The Value of the Ecosystem: The Value You Bring
A vibrant partner ecosystem clearly serves the vendor that nurtures it and the mutual customers that rely on it. But what is the advantage for the partner that is joining a large, thriving ecosystem? Are you a cog on a wheel? Or are you able to extract true business value quickly, too?
As I consider SAP’s plans to expand our ecosystem over the next five years, it gets me thinking: “Why would an existing or prospective partner care about the ecosystem?”
There are a few obvious answers here:
- A strong ecosystem helps the vendor grow business. When that happens, opportunities abound for partners of all kinds.
- A vendor’s commitment to the channel fosters a wide range of opportunities far into the future, so partners can plan their own growth strategy, too.
But there’s more. The game has changed. A partner ecosystem today is a global community tied together by the Internet of things. We, like our customers, have the ability to touch one another in real time, anytime, anywhere. With that, the power of the ecosystem becomes exponentially more important.
With the rise of social marketing and business networking in the digital age, our interactions and collaborations are different. We can now work more seamlessly together. In many cases, partners that you may have considered competition in the past are now important business partners of your own–each organization bringing its unique value to a deal, expanding capabilities and improving the overall customer experience. A vendor that helps foster those relationships now serves a greater good–a global community of partners that can more easily build relationships, and build a stronger and more profitable business.
Can You Move from Cog to Innovator?
So, as an organization, how do you take advantage of a strong ecosystem? How do you go from being a single entity to becoming an organization that uses the ecosystem to grow business, expand your offerings, build relationships and even spark innovation?
Answer: Partner with a vendor that makes it easy for you to grow and believes in creating value through innovation with partners. SAP’s President of Global Partner Operations, Rodolpho Cardenuto, says it so well: “Create value, and the volume will come.”
Let’s take a look at one of the most vibrant ecosystems in the world–Apple’s. The success of the iPhone, iPad and iPod are more largely due to the ecosystem of contributors and content producers than to the hardware itself. Innovative thinkers–both individuals and organizations–have built an ecosystem that lives and breathes iOS-based technology.
SAP, in particular, is taking this to heart by creating an Open Ecosystem structure where partners who sell or service solutions, for example, can venture into other business models with us, like building new solutions together, with another partner, or on their own. There’s minimal obligation, little commitment. In this way we spark innovation and set the stage for future growth for everyone.
So, align with a vendor that promotes value and innovation. Play an active role in your ecosystem. Then see where sharing, creation, brainstorming and discussion can take your business today … and in the future. No matter if you build, sell or service solutions–or any combination–the opportunities are endless.
Learn more about partnership opportunities at: http://www.sap.com/partners/.
Ira Simon is vice president, Partner Marketing & Communications, at SAP. Guest blogs such as this one are published monthly and are part of The VAR Guy’s annual platinum sponsorship.