Top Ten Challenges for Next Generation Partner Ecosystems

How many of us believe we can force multiply our businesses through partnerships and channels?

Theresa Caragol

April 25, 2016

3 Min Read
(Photo by Michael Bocchieri/Getty Images)

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How many of us believe we can force multiply our businesses through partnerships and channels?

Steve Case, ex CEO of AOL speaks at graduation ceremonies about his 3 Ps for success: people, passion, perseverance and in 2014 at Georgetown University he added policy and partnerships. He asserts that the next generation must be great at building partnerships, establishing alliances, and that it is not at all about distribution of your apps on ITunes.

Instead, it will be about innovation and harnessing your success through different types of partnerships; alliances with companies who can effectively take your solution to market and building different types of channels to market

Over the coming weeks in my blog posts and at HostingCon July 24-27 in New Orleans, we will explore partnerships and next generation partner ecosystems. What do companies need to be thinking about? What are the critical success elements for building your own company’s ecosystem? What types of relationships will be key in the coming years? How do you overcome your challenges?

According to the State of the Cloud and Service Provider Industry Survey (we are still accepting data if you are employed in the cloud/hosting/service provider industries), the Penton Technology community of sites and events including HostingCon, the WHIR, Talkin’Cloud, MSP Mentor, Channel Directions Live and The Var Guy, have a rich ecosystem of partners already that encompass several different types of companies.

A. Solution providers – the traditional resale and hybrid cloud companies offering many different hardware, software, and service solutions to geographic and vertical markets across the US.

B. Service providers – traditional telco companies, born in the cloud and hosting type services providers, MSP companies, cable and other types of annuity revenue service offering companies.

C. System Integrators – large system integrators blending multiple solutions together and wrapping customized services around those for a market.

D. 2 Tier distributors – the aggregators who add value both in credit, inventory, business development and service and support to a vendor or cloud service company in the channel.

E. Referral relationships – different types of sales agents, referral type partners.

F. Direct market national resellers – companies like CDW who have built incredible organizations fulfilling the needs of CIOs and purchasing agents across North America.

In addition to the types of partners our community is working with, our research shows the following top ten partnering challenges the hosting community encounters in building their channels for the future:

1. Defining and aligning priorities for the partnership then building a culture and continued cadence for the success of the partnership.
2. Locating and recruiting the right partners that fit the company needs; uncovering who those companies are and building an ideal profile for success.
3. Balancing competitive partner relationships as well as vendors with a direct and indirect strategy, then managing that ongoing successful sales engagement.
4. Overcoming the journey from on premise to cloud and helping all parties determine what they need to do for sustained success in the cloud.
5. Ongoing communication with partners and vendors and what type of communication is needed? How often? Who should be responsible; then executing that model well for success.
6. Managing the costs of a partnership and accurately calculating ROI of the partnerships. What are the actual financials? Objective and subjective evaluation metrics?
7. and 8. Time and Trust: Finding and allocating enough time to building trusted partner relationships and then ensuring there is a high level of sustained and systemic trust built up for success.
9. Managing and supporting the partners’ solutions: services, support and sales efforts and ensuring adequate training for the teams
10. Effective lead and demand generation to sustain the partnerships.

This is the consolidated set of the top 10 concerns the service provider ecosystem encounters when building effective distribution channels and partnerships. In future posts and at HostingCon, we’ll explore recommendations for these and ideas for success.

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