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Strategic Channel Alliance: an Emerging Partnership Type in the Channel

As channel partnerships continue to deepen and evolve, we see the continuum of partnership types expand



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As channel partnerships continue to deepen and evolve, we see the continuum of partnership types expand. Years ago we could clearly delineate a channel partner from a strategic alliance. Today, those lines are blurring. Datapipe and Equinix represent a classic example of this.

What started 16 years ago as a customer and vendor relationship between Datapipe and Equinix has evolved into a real channel-alliance partnership. Datapipe, a managed hosting and cloud services provider, needed to expand its business across multiple geographies. Equinix, an industry leading data center company with global footprint, was also growing at a rapid rate.

“We don’t enter into partnerships lightly,” said Rich Dolan, SVP of Marketing at Datapipe. “We make sure our partners are like-minded and innovative, and will assist us in providing clients with the strongest custom solutions, managed services, security, and reliability.”

Datapipe is also a highly valued, strategic partner of Equinix’s and was one of the first companies to join its global channel partner program in 2015. “By collaborating with them over the years, we have been able to work with enterprise companies worldwide to remove many of the common barriers to cloud adoption. Together, Datapipe and Equinix help enterprises to deliver and maintain scalable and dynamic cloud solutions, including infrastructure as a service and platform as a service within highly secured and reliable data centers to fit every need,” said Chris Rajiah, Vice President of Worldwide Channels and alliances at Equinix.

The two companies have come together, enabling domestic and global enterprise and government customers to scale both traditional and cloud solutions across the Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe through their partnership. Together they have also adopted a number of strategic alliance best practices that are now built into both companies’ DNA:

Executive alignment: The alliance fosters a close relationship between the two company’s executive teams. This relationship enables quick buy-in from the top for new strategies, clients, implementations, and partnerships and helps ensure the alliance’s success.

Alignment on new market opportunities: Datapipe and Equinix recognized early on the shift from traditional to hybrid cloud happening within their client base. The established alliance with Equinix enabled Datapipe to offer clients a hybrid cloud; which continues today to be one of the most significant growth opportunities in the world for service providers to offer to enterprise IT.

Practical growth based on real customer opportunities and honing a vertical market approach: Datapipe builds out new offerings and new geographies based on demand. The alliance with Equinix gives Datapipe the ability to quickly respond to and scale customer requests. They can turn on new services and rapidly enable customers to expand into new geographies.

The company also has a vertical approach, recently making an acquisition to accelerate its success in the US federal market. This successful acquisition has enabled both Datapipe and Equinix to expand their presence into the military and civilian government markets.

Joint marketing, cobranding and demand generation: Datapipe and Equinix co-sponsor marketing and industry events, and mutually invest proactively in co-marketing and lead generation. They conduct joint thought leadership and marketing events in cities around the country, produce collateral and data sheets about the companies offers’, and publish joint success stories. Both believe the real client success stories in a wide range of verticals and applications/solutions are critical to help other customers understand the value. Also, Charlie Colletti, Datapipe Channel Marketing Manager, shared that he conducts a regular cadence of calls with the marketing team at Equinix to drive innovative initiatives and execute programs that are key to both companies’ success.

A culture of partnering embedded into the DNA: Datapipe has a culture that rewards successful partnerships across sales, marketing, and executive management. The two companies have very different cultures, and work closely together to drive and maintain alignment at the executive, sales, and marketing level to keep the partnership on track. In addition, both Equinix and Datapipe channel partners can leverage the alliance and the solutions for their customers. There are clear goals and teams aligned from both companies to make those goals happen.

Continuing education on the alliance: Datapipe and Equinix conduct field boot camps, ongoing webinars and education for both companies’ sales teams and the channel partners. The teams believe in continuing to reinforce key partnership messages and success stories for sales teams and partners to replicate.

Business processes that serve as foundation for the alliance: Datapipe and Equinix measure the success from all leads for both companies through their lead flow process in Salesforce. Both companies mutually track and report on a comprehensive set of leads through the lead-to-close process, using provisions that tie those leads back to the respective partners they belong to. This serves three purposes: it gives an accurate metric for progress, ensures Datapipe and Equinix are aligned, and provides partners opportunities and drives their accountability in the process.

The Datapipe and Equinix partnership truly represents an example of a relationship that has progressed from first a customer relationship, then a channel partner, and now a true strategic channel alliance leveraged by both companies’ channel partners in the marketplace.

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