@melimulhol , https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissa-mulholland/

One piece of advice I often provide is for Microsoft Partners to consider the benefit of alliances to augment their offerings. The move to the cloud and digital transformation has left many partners with a legacy business model that takes deep thought leadership to transition into a successful modern practice. Perhaps most noticeable in this evolution is the need to specialize and engage with other partners to accelerate innovation and time-to-market.

By working with other partners, businesses can deliver on an area of expertise that they may otherwise be lacking. The ability to provide a differentiated, full-service solution is critical to business success. Partnering with your peers with specific vertical or functional expertise allows you to do what you do best while expanding your IP to build a unique offer.

Why Leverage other Partners?

According to IDC, 49% of partners offering solutions for specific business functions partner with other channel partners to enhance their overall solution. When that happens, everyone wins, especially your customers. Why? Just ask yourself whether you have the people, skills, expertise, and capabilities in-house to meet the needs of all customers (current and potential) in your market. Probably not. Partnering can reduce the time and cost of going to market, increase your reach, build market share, help you win new business, and increase your overall profitability by leveraging your IP in new ways.

Another IDC study found that the group of partners who associated 30% or more of their revenue with partner-to-partner collaboration were also the ones who were growing the fastest — 19% growth versus 10–12% for the rest. To learn more about the power of partnering from IDC, download The Modern Microsoft Partner Series ebook.

Create new revenue streams

The increase in partnership activity has not gone unnoticed by industry leaders. Having delivered over 2,000 business, sales, and marketing projects for Microsoft and its partners over the last 14 years, Julie Simpson, Founder and CEO of business development provider ResourceiT, has felt the change. Just in the last year, she’s seen a significant number of partners completely transform their revenue streams, whether it’s distributors accelerating adoption for ISVs who have created unique value-add apps for O365, or GSIs partnering with voice experts.

“We have never seen such a turnaround in how customers are keen to consume products and services from complementary Microsoft partners,” said ResourceiT founder and CEO Julie Simpson. “It’s been exhilarating and enlightening for us as a Microsoft business development expert to work with partners keen to bring their joint value propositions together to drive revenue.”

“The partnerships we’ve worked on have opened up so many unique opportunities for market development and cross-sell and up-sell into each others’ businesses; it’s been a joy to see the results coming through so fast.”

– Julie Simpson, Founder and CEO, Resource iT

These benefits extend to the customer as well. “It makes so much sense for the customer to work with businesses that have already worked out how they can collaborate; it makes the decisions super-easy and the ROI super-fast,” Simpson noted.

Bridge gaps in your offering

Transforming your business while generating revenue can be complex and aligning processes can be a major hurdle. To alleviate some of these blockers in your business, consider partnering with an ISV partner who can help bridge the gap. One example of an ISV doing interesting things in this space is BitTitan, who has unveiled a process automation platform for IT service providers called MSPComplete which helps standardize service delivery, eliminate preventable mistakes, achieve 100% utilization of your people, and convert documentation into action.

“For us to be able to scale as a cloud business, we need to automate our processes as much as possible. MSPComplete allows us to scale to a level we wouldn’t otherwise be able.”

– Darryl Sicker, Cloud Solution Manager, United Data Technologies, USA

Another source to help you fill in the gaps in your projects, Dynasource is an independent global talent-sharing platform that allows Microsoft partners to connect with other partners that have complementary expertise and capabilities.

Build Relationships Through Community

We understand that partnering takes time and that you need to establish trust with another company to do so. When you find the right partner who complements your goals, the results can be incredible. To facilitate these meaningful connections and help you find the right partners, Microsoft has launched the Microsoft Partner Community site. Use it to network, build and strengthen relationships with other partners and Microsoft SMEs and access resources to make your peer interactions more successful. For a first look at the new hub, check out the recent article in Redmond Channel Partner titled Microsoft Partner Community Site Flattens P2P/M2P World.

Assess Your Partnership Readiness

When considering your own readiness to partner, or the readiness of an organization with whom you may want to partner, there are several different metrics to consider. To help understand those metrics better, we recommend using the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners’ P2P Maturity Model which offers a framework of 10 business functions and 4 levels of maturity to consider when organizations look to partner on a deal, a campaign, or a business. It offers a practical how-to approach, featuring a self-assessment tool and resources to master the skills for developing successful partnerships.

IAMCP also offers the P2P Maturity Model Playbook and online training sessions.

A roadmap to winning partnerships at Microsoft Inspire

I hope to see you at Microsoft Inspire next month in Washington D.C. where we have organized a group of sessions for building a business model around partnering as the fastest route to reaping the benefits of the cloud.

Have you used any of these resources to find complementary partners or build more successful partnerships? Let us know or tell us about a great partnership experience in the comments below.