requests, etc.). Alliances have proven to help their customers in these competitive situations and keep their businesses top of mind. Examples of successful partnerships that provide considerable value to their customers include Citrix/Microsoft and Google/Salesforce. The strategic partnerships enable these partners to provide complete solutions that aim to solve the business and IT challenges of their customers. Citrix and Microsoft have been partnering for over 25 years, which has led to secure, scalable and efficient enterprise software and services. The Google and Salesforce partnership is more recent, beginning in November of 2017, and delivers integration between Salesforce and Google Analytics to deliver smarter, more collaborative experiences to their customers. Technology is an area where partnerships are thriving. For example, Cognizant has formed partnerships and strategic alliances with 35 organizations according to their website. In today’s competitive and fast-moving tech environment, partners are widely used to compliment organizations’ own offerings and are heavily relied upon to drive revenue.
Due to their expertise and proven ability to organization’s success, 40% of ITDMs say that the involvement with an alliance partner makes a vendor’s offerings more attractive when evaluating a solution for purchase. The next question is – “are these partner alliances considered strategic partners?” The answer is yes. Overall, 58% of ITDMs say that partner alliances could be considered a strategic vendor; however, this does not mean that 42% believe they cannot be. Only 16% of ITDMs say “no” while 26% are still a little unsure. Calling a company a strategic vendor varies significantly by company size as 65% of enterprises say partner alliances can be considered strategic vendors, and only 54% of SMBs agree (a significant percentage of SMBs are unsure). In order to become a strategic partner, tech vendors must be aware of the factors tech leaders value. IDG’s 2017 Customer Engagement research finds that the key attributes to becoming a strategic partner include:
- Customer service/response time – 64%
- Ability to understand my business goals and objectives – 60%
- Post-sales support and services – 58%
- Long-term viability of company – 56%
- Knowledge of their product portfolio – 53%
- Insight and expertise on technology – 46%
Check out IDG’s Global Partner Solutions to learn how to implement these practices into your marketing strategy.
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1EY, “Global Capital Confidence Barometer – 16th Edition,” April 24, 2017 (eMarketer)