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Turn Your Partner Channel into a Solutions Factory By Andy Lauta In an earlier article, I talked about how enterprise Cloud, SaaS and PaaS vendors could optimize their go-to-market strategy using Solutions. Of course, it’s not trivial for a technology vendor to implement a Solutions-oriented go-to-market approach. For one thing there are often dozens, if not hundreds, of different ways customers can apply a given Cloud offering within Solutions that vary by industry, use case, company size, geography and more. It’s virtually impossible for even the largest vendors to develop a deep enough understanding of customer environments across the many segment permutations in order to deliver Solutions at scale. At the same time, remember that moving to the Cloud is ...

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Optimize your Go-To-Market through Solutions By Andy Lauta Too often enterprise Cloud, SaaS and PaaS vendors take an “inside-out” approach to their go-to-market strategy. By “inside-out” I mean the focus tends to be on their own offerings and the associated features and benefits – which become the focal point of their value proposition, messaging and go-to-market strategy. The problem with an “inside-out” approach is customers don’t think that way at all. Customers think about business challenges and look for ways to get things done faster, reduce costs, and create competitive advantage. To a customer, technology is simply a tool that helps them achieve desired business outcomes. So, when vendors take an “inside-out” approach, they are, by default, leaving it up ...

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2: Partnering Executives: Out of the Cheap Seats, Into the C-Suite w/ Allan Adler standard

It was Allan’s pleasure to be featured on WorkSpan’s Alliance Ace Podcast talking about how to drive Chief Partnering Officer into the C-suite. Click anywhere on this article to listen to the Podcast. Partnerships can drive 30 percent of enterprise revenue. Yet, so many partnerships fail, leaving trillions of dollars left untapped. While CEOs and other executives believe in the value of alliances, they often the lack the confidence partnering will provide a true ROI. So, partnering executives find themselves relegated to the cheap seats, away from the C-Suite table, and trillions of dollars are left tapped. Allan Adler, managing partner at Digital Bridge Partners, joined us today to help solve this problem, and, hopefully, get back some of those ...

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Transforming Channel Models for Cloud Success – Part 1 of a Series standard

by Allan Adler By now, most of our clients have adopted a cloud-first channel and partnering model and supporting program. In many cases, this has involved taking an existing on-premise partner engagement model and tuning it for cloud and incorporating cloud pricing and licensing, cloud compensation, and associated enablement. The challenge for many of these companies has been moving beyond a repackaged on-premise model to a totally transformed and cloud-enabled partnering program that really drives customer lifetime value.  This requires companies to align the partner strategy and program with the end-to-end cloud customer journey, including: Acquisition – Identification, consideration and selection of a cloud solution. Adoption – Subscription, implementation and onboarding of the cloud solution. Value Realization – Utilization and ...

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Strategic Alliances Need to Be Managed Strategically standard

While strategic alliances are acknowledged to be an increasingly important driver of revenue growth for many corporations, it’s ironic to observe just how non-strategic alliances management and partnering more generally is as a corporate discipline. Why does this matter? It’s widely believed that 30% of enterprise revenue is tied to strategic alliances and that number has been growing steadily over the last few years.  A recent study by IBM found that 82% of business leaders believe partnerships will be a prime vehicle for business growth. Alliances are more important than ever because emerging technologies, new commercial, social, and business models elevate the role and importance of ecosystems and strategic partnerships in creating value.  Start with the technology building blocks that are the foundation of digital transformation ...

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Partnership by Spreadsheet standard

In the absence of good data, we look to trusted systems of record to see if we can’t put together a story regarding partnership success. CRM or PRM (Partner Relationship Management) systems, deal registration, or marketing automation tools – we built these systems to keep track of our sales and marketing activities, right? While they do work on one or the other side of the partnership, we use spreadsheets because we have to connect two different companies’ systems together to find a single source of the truth, or what we call a single pane of glass for managing the partnership. But partnerships that are strategic are not single threaded; going to market with partners in 3D means that we’re focusing ...

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Partner Engagement Technologies – Unravelling The Strategic Partner Go-to-Market Catch-22 standard

Despite billions of dollars flowing through strategic partner go-to-market initiatives, the integration of go-to-market processes between partners continues to be problematic. Companies can’t effectively assess cause and effect or make decisions about scaling investment because there aren’t effective means for tracking end-to-end ROI.  As a result, leaders managing these partnerships are often frustrated by their inability to gain sufficient political and financial capital to drive enterprise change with strategic partners. Managing strategic alliances is a complex process.  It cuts across marketing, sales, development, finance, legal, and other enterprise processes and unlike managing a direct sales organization, involves working with partners’ systems which sit outside enterprise firewalls. The combination of disparate processes interacting with a multitude of third-party companies makes partner management goals (orchestration, operationalization, visibility, accountability, ...

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Mapping Out Your Business Innovation standard

Take it from those who’ve been on the front line of digital transformation: it is important for CIOs to develop a roadmap for Digital Business Innovation. Certain stages are important precursors for others.   A number of key success factors accelerate the maturity curve, while many common pitfalls stall progress.  CIOs need to understand their organization’s unique maturity model and take an active role in managing it. Transformation is a Journey Successful, efficient journeys, including digital transformation journeys, require clear, sequential roadmaps.  In fact, strategic roadmaps can deliver measurable improvements in digital transformation results. CIOs needing to (re)create their roadmap can use the Digital Business Innovation framework developed by SAP and Digital Bridge Partners, and based in part on research by the Economist ...

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On Platform Strategy: The Engagement Platform standard

As we move from Program to Platform we move from static to dynamic ecosystems.  If you look at SF AppExhange as an example of an engagement platform you see some interesting things happening: It’s not organized by partner types but rather by domains (functional and industry) around which customers and partners come together (this is the notion of value and supply chains coming together dynamically). Partners can share their competencies across multiple domains without getting lost in what kind of partner they are– VAR, SI, ISV, etc. The platform is designed to create commerce (where customers and partners come together)– rather than being a place where a partner picks a track and signs a contract– or an addendum if they ...

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Masterminding a Platform Strategy standard

A platform-based business model is fundamental to any digital business strategy, as it drives the innovation model, creates an environment for collaboration, and enables ecosystem value creation. It is incumbent on CIOs to lead delivery of the right platform business model and tools to support enterprise-wide transformation. This transformation includes rethinking the business model, technology infrastructure, and ecosystem. The CIO plays a critical role in delivering the platform for their organization. In many cases they could be called the Chief Platform Officer. This is particularly true because: The platform is based on technology infrastructure, is cross-organizational, and extends beyond enterprise boundaries. Usually, no one but the CIO understands the enterprise-wide technical systems and partnerships critical to successful platform leadership. Platform ...

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Parsing the New Platform Paradigm standard

Platform-based business models enable companies to connect to and leverage deep and rich contextual data about what is happening in their value chain at ever-increasing speeds. The focus of value creation shifts from extracting value from the hard assets and business processes that companies control and leverage, to analyzing data from and about those assets and business processes—all of which can yield innovation based on insight as shown in the illustration below. Platform-based businesses represent 3 out of the top 5 companies based on market cap and 7 of the top 10 unicorns. By 2018, IDC predicts that more than 50% of large companies and more than 80% of companies with advanced DT strategies will create and/or partner with industry ...

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Will IT Find Relevance In The Race For Digital Transformation? standard

Paul Kurchina of America’s SAP Users Group (ASUG) wrote an excellent blog about Allan’s recent webinar on IT relevance, featuring four key ways IT can leverage its unique position to drive innovation and business value. Here’s a snippet: Success in today’s digital marketplace relies on both a vision for business model innovation and the delivery of effective digital innovations that bring agile, collaborative, and portfolio-based processes. But there’s a problem: Nearly half (45%) of companies worldwide do not consider digital transformation as a board-level concern. They would rather sit on the fence and wait for a competitor to make the first move and then emulate them. Undoubtedly, those who subscribe to this mindset are doomed to be disrupted over the coming years – and it ...

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Leading The Possible And The Digital Business CIO standard

“IT has special skills to bring to the conversation. The traditional relationship of IT being an internal supplier to the business still exists, yes, but a new role is emerging rapidly, and that’s as a leader in wider conversations in the business about how we, as an organization, combine the digital technologies available and the innovative ideas that we have to drive customer and product innovation.”  -Klas Bendrik, CIO at Volvo Cars Part six of a six-blog series we created with SAP based on Economist Intelligence Unit research of over 800 CIOs throughout the world.

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IT/Business Relevance standard

Successful digital transformation relies on both a strong strategy for transformation and the organizational ability to drive innovation. Although digital transformation is at an early stage in many organizations, it is fundamentally changing the way value is created. Digital value creation is moving from traditional assets to value derived from information about those assets—digitally-enabled efficiencies to digitally-driven revenues. Success relies on both a strategy for business model transformation- a vision for what to do in the face of digital disruption, and the execution of effective digital business innovations- including agile, collaborative, and portfolio-based processes Increase IT’s business relevance by leveraging innovation in these four areas: Product/Market fit, Problem/Solution Fit, Efficiency, and Driving Demand IT must partner early & iterate cross-functionally by finding ...

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Innovation and The Digital Business CIO standard

Most CIOs and business leaders recognize that innovation is what allows organizations to respond to new digital business opportunities. It enables companies to create enterprise value at higher digitally-driven multiples, outperform competition, and achieve faster and more profitable growth. However, unlocking this value requires organizations to change how they think about innovation, moving away from models based on business silos and three-year plans, to more collaborative, agile, and lean approaches. Given the importance of IT in helping lead enterprise-wide digital transformation, the CIO needs to take an innovation leadership role, providing expertise and capabilities to support business outcome-based growth and performance improvement. In the recent study, Digitising IT, SAP worked with the Economist Intelligence Unit, with input from Digital Bridge Partners, ...

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Collaboration, Agility and the Digital Business CIO standard

In today’s business climate organizations are under pressure to deliver digitally enabled and digitally driven performance improvement and growth. In order to address these opportunities and transform, innovate, and rapidly deliver digital business outcomes, companies must react to new information and insight in real time and decrease time from ideation to implementation. CIOs will play an essential role in this process. To be effective, they must engage and partner with their LOB and CXO peers, and adopt collaborative and agile approaches to innovation, including creative problem solving, opportunity identification, and solution ideation methodologies, and agile, lean development processes which speed up time to value and time to scale. According to the VersionOne 9th annual State of Agile Survey, agile practitioners ...

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The CIO Digital Business Imperative standard

Digital Transformation is the primary driver of the 4th industrial revolution. However, in many organizations digital business has only just begun to change the way value is created, from a focus on the control of hard assets to value derived from information about those assets. Real-time insight into the business network– including suppliers, business processes, and customers– is increasing operating velocity and allowing companies to be more agile and innovative, while at the same time blurring industry lines, lowering barriers to entry, and allowing new players to disrupt. Realizing the benefits of digital business requires a paradigm shift in how companies deliver value, moving from driving efficiencies and creating opportunity in siloed functional domains to driving agile innovation cross-functionally, transforming ...

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America’s SAP User Group (ASUG) Digital Transformation Roadmap: Are You Ready for the Journey? standard

ASUG’s Digital Transformation Perspective white paper does a great job charting the landscape for SAP customers seeking to understand digital drivers, transformation themes, and business model implications, while also giving recommendations on where and how to add value to avoid disruption. The scope, depth and size of the change will be profound. No business, regardless of industry, will remain materially unchanged by the combinatorial forces of mobile, social, cloud, and analytics, and their impact on business models, business process, and people inside and outside of enterprise firewalls. Companies must, as ASUG points out: Modernize and simplify their technology landscapes Leverage the cloud to create agility through best practices and shared services Think outside the box with design thinking and like-minded approaches ...

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The Time for Real-Time Business is Now standard

A recent Cisco study predicted that 4 in 10 incumbents in every industry will be disrupted by 2020.  That’s a lot.  It’s safe to assume the disrupters will be “born in the data” start-ups like Uber and AirBnB who aren’t burdened by old-fashioned business models.  The incumbent companies that do manage to survive will need to adapt to a totally different operating and business model landscape built on running their businesses in an agile and real-time manner and making decisions with a 360-degree view of historic, current, and predictive data – “LIVE Businesses”. Today, large enterprises have troves of data that define every element of the billions of interactions across the hundreds of silos that define a global enterprise.  This data, ...

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Digitizing IT- Allan Adler’s Article Today in the Guardian standard

In a new study entitled Digitizing IT (registration required), SAP worked with the Economist Intelligence Unit to survey more than 800 C-level business and IT leaders at major international organizations about the opportunities and challenges associated with new digital business creation and transformation. Read Allan’s blog about the study in the Guardian, which includes a video of Allan and other top IT influencers at SAP’s Sapphire NOW Conference giving their take on the survey.

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Platform Partner Program Design standard

Any company that has built and/or is delivering a PaaS offering, or is contemplating standing up an Internet of Things or other business network (value and supply chain) platform, it is critical to consider not just the technology dimensions of this effort, but also how it affects, and/or requires a tailored partner program.  The practicalities suggest that platforms change the way historical partnerships are viewed  For tech companies, go to market partnerships are nothing new. For industrial companies they represent an entirely new requirement.  For both, they will require new approaches to the partner lifecycle, from partner segmentation, identification, and engagement, through to enablement, support, and management. For a start, partner roles change in a platform model, and are no ...

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How to Make Partner-Led GTM (Channel Management) Agile standard

Operating an Agile Channel Management model is essential in today’s business climate for any company with a partner-led GTM strategy.  This includes: Software, hardware, and/or services vendors Distributors and others that rely on a one or two-tier channel Any company in the process of building out a new platform-based ecosystem – such as GE or other industrial players trying to create an industry platform. Why is this critical? In today’s market, companies must continually innovate and innovation requires companies to be agile in every way – to be the first company to delight the customer, to adjust quickly to new competition or market forces, and to have a team that can continuously learn and succeed through collaboration.  Agile, regardless of domain, is about 4 core ...

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Innovation Culture and Digital Business standard

In a recent blog, we discussed Humanity and the Law of Hyperconnection and concluded that being increasingly connected to people, places and things will require greater mindfulness and self-awareness so we can operate from what is true and authentic within each of us.  We ended speaking briefly to the organizational imperative to be empathetic to the humans within and outside our corporate walls. I’d like to take the organizational imperative to focus on the human factor to the next level.  It’s not just a good HR idea to support employees, partners, and customers by being sensitive to peoples’ need for meaningful, ‘truly’ connected experiences in a hyper— often disconnected— world, but it might be the ticket to using digital as a way of ...

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Demystifying Digital Transformation standard

Are you getting burned out over the endless hype that is Digital Transformation and its attendant terrors: is your business being Ubered, will you be swallowed by the Digital Tsunami, are you pursuing data-driven business models, etc.? Beneath the hype are some core questions about what this Digital Business phenomenon really means to executives, their businesses, and entire – yes, reconstituted – industries. Here at Digital Bridge Partners, we’ve been demystifying the what, why and how of Digital Business Innovation by examining the ways digital is changing the axis of competition and value creation from what we call digitally-enabled value creation to digitally-driven value creation. As the graphic indicates, digitally-enabled value creation pertains to digital acting upon traditional physical elements (basically ...

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Finding Enterprise Value in Hyperconnection standard

Last week we responded to a great Economist article about how Moore’s law– that overall processing power for computers doubles every two years– is slowing. Now SW algorithms and deep learning, the connected cloud and specialized chips embedded in the cloud are what are increasing computational power. A new “Law of Hyperconnection” states that overall network performance doubles every 2 years.  According to Digital Universe that’s how often the world’s data is doubling, so that seems to work. This law gets really exciting  when we start seeing the financial value of all those doubling connections. McKinsey recently calculated that interoperability will drive 40-60 percent of value created by IoT– that’s  $1.5 to 6.7 trillion by 2025. That’s a lot of value ...

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Humanity and the Law of Hyperconnection image

In a recent blog post we introduced “The Law of Hyperconnection,” which states that overall network performance will double every 2 years—a riff off Moore’s Law, which no longer works or matters that much in a networked-focused vs. device-focused world. We opined that it’s the relationship of data, stuff, people and processes that powers the value equation of the Law of Hyperconnection.  Presumably the value accrues to all sides of the network – companies who make stuff, people who consume it and everyone in between. But what happens to our individual and collective humanity when the data in the known universe doubles every 24 months and increasingly EVERYTHING is digitized?  Pay attention to what Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon are up to with the ...

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Hyperconnection and the Future of Computing standard

A great article in the Economist on March 12th, “After Moore’s law: The Future of Computing,” got me thinking. According to Moore’s Law, “processing power doubles roughly every two years as smaller transistors are packed ever more tightly onto silicon wafers.” However, this rate, consistent for the last 50 years, has now slowed down to every 2.5 years. The author says that computational progress will not actually slow, but come increasingly from improved algorithms and deep learning, the connected cloud, and access to specialized chips embedded in the cloud. The Economist forgot to name the revised law, so I’m calling it The Law of Hyperconnection. According to the Law of Hyperconnection, overall network performance doubles every 2 years; according to ...

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Digital Business Innovation, Actually standard

If you are trying to get your head around the meaning of digital transformation, one of the first steps is distinguishing between a tool and the use of the tool. It’s obvious that digital transformation must include and be defined by digital tools, data, and experiences. But, a common trap is to restrict the transformation to digital, when in fact, transformation is not about digital, it’s about business. That’s why we like to use the term digital business innovation instead of digital transformation to describe what CIOs need to drive now. Digital business innovation is the use of digital foundations- pillars, processes, and tools- to transform how businesses create value. The digital opportunities and threats that business leaders face today demand ...

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Digital Transformation- The CIO Moment standard

In Darrell Rigby’s article last week in Harvard Business Review, “Two Digital Myths That Trip Up the C-Suite,” he debunks the idea that “every individual or organizational unit must be self-sufficient in digital technologies” and that LoB decision makers need to develop their own digital infrastructure. His argument against this approach is based primarily on the “shadow IT” problem, and he highlights the range of negative impacts shadow IT can have. He then says that a more effective strategy for digital infrastructure creation is structured around team-based, agile innovation and he highlights a range of examples where this has been successful. We agree strongly with his proposed approach, but for different reasons. First we don’t believe that the fundamental problem ...

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The sweet spot for CIO focus today standard

In our recent client work, we’ve developed a maturity model for innovation within digital transformation. We feel two stages in the maturity model represent a sweet spot for CIO focus: Conviction: Solid examples of how digital transformation contributes to the bottom line, as well as the implications of doing nothing. Capability: Providing internal business partners with the infrastructure required to develop and deliver pilot projects, including both partner and technical resources. CIOs should focus on the following questions to accelerate conviction and drive pilot project success: How can we, within the CIO organization, act as an agile catalyst of change at the micro and macro levels to bring about this transformation? Are we prioritizing the discovery of new sources of ...

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Digital Strategy In Context standard

For many years Digital Bridge Partners has been focused on Enterprise Digital Transformation. Our perspective is deeply rooted in looking at how “Digital” has and will create new operating and business models (in many cases new industries) and transform everything about an incumbent business. We’ve learned in the process how difficult it is for incumbents to actually make change and compete. Our work has focused on examining the market forces, operational change, technology impact, and business model transformations required, and trying to help the organizations (Fortune 500 to start ups) understand how to operate successfully in the new environment. Some of our past projects include: Telecom Helping clients understand and respond to the challenge posed to the Yellow Pages business ...

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Why partnering is critical to Chief Digital Officer success standard

In the media crush around digital transformation, much has been said about the rise of the Chief Digital Officer. A Constellation Research Report describes the importance and role of CDOs as being critical to: Designing new experiences and business models Developing a digital culture Applying new technologies to existing infrastructure Moving from gut- to data-driven decisions

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New IT Channel Ecosystem standard

Channel roles are changing and no longer as black and white as they used to be, eg ISV, SI, LOB Consultant, Reseller etc. These companies are taking on blended functions, including resale, development, LOB consulting, systems consulting, implementation etc. Most vendor partner programs don’t address the channel’s needs for more flexible engagement. The stakes are high as it is now forecasted that 80% of vendor channel contribution will come from hybrid partners who embrace third platform as well as on-premise solutions and from born-in-the-cloud partners who have no or very limited connection to the legacy business that drove second platform businesses. These evolving and new partners do not want to work with inflexible, top-down, prescriptive programs but are increasingly demanding ...

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Digital Transformation and Partner Networks standard

Digital disruption is breaking apart traditional business models and forcing companies to adapt. Partner networks will be crucial strategic levers in the new landscape, however they will need to evolve to be more agile, flexible, and less hierarchical, moving from a “Program” to a “Platform” approach. In our point of view deck below, we lay out some of the key building blocks we see for this new architecture and pose a series of questions that companies will need to consider as they evaluate the implications on their own business networks. Click the image above to open our point of view deck

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2015 – The Year of Channel Transformation standard

2015 will be the year in which most major on prem vendors really begin to drive out their cloud channel transformation programs.   The two poles of the transformation are Iaas where the transformation will be lead by HP, IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, and Vmware who all have on-prem channels that need to shift; and in Saas by Oracle, SAP, Microsoft who have a similar need to shift from on-prem to on-demand. Many have begun on this journey, but real scale will be achieved in 2015.   Microsoft is probably ahead of the curve in this regard, and they have been working with their partners for a few years now in helping them migrate their business models: But this year the steady stream ...

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Why is Cloud so Darn Hard for Resellers and Vendors? standard

Right about now, most “born in the cloud” resellers and vendors are smiling to themselves.  Especially when they look at resellers and vendors who grew up in the client/server era and are finding it so hard to embrace the new business and operating models that cloud demands – In many cases requiring a complete re-design and often starting-up from scratch for success. It reflects in many ways the same challenges that people born before 1985 faced when dealing with the Internet, and the change is just as dramatic. With Cloud we are at a new tipping point. In a prior blog, we wrote about the hybrid cloud pivot and why that’s hard.  Selling true cloud, e.g.  multi-tenant, public cloud SaaS ...

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Why Channel Management Sucks standard

Despite trillions of $s flowing through indirect partnerships (including marketing, sales, and support channels across the entire end-user experience for tech vendors), the process of effectively extending cross-functional enterprise processes to build superior business partnerships is broken and manual. Enterprises cannot calculate cause and effect relationships between their investments in business partnerships and the resulting enterprise value achieved. Executives responsible for managing these partnerships are therefore marginalized and lack enterprise political and financial capital. The processes needed to manage business partnerships cut across marketing, sales, enablement, finance, legal, support and other enterprise processes and involve working with third-parties (and their employees), aka the channel, who are outside of the enterprise command and control governance (unlike a direct sales organization). The combination ...

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Thoughts on Crossing the Chasm standard

In a recent blog  post Geoff Moore makes the case that the Crossing the Chasm Model is still relevant in the 3rd Platform, Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) era. At Channel Cloud Consulting we agree that the Whole Product and Business Ecosystem components continue to be highly relevant.  However we believe that the dynamics of creating an offering and establishing the required go to market ecosystem have changed so profoundly that we might need to revise the way we think of and label these pillars.In today’s marketplace, the concept of a whole product has become far more complex and dynamic.  The Whole Product today needs to take into account Component Services and the Platform(s) that link these services. Take as ...

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Forget About Public Cloud, Hybrid Cloud is Where the Real Game of Thrones is Being Played standard

Recent press has focused on the battle between Google and Amazon for domination of Cloud services, with Microsoft positioned as the third place challenger.  This picture may well be true for Public cloud services, but it ignores the huge market for Hybrid cloud that is arguably where the bulk of enterprise revenues are going.  And this arena is dominated by companies such as HP, IBM, Microsoft and VMware. All of our recent research points to hybrid as the main area where enterprise buyers are making their investments, particularly taking into account the fact that most private cloud is extended through a hybrid model.  In a recent Channel Cloud consulting survey of more than 350 executives, directors and managers in companies ...

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The Hybrid Cloud Pivot standard

When it comes to Enterprise Cloud Computing trends, Hybrid Cloud increasingly appears to be the inevitable destination for most future IT business and technical topologies. In spite of the inexorable march toward Public Cloud, IaaS, and multi-tenant SaaS, two things are widely accepted: Many enterprise workloads will remain either within the data center or operating as a single-tenant instance in a private cloud (managed in-house or outsourced). Most enterprises will deploy multiple clouds running on multiple providers across public and private IaaS, SaaS, PaaS, etc. This leaves most IT vendors and most of the channel that they work with at a critical inflection point.  Offerings MUST now incorporate three key stages which build on each other: Based on what we’re ...

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Vertical Industry Platforms – Importance of Vision Alignment standard

In a recent benchmarking study looking at companies exploring vertical industry technology platforms that leverage the power of cloud (XaaS) & Big Data to transform existing value and supply chains and change the axes of competition, we identified a range of key criteria that helped to define market success, including: Vision and Objectives Nature of the offering Organizational Context Marketplace Economics Our work covered a diverse range of industries from financial services, building automation, health care, commerical aviation, automotive to name a few.  Across each of these industries and examples we noticed a number of common themes. Most successful companies have developed a clear view of, and commitment to, their vision for the platform and what it represented for the ...

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Vertical Industry Platforms – Selected Characteristics standard

In a recent benchmarking study we conducted we evaluated a range of companies developing vertical industry platforms to enable the “Internet of Things”.  At a high level, these companies range in two critical dimensions: The nature of their offering and maturity of their efforts. Johnson Controls provides a good example.  JCI Panoptix, a sub-brand of Johnson Controls, offers an open platform solution on which 3rd party developers can offer SaaS solutions.  The goal is to build a community of applications and developers, at least initially related JCI’s Building Automation business (it can be assumed that JCI intends to extend this model to other segments).  The platform integrates data from JCI system sensors and makes that data available to the community.  ...

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From Concept to Reality: Vertical Industry Platforms standard

Over the past two years we are beginning to see the early stage realization of IDC’s projection regarding the 3rd wave of computing:  The rise of vertical industry platforms built to: Facilitate the management and exchange of the huge amounts of data generated by industrial systems Enable increased flexibility and interdependence of the associated value chain processes. The elements of such vertical industry platforms include:   General Electric’s “Industrial Internet,” initiative, which seeks to create value from the new business model is a great example.  Such activities however aren’t unique to manufacturing, we are seeing them in a range of industries, from healthcare to financial services. Cloud Channel Consulting is currently working with a number of our large clients to ...

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The Business Model Gap standard

Much of the work we’re doing now is focused on helping companies migrate their business to the cloud.  In a recent survey we conducted, in industries like telecommunications, banking, retail and manufacturing, anywhere from 60 – 75% of the companies surveyed said they are planning on migrating 10% or more of their IT spend to the cloud.  This represents a significant shift in spend, particularly when you consider the fact that most companies spend 64% of their IT budget on running existing infrastructure, 21% of spend on growth initiatives, and only 15% of spend is allocated to transform IT. As we peel back what’s happening with this spend, we see a large portion of it focused on expanding existing initiatives, ...

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Process Aware Cloud Infrastructure standard

We are beginning to see buzz around the idea of Process Aware Cloud Infrastructure, from academic articles such as W.M.P. van der Aalst’s recent publication: “Business Process Configuration in The Cloud: How to Support and Analyze Multi-Tenant Processes“ to selected vendor presentations including RedHat’s recent presentation on The Intelligent Cloud Application Infrastructure. These and other publications on the topic point the way to an inevitable outcome of Cloud based IT, a necessary shift in emphasis from supporting and managing IT infrastructure, to business process change and managing business process change.  This driven by a shift in the way users consume IT:      Source:  Redhat The primary enablement for this change as Redhat points out, is through both open API’s that allow for ease ...

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Choosing Your Horse – Which Cloud Vendor to Ride? standard

As in the client/server channel paradigm of yore, Value Added Integrators for Cloud Solutions need to pick the Cloud Vendor horse they wish to ride.  And things get pretty interesting on this front… The big debate revolves around Open stack vs proprietary platform decisions.  On one hand you have the two big proprietary platforms VMWare (who is going Private to Public) and Amazon (who is going Public to Private).  Both of these vendors offer a lot but there are, not withstanding all the cloud washing, real walled gardens in each of their models. On the open stack side, there options are plentiful.  Dozens of start-ups and early stage companies such as Eucalyptus, Rightscale, ManageIQ, and now Rackspace are offering cloud ...

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Bursting out of the Private Cloud – Big AHA! Moment for the Value Added Integrator Roadmap standard

At Digital Bridge Partners, we agree that Private Clouds are the best route to accelerate the move to Cloud Computing in the enterprise.  With that, comes the recognition that managing Hybrid Clouds (private and public together) presents a unique opportunity for a channel that is mostly seen as ‘going away’ in the cloud era. From a channel roadmap point of view, how does this help and what does it mean? Historically the channel (since the dawn of PC era) has grown up as an on-prem integrator bringing disparate HW and SW together to form last mile solutions inside of small to large enterprises.  We know the cloud changes all of this and moves the value prop away from on-prem integration to more ...

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Ecosystem as a Service: Ecosystem Importance for Vendor/Channel Mgmt. standard

In an effort to add to the alphabet for “X”aaS, we at Digital Bridge Partners are proposing the addition of “E”aaS for Ecosystem as a Service… Are we taking it too far?  Perhaps not.  Don’t be suprised if you see cloud services popping up that make it easier for service providers and customers to find related services in an attempt to assemble a complete offering or a family of related cloud services. Let’s begin with a little channel management history that puts the notion of Ecosystems into context. In our last post we talked about how the traditional Vendor-Indirect Channel model is giving way to an Cloud-connected Ecosystem model. The Vendor-Indirect Channel model is characterized by a big powerful vendor ...

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Is There Really a Channel for the Cloud? standard

Many pundits have argued that the cloud essentially eliminates the need for a channel.  To some extent, this is an accurate observation, because distribution in the traditional terms “pick, pack, ship, install” is no longer needed.  On the other hand however, all of us know that the value-added services the channel has traditionally provided for on-prem solutions are still important, albeit many services for the cloud are unique and distinct from on-prem services.  At Digital Bridge Partners we’ve blogged a lot about this. The truth emerging between the two positions, for and against a channel role, is that the channel is shifting from a focus on physical distribution and integration toward a role centered around software value add.  This make ...

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A Solution Provider Cloud Maturity Adoption Model standard

In the course of our work at Digital Bridge Partners with vendors and partners in the Public Cloud market, we’ve observed that most Solution Providers begin their transition to the cloud by moving through the following Solution Provider Cloud Maturity adoption stages.  For each of these stages, Solution Providers have a context (noted below) that describe their current business related to the cloud. At this point in the evolution of the overall cloud market, and in the evolution of Vendor cloud channel ecosystems, we believe that engagement and resources should be focused where they are most needed.  In our minds, two stages in the maturity model represent a sweet spot for partner engagement and enablement. 1.     Moving partners from awareness to ...

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Why Partner Matching Still Makes Sense Especially in Facilitating Delivery of Cloud Solutions standard

To date the large majority of effort on the part of vendors in helping their partners “cross the chasm” to the Cloud, is in delivering enablement materials and tools to help partners make business model and operational changes and to build Cloud practices. These efforts are laudatory, but they ignore a simple opportunity.  Right now there are many small and emerging firms that have been very successful in building out a focus on Cloud, what they lack is the market to grow their business.  At the same time, there are many larger firms, with significant client bases, that represent an opportunity to sell in new Cloud offerings and/or their clients are demanding evaluation and deployment of such offerings. At Digital ...

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Driving Partner Business Model Evolution for Cloud Solutions Through Industry Benchmarks standard

In our last post on ways to enable the channel for cloud solutions and drive partner business model evolution we highlighted two mechanisms of primary importance: Helping channel partners understand emerging business models and develop associated Practices, offerings and marketing tools Creating programs that drive partners to build delivery relationships to fill gaps in their business capabilities and do joint planning with them Right now in the marketplace a number of large vendors such as Microsoft and Cisco are starting to address number one above, with varying degrees of success.  These companies have created well laid out roadmaps for their partners that describe in a proscriptive way what they need to do to build new elements of their business.  Microsoft ...

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Enabling the Cloud Channel standard

In earlier posts we’ve focused a great deal on the new model of channel partner required for vendors to successfully deliver cloud solutions to end customers.  We’ve highlighted a number of shifts currently taking place in the channel, including the increased importance of cloud channel partners (VARs, Consultants and Integrators),  the types of services these partners will need to deliver, and their new business models.  But what we haven’t addressed is how these changes are going to take place and how large vendors can support them.     It is our strong belief at Digital Bridge Partners that vendors who want to win with the channel should provide concrete enablement and support aligned to the needs of new and existing partners ...

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Returning to our Roots – Cloud IT as Driver of Enterprise Transformation standard

A common trend over the past decade has been a shift in IT’s focus, from driving innovation in an organization, to managing increasingly complex and expensive systems.  Today one of the most important reasons that companies leverage SIs or VARs to help build, implement and manage technology solutions is that technology is complex and companies need consultants and integrators they trust to help them make effective decisions and run IT (in-house or in the cloud). In spite of this dominant role, it’s ironic to note that many vendors, service and solution providers are currently selling cloud not as trusted advisors but rather as product sales people, e.g., based on price, its inherent technology merits, its “speeds, feeds, features and functionality”, ...

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Cloud-Delivered Data, 21st Century Electricity standard

In some of our earlier Digital Bridge Partners blog posts, we touched on the idea that Electricity as a UTLITY is a great historical and economic metaphor for IT as a UTILITY, aka Cloud Computing. On reflection, it seems that one can take the metaphor even further, with the idea that the energy market is also an antecedent to the market for Cloud-Delivered (and Originated) Data, where Cloud Data creates a key source of differentiation and competitive advantage in many industries. Earlier this year, David Linthicum wrote that “CES 2012 should have been called the Cloud Electronics Show“.  His point is that Cloud-Delivered Data is becoming one of the most important components of the electronics value chain, whether in Cars, TVs, or kitchen ...

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The Cloud Integrator/Broker Model standard

We’ve spent considerable time talking about the importance of the channel for cloud and a provided a big picture view on the services categories that will underlie the channel’s value add around the cloud.  Today, we at Digital Bridge Partners want to lay out a picture of what we think the Cloud Integrator/Broker model is going to look like. To be sure there are some great cloud integrators emerging like GreenPages and INX who are already there or close to rounding out their offerings to be come Cloud Integrator/Brokers, but by and large, most partners still operate their professional and managed services businesses around the in-house data center. (Note that this blog is about IaaS Integrators as there is a separate category ...

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vCloud Integration Manager, ‘connecting’ Services in IaaS standard

In our last Digital Bridge Partners post, we talked about the ‘services’ that make up IaaS arguing that Vendors, Service and Solution Providers need to get clear on how they add value in the Public Cloud. Advancing the cause, VMware announced vCloud Integration Manager, last month which among other things helps Service Provider and Solution Providers work together.  According to VMware’s Mathew Lodge, vCIM allows Serve Providers to “securely delegate provisioning to resellers. In turn, the resellers can directly and immediately provision and de-provision their own customers (via the API or web GUI), without having to open tickets, send emails or make phone calls.” The key to Solution Provider engagement in driving Public Cloud is the confidence that they can sell, ...

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What are the ‘Services’ in IaaS standard

As vendors and channel partners line up their offerings for IaaS, we at Digital Bridge Partners think its foundational that Infrastructure as a Service be segmented as to what the Service component is. What makes this important is not only that the end customer needs to understand what is being purchased but that vendors and providers need clarity on where and how they will focus their GTM efforts. We’ve segmented IaaS Service component as follows with some definitions and indications of typical providers.  If you are a Cloud Management Vendor, Cloud Aggregator/Distributor, or Service or Solution Provider, three things are imperative regarding your GTM efforts: 1) where will you focus, 2) who will you partner with and 3) what makes your offering competitive/differentiated. So, ...

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White Label, channel model, a better way to IaaS standard

We recently chatted with Josh Mariea and Luke Norris, execs at PeakColo about their focus on a white label offering as THE way to incentivize traditional VARs, SIs and MSPs to push Hosted IaaS.  See our Digital Bridge Partners post below on The Channel for IaaS for context. White Label solutions help VARs overcome two of their three big barriers in pushing Hosted IaaS: VARs lose the HW/SW/Services drag if they push hosted cloud over the on-premise data center. VARs lose control of the customer, since the Service Provider (for IaaS) or SaaS provider (Office365) own the account, especially if the hoster bills and offers first line support, which is typical. VARs don’t really have a business model for selling another providers hosted IaaS, ...

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The IaaS Continuum, the journey from Private to Public Clouds standard

PWC published a study last year on the Future of IT Outsourcing and Cloud Computing, we checked it out because we continue to believe that the Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) is the ticket to unlock and tip the market toward IT as a Utility.  See my earlier Digital Bridge Partners blog post here. PWC argues, no surprise that the Cloud will have a profound effect on how Corporate IT from SMB to Enterprises will manage their IT infrastructure.  The graphic below suggests that within 3 years, nearly 2/3rds of all IT infrastructure will run on Private and Public clouds. What’s more interesting is that 39% of all IT infrastructure will be managed by a Service Provider (in either a Private or ...

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Who has the biggest IaaS business? standard

It’s conventional wisdom that Amazon EC2 is the 800 pound gorilla in the IaaS Business right? Ironically, I think they have about $800 million worth of annual revenues. Well, guess what, that’s not right. In fact it’s VMware add its ecosystem of the cloud Service Providers, who all told have well over $1 billion of annual revenue in IaaS that is the real “biggie” in this market. Okay, I get it, VMware is not really a Service Provider, but it is their hybrid cloud strategy and the vCloud reference architecture that has brought big players like Savvis, Colt, Softbank and a whole host of niche Service Providers like PeakColo, ILand, Bluelock and Tier3 to rally around the vCloud standard. Imagine ...

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Channel Services for the (IaaS) Cloud standard

In our last Digital Bridge Partners post, we argued that the creation of channel partners (aka VARs, SIs, MSPs, consultants) focused uniquely on the cloud is a key ingredient to driving the cloud tipping point for companies and the industry.  For purposes of discussion, let’s call this category of channel partners “Cloud Integrators.” This post will focus on IaaS, although SaaS and PaaS Cloud silos will each have their own group of cloud-based services that will require pairing Cloud Integrators with Cloud Service Providers.  Cloud Integrators will help turn cloud offerings/products that fit the need of a group of users (work load) into cloud solutions that meet the IT requirements of whole businesses. Even though there are already $Bs spent on ...

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The Channel for Cloud standard

In the endless sea of pontification about the cloud and its impending dominance as the central force driving IT transformation, one CRITICAL thing is forgotten and that is the role of the channel. Some people say you don’t need a channel, even Bessemer Venture Partners, revered as ‘writing the business model book’ on the cloud misses the point in its LAW #4 when it says, “(software channels)… aren’t much help to Cloud businesses.”  They go onto to say that some cloud companies might achieve some benefits leveraging business services channels and emerging players like Appirio, but the message is you don’t really NEED a channel if you fully leverage the internet. At Digital Bridge Partners, we believe that the emergence of a ...

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How VPC Advances the ‘Tipping Point” to IT as a Utility standard

We at Digital Bridge Partners think one of the best examples for how Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) will advance the tipping point to pure Public Cloud and away from in-house data centers is CSC’s BizCloud. CSC is certainly not the only game in town for VPC.  Amazon, Rackspace, AT&T and others offer a VPC.  But CSC is perhaps the most robust, at least according to Gartner CSC does a great job of contrasting Private and Virtual Private Clouds.  CSC is built on VMware’s vCloud reference architecture which means that the seamless private-hybrid-public feature set is in place. It’s a simple story, for garnering all the advantages of the ‘Utility’ of Public cloud: Off-load capital Load Balancing to avoid over or under capacity Lower cost ‘as a service’ makes IT ...

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“Virtual” Private Cloud (VPC), going beyond the conventional view standard

An IBM analyst wrote this good, but conventional, article about the Private Cloud and how its the next ‘new’ thing in IT. Here was our Digital Bridge Partners reply: I agree with most of your comments Marcus, but one angle that I think you are missing is the notion of how a ‘Virtual’ private cloud eliminates the need for much if any IT in-house. Once enterprise companies digest that there is an opex alternative to in-house data centers and that the VPC gives them the control that they want, we predict a massive migration away from owning an IT plant, exactly as companies dumped their in-house electrical generating plants 100 years ago once the Public Utility model achieved its economies of centralized ...

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The dominance of IT as a UTILITY, history part 2 standard

Has anyone heard of a guy named Charles S Bradley? He filed a patent in 1888 for the rotary converter that basically lead to the creation of a Hybrid Cloud and ultimately the dominance of a Public Cloud in formation of the Electrical UTILITY business. You are probably asking, what does this have to do with the IT Cloud (aka IT as a UTILITY)?  Well, its an example of how a Network Technology (Economics term not IT Term) accelerated the Economies of Centralized Supply in my GENESIS post from March 7th. Hang in there, this is cool and worth considering even if its a bit esoteric and ‘historical.’  We can learn a lot about where the IT Cloud UTILITY is ...

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Genesis standard

Here at Digital Bridge Partners, we are taking a look back at the history of cloud computing, but first at an understanding of how to put cloud computing into context. Its easy to lose the forest for the trees by considering how Cloud Computing evolved from timesharing and outsourcing and utility and grid computing before understanding what Cloud Computing really is. Then, what is Cloud Computing?  We believe that it is the confluence of Economic and Technological forces built around the creation of “Economies of Centralized Supply.”  It;s about the development of IT as a “UTILITY,” to use the economics term.  Special thanks to Nicholas Carr and his book the Big Switch from which the following logic is a summary: So,  what does it mean ...

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