Building a strategic partnership program for an enterprise-focused technology company is a tricky thing. Customers are in pursuit of a single pane of glass to manage a mythical suite of tightly integrated enterprise hardware and solutions from a handful of best-in-class providers. We, as an industry, fall short of this idealized vision. We live in an ultra-competitive world, and most development schedules are packed developing new features and product lines, and we don’t always have time to do as much business and technology integration as we would like. Normally it falls on the Business Development to drive these initiatives.
A big part of my role at CREDANT is driving these partnerships and integration. What’s interesting to me is that there are no shortage of partnerships we can strike with fellow technology companies to enhance the experience of our customers or make Data Protection easier for customers to buy and implement. A big part of my job is saying no.
I firmly believe that you can only do a few things well—whether that’s developing robust technical integration or working with a company to help broaden our sales reach. Half-baked integration is worse than no integration at all. Moreover, a handful of distribution agreements that are half-heartedly executed does no one any good except the PR companies that write the press releases.
So CREDANT ends up saying no to a lot. We end up focusing on the technical integration that really provides customer value and we do it right. We focus on strategic distribution with a few core partners that we can tightly focus on. It’s incredibly difficult to make these relationships work in the real world. It requires our sales, marketing, and technical teams to engage deeply. It requires persistence to work through the problems. Frankly, it’s a gut check to me that I’m making a few, big bets on partnerships rather than hedging my risks with a lot of distinct initiatives. But I’ve found that focus breeds success. Fewer partners, not more. Go deep, build personal relationships at all levels between the companies. Anything less is a disservice to our customers and partners.