Businesses have been doing some form of partnering for decades, but as companies seek to modernize and turn their organizations into digital enterprises, partnering has become more important than ever. With all the different technologies and systems that have to integrate, digital transformation can’t happen unless all parties are in sync and cooperating with one another.
In today’s business environment, true partnering means that all parties in the relationship are tightly aligned to the core. We’ve all read something similar to that before – it’s nearly cliché, but in this case it’s a real and absolutely critical distinction. When they step into a room, nobody should care if the person wears a badge from the global systems integrator (GSI), technology partner or the enterprise customer — they should all be on the same page working towards the same goal: delighting customers.
Partnering starts with the executive suites of all the parties fully on board and headed in the same strategic direction. It then continues through every part of the organization, where business partners work on joint operating plans, joint marketing campaigns and joint software and app development projects.
Here are five important trends we see as GSIs, technology partners and enterprise customers look to grow their businesses in the 2020s.
1. Deeper relationships. As these deeper business relationships develop in the 2020s, tech partners, GSIs and enterprise customers will operate in unison, seamlessly sharing information and jointly developing solutions designed to solve end-user customer issues. For example, in an IDC FutureScape report focused on Australia, the research group predicts that by 2022, empathy among brands and for customers will drive ecosystem collaboration and co-innovation among partners and competitors, which will drive 20 percent of the collective growth in customer lifetime value.
Strategic partners will develop a more cooperative relationship at all stages of the customer lifecycle, from recognizing an opportunity, to sales, developing a solution, delivering that solution, and finally, managing the long-term customer relationship. On the back-end, there will be more joint training between partners in areas such as sales, including becoming conversant in the products and services that each partner delivers.
Enterprise customers benefit from these deeper partnerships by having everyone working together as a single entity throughout the entire end-user customer lifecycle.
2. Vertical offerings. Once key strategic partnerships are established, the partner teams can jointly develop full-featured solutions tailored to vertical industries. If gaps appear, a GSI must demonstrate that they can assemble the right people and get them working together on a project. For example, at a medical services provider, the GSI may have a strong relationship with the CIO or CTO, but it’s the niche medical technology partner that has worked closely with the chief medical officer and all the nurse and physician teams over the years. Enterprise customers look for GSIs that can identity the right players and get them in a room where they can talk through the challenges and meet the customer’s goals.
3. Data-driven decisions. Enterprise customers will use data analytics to make decisions on the GSIs and technology companies with which to partner. These global businesses are looking for the technology processes and solutions that deliver efficiencies and the most profitability. They also look for industry-specific customer success stories in which the GSIs and technology partners have a proven track record working together and can show clear metrics to back up their use cases.
4. Agility. It’s likely that many enterprise customers already have preferred technology partners in areas such as cloud services, ERP, CRM, and IT security. GSIs must be agile enough to pivot quickly, responding to customer preferences and established relationships. They must demonstrate that they can match the right partner for each specific project and be ready to respond to an enterprise customer’s mission critical issues – whether those issues are already identified or lurking around the corner. Partnering allows the GSI the agility and speed to respond to the customer, in many cases, faster than through M&A activity or developing a new capability in-house.
5. Continuous monitoring. The GSI must be on top of all of the new features and upgrades that its technology partners develop. An enterprise that works with a GSI shouldn’t have to keep up with all of the tech upgrade cycles, and should never worry about missing out on important new capabilities. The integrator will understand the new features and benefits coming from tech partners, and also have unique insight into the enterprise customer’s environment so it can make informed recommendations as to whether an upgrade to a new release makes good business sense.
Partnering trends deliver business benefits
With the deeper integration between GSIs, technology partners and enterprise customers, important global businesses will reduce costs, make their customers more efficient and successfully transform their organizations, becoming digital enterprises that can compete and thrive in the 2020s and beyond.