The Best Practices Guide for Alliances and Ecosystems

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Best Practices Guide FOR AL L I A N C E A N D EC O S Y S T EM P R O F ES S IO N A L S




Contents CHAPTER 1

The new market landscape CHAPTER 2

What’s the biggest missing piece in alliance management? CHAPTER 3

The three guiding principles of effective Ecosystem Cloud

  1. Seamless alliance process
  2. Active field engagement
  3. Clear visibility and performance reporting CHAPTER 4

Unveiling the top 10 best practices for alliances 1: Operationalize joint selling 2: Source innovation from your crowd 3: Ideate, build, and launch joint solutions at scale 4: Harness the power of multiway partnering 5: Set up the pre-pipeline infrastructure 6: Achieve more bang for your MDF buck 7: Measure marketing success 8: A KPI is worth a thousand numbers 9: Map and measure the 5 value dimensions of Ecosystem Cloud 10: Setting up a shared system of record CHAPTER 5

The ecosystem-powered enterprise

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THE NEW MARKET LANDSCAPE In today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, strategic alliances and ecosystem of partners can be a company’s strongest weapon. A survey just last year showed 84 percent of global executives say ecosystems are critical to their strategy of disruption and will allow their organizations to grow in ways otherwise not possible. Yes, 84 percent―that should be a huge vote of confidence! Yet the need hasn’t translated into action from the C-Suite. The value partner organizations bring to the company is hidden from view. CEOs know it’s important, but they don’t see it in their own organizations. Alliance professionals know they drive many major wins for the company. But because they’re not able

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of global executives say ecosystems are critical to their strategy

to prove it, their efforts go unrecognized, and in turn partner organizations are low on the priority list when it comes to funding and resources. We are alliance professionals ourselves. We understand the frustration. So having worked with hundreds of customers of every organizational size, we felt compelled to create the Definitive Best Practices Guide for Alliance and Ecosystem professionals. Why? To share the best ideas from across the industry with you. And to help you and your teams get the recognition you deserve from all the hard work and contribution you make to the success of your company every day.



WHAT’S THE BIGGEST MISSING PIECE IN ALLIANCE MANAGEMENT? Spoiler: It’s not a lack of contributing value. Alliance teams drive as much as

1/3 of revenue

Alliance teams regularly drive as much as one-third of all revenue and company valuation. Despite helping bring in major deals, alliances are usually left underappreciated and underfunded compared to sales, marketing and business teams. Alliance teams don’t have a system of record or ability to prove their value. Endless spreadsheets used to manage alliance and ecosystem partner activities can’t compare to the way CRMs have been used to professionalize sales management, marketing automation software drives MQLs, and ERPs lock down business functions. Alphabet soup aside, is there any trusted system for operationalizing alliances? Now, organizations and their partner networks can share a common system for streamlining their processes, improving field engagement, and gaining visibility into relationships. Ecosystem Cloud puts alliance ROI in plain sight.

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60 - 75% of alliances fail in the first year


THE THREE GUIDING PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE ECOSYSTEM CLOUD To ensure successful alliances, organizations need to manage complex processes across company boundaries in real time. Yet today without a common system, everyone invents their own process, collects and manages different sets of data in spreadsheets, and has no effective way to reconcile and consolidate the information to see what’s actually happening across the partnership. A strong Ecosystem Cloud solution can provide that process, organization, consistency, and visibility throughout your alliance. You save time, money, and ibuprofen.

60% of alliance professionals see the evaluation of their success as a top concern

2 | Active field engagement Did you know that the majority of announced alliances fail? Between 60 and 75 percent aren’t successful in the first 12 months. That’s even though they seemingly have the right ingredients in place. This breakdown comes from broken field engagement, both with your own field teams and with those of your alliance partners. For example, an alliance might be announced, the related solutions ready to go, and the alliance teams working diligently―but no one in the field knows what’s going on. All of the common interventions and tools for connecting external and internal teams are highly manual. With more effective field engagement, alliances can really fly.

3 | Clear visibility and performance reporting A F U LL- FLE D G E D ECOS YS T E M C LO U D O FFE R S:

1 | Seamless alliance process Connecting disparate activities across a partner ecosystem can seem daunting and overwhelming. Good news: A cloud-based ecosystem solution enables well-defined business processes that help alliance organizations work more quickly and efficiently, while also holding everyone accountable. This means being able to jump on new opportunities faster, and build a consistent success rate.

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If an alliance deal closes and no one hears about it (or sees it tagged in the CRM), does it make a sound? More than 60% of alliance professionals see the evaluation of their success as a top concern.1 And not getting credit for alliance-generated opportunities is only one of the blind spots created by poor visibility. An organization and its partners will also struggle to make informed decisions because they’re routinely working with old data. Ecosystem Cloud upgrades you to real-time information sources that empower teams to make the right decisions and move quickly.



UNVEILING THE TOP 10 BEST PRACTICES FOR ALLIANCES WorkSpan picked the brains of more than 150 alliance practitioners to blueprint what really makes alliances tick. Here’s the definitive list of alliance best practices, from how to improve reporting to tips for crowdsourcing new ideas. Let’s get started.


Operationalize joint selling Joint sales are literally the ABCs of transforming marketing opportunities into revenue―the process that allows alliance organizations to Always Be Closing. Having a shared view of joint opportunities and pipeline fuels higher win rates. Clearer insight into revenue sources enables alliance organizations to answer the critical attribution question for both alliance-sourced and influenced revenue. What does comprehensive joint sales planning look like in practice? HPE was fighting an uphill battle managing joint sales with its various independent software vendor (ISV) partners. After implementing Ecosystem Cloud, they gained a real system for status tracking, with insight into partner contributions to revenue in terms of sourcing and assists. Visibility’s now as easy as A-B-C.

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Source innovation from your crowd

Ideate, build, and launch joint solutions at scale Coordinating your Build-With strategies can sometimes feel like watching a TV series where every episode ends in a cliffhanger―“what happens next?!” is all anyone can think of. Relieve the anxiety by bringing order to the chaos of creating and launching joint solutions with your partners.

Here’s the truth: your field teams are unquestionably your strongest innovation partner. We all know that Corporate HQ is where good ideas go to die! Conversely, the ideas that really stick come from field teams working with customers. You can solicit outside-in ideas for joint solutions and even marketing campaign ideas directly from teams in the field. This approach ensures an influx of new and innovative ideas to sustain your marketing and customer solution engine. One Fortune 50 software company saw the dividends from this approach when using an Ecosystem Cloudenabled recommendation engine, which identified the right solutions for each customer’s business requirements. Less guesswork, reduced legwork, and more teamwork—going outside-in is the inside track to working smarter.

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Instead of disjointed processes for packaging and publishing Joint Solutions backed by no common system of record, a robust Ecosystem Cloud delivers predictability built on joint innovation. Your business processes with Build-With partners are well-designed, broadly understood, and highly scalable. For example, SAP is using an Ecosystem Cloud solution to solicit, build, and launch joint solutions with its Global Service Integrator (GSI) partners across its entire solution portfolio globally. They’ve received over 150 joint solution ideas from their partners along with over 1,000 prospective customers for those solutions. So not only are they getting new ideas, they are now engaged in joint sales cycles with their partners to drive revenue at scale!



Harness the power of multiway partnering

Alliances in today’s world of cloud computing have dramatically changed. It’s no longer a 1-on-1 relationship with a single partner -today you’re managing go-to-market activities with 2, 3, and 4 partners on a single opportunity. Alliance relationships today have multiple levels, and each one can be a valuable path to accelerated deal velocity, as long as there’s tight alignment across partners. To that end, joint initiatives should harness the influence and expertise from all of your partners including cloud, ISV, IHV, GSI, channel, and distributors, to close business faster. End-to-end reporting throughout the network makes such collaboration really shine, with a clear look at what does and doesn’t work. A major IHV took this route with one of its cloud partners. The IHV partner leveraged the cloud vendor’s partner ecosystem to unlock markets that were previously not accessible, greatly expand their collective reach, and seize many additional business opportunities.


Set up the pre-pipeline infrastructure A strong pipeline requires an even stronger prepipeline. However, alliance managers usually have a multitude of different ways of tracking their joint sales―mostly on spreadsheets.That means alliance contributions become virtually invisible at the pre-pipeline stage. Silos across different systems, solutions, and KPIs, create a nightmare in reconciling disparate spreadsheets and then aligning the information from their respective CRM systems. A real-time joint pre-pipeline can be a catalyst to grow sales. It combines joint account planning and partner engagement by nominating joint accounts to pursue in each sales plan and joint solution.

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With this aligned approach, you can share sales plays with your partners and get a headstart on attributing alliance contributions. By deploying Ecosystem Cloud, a Tier-2 systems integrator aligned pre-pipeline opportunities with its partners, had access to new deals it never would have been involved in, and saw a 15 percent increase in pipeline acceleration.

15% increase in pipeline acceleration after Ecosystem Cloud deployment


40% of MDF funding goes unused


Achieve more bang for your MDF buck Since most alliances fail within the first year—yes that scary stat is worth repeating—it’s no surprise they also underuse their MDF funds. About 40 percent of this money goes unused. As a result, branding and marketing opportunities are underleveraged. You miss out on the opportunity to play dual roles as both a provider and consumer of funds for different motions and—at the end of the day—win more business together.

The reasons behind MDF troubles vary, but typically boil down to MDF lack troubles of consistent andtypically standard The reasons behind vary, but boil down to lack ofrecognize consistentand and take standard processes. processes. Easier MDF workflows and tools ensure partners both advantage of Easier MDF workflows and tools ensure partners both available funds without the burden of long reimbursement processes. recognize and take advantage of available funds without the burd SUSE saw the benefits of a revitalized and streamlined joint funds process when it boosted MDF utilization an eye-popping 85 percent with Ecosystem Cloud. Previously, over two-thirds of its funds were exiting the program, like a leaky pipe driving up the water bill. Doing nothing cost more than fixing the alliance processes, which the company did with a new shared system of knowledge with its IHV partners.

85% increase in MDF utilization as a result of a revitalized joint funds process

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Measure marketing success There’s no management without measurement. However, piecing together metrics poses a considerable challenge for ecosystem partners, especially for marketing. From the top to the bottom of the marketing funnel, clear metrics aren’t always easy to find. Lack of coordination on this front will lead to issues like metrics being optimized for a particular region but not for the success of the overall campaign. By implementing Ecosystem Cloud, a large ISV synced-up its marketing campaigns with its partners and vendors. Now it can see the pipeline opportunities and revenue that were generated and influenced by its joint marketing initiatives. Its campaigns have become like clockwork— dependable and predictable, and producing results everyone can read and understand.





A KPI is worth a thousand numbers The alliance funnel takes many drops en route to the “river” of closed deals and revenue. Each one of its stages requires its own KPIs for you and your strategic partners. As a whole, these KPIs span the entire flow of motions for partners, starting with “Build-With,” progressing to “Market-With,” and finally ending up at “Sell-With.” An Ecosystem Cloud enables a comprehensive KPI framework for collecting and accurately reporting on real-time metrics at each stage of the alliance funnel. Two of the world’s largest technology partners simplified both their KPI creation and reporting by uniting on the same Ecosystem Cloud. They coinnovate, co-market, and co-sell on joint initiatives.

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Map and measure the 5 value dimensions of Ecosystem Cloud Alliances often exist as one-dimensional relationships, assessed solely along the axis of revenue. If 1-D alliances seem out of step with a 3-D world, that’s because they are―and they need an upgrade to the five value dimensions of Ecosystem Cloud: Acquire New Customers / Markets Accelerate Time-to-Market

Assemble A Holistic Product

An Ecosystem Cloud lets alliance organizations reach across all of these dimensions: •

An ISV gained operational efficiencies, increasing both the marketing and sales output per dollar spend and boosting revenue by deploying Ecosystem Cloud.

Ecosystem Cloud gave a virtualization vendor the capability to penetrate previously untapped markets through strategic alliances.

An ISV leveraged Ecosystem Cloud to span and work with multiple alliance types, stakeholders, and personas at greater velocity.

Grow Revenue

Develop Trust


Setting up a shared system of record “What is truth?” might sound like a question for a philosophy seminar. But it’s an everyday concern for alliance managers and their teams. They have to wrestle with disjointed processes requiring extensive extraction and reconciliation before gaining any insight. In sharp contrast, Ecosystem Cloud provides a singular system of record for alliances. Organizations have one go-to place for all their Build-With, MarketWith & Sell-With motions, a dependable platform for engaging their field teams and those of their

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partners, and reliable real-time reporting to reveal who is performing what, and where and when it’s all happening. SAP leveraged WorkSpan as the shared system of record with all their GSI partners on their joint sales initiatives. The outcome? They were able to transform themselves into a performance-driven organization growing alliance pipeline, driving more revenue, and clearly demonstrating the value the strategic alliance organization bring to the company.



THE ECOSYSTEM-POWERED ENTERPRISE By managing your strategic alliances in WorkSpan’s Ecosystem Cloud, the shape and value of these partnerships become clear as day. The best practices for driving joint innovation, marketing, and sales can be better standardized and implemented, while end-toend business process orchestration and a shared system of record produce new efficiencies across teams and across companies. A revitalized pipeline plus real-time alliance reporting ensures there’s real, quantifiable proof of the benefits alliances brings to the company.

The final result is an ecosystem-powered enterprise. After adopting WorkSpan, alliance organizations can engage with any number of partners on projects that boost not only revenue, but other key dimensions including developing trust across your partnerships, rapid co-innovation with partners, access to new opportunities and faster time-tomarket. The Ecosystem Cloud provides the unique tools and capabilities, including business process orchestration across company boundaries, engagement at-scale, and real-time visibility into activities, KPIs, and value delivered to the business.


Join the Community ABOU T WO R KS PA N

WorkSpan is the only Ecosystem Cloud, where alliance leaders build-with, market-with & sell-with their software, hardware, OEM, system integrator, service & cloud partners. WorkSpan makes it easy to work across partner types and partner tiers to grow ecosystem value by driving joint revenue, entering new markets, accelerating time-to-market, innovating on new solutions to meet shared customer needs and developing trust across company boundaries. WorkSpan is a privately held company backed by Mayfield and is growing its network of global enterprise customers including SAP, Cisco, Dell EMC, HPE, Fujitsu, and Lenovo.

For more information, visit & follow @WorkSpan on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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