By Denny Riley, VP of Channel Partnerships, OpsRamp
Partnerships are just that: partnerships. Sounds trite, but in my past experience, many organizations forget the fundamentals of good partnerships and, by extension, good partner programs. Large, public companies have been built on the backs of strong partner programs, so it’s good to take a critical look at what comprises a partner program. I’ll review those characteristics on behalf of both sides of the table – the independent software vendor (ISV) and managed service provider (MSP), systems integrator (SI) or value-added reseller (VAR).
Committing to a vendor is a two-way street. On the one hand, you’re aligning your business to a particular horse in the race, perhaps even at the cost of other ISVs (for example, if you have custom application technology that only works on one platform). It’s fair to expect reciprocal commitment. However, winning also means delivering value to the vendor in a way that enables them to deliver greater support back to you.
Consider four major categories of benefits that a good partner program should deliver: simplicity, support, communications and business. If you’re the ISV, these should factor heavily into your program to attract top industry partners. If you’re the managed solution provider, VAR or systems integrator, these are the fundamentals you must require from your ISV before you commit development and sales resources.
What should any of these organizations be on the lookout for when it comes to building strong partnerships?
Ease of Program: A mistake that many software vendors make is not understanding how important it is to remove barriers to entry which otherwise discourage participation. This includes both the simplicity of the program itself, as well as making the product easy to sell.
Overall, the program should be easy to qualify for, align to, participate in and get trained on. If there’s anything in the program that seems as though it would be a disincentive to new members, the ISV must be willing to …