Don’t Put Partners in a Box!
My ex-colleague – Anne McClelland – currently an esteemed channel analyst at the TSIA (Technology & Services Industry Association) recently wrote a blog describing how Covid 19 has accelerated changes in the partner world.
Just as we’ve seen our customers embark on their digital transformation journeys, it is also true that the partner business had to flex to service new consumption models that customers demand.
I’ve witnessed changes to our partners’ business models first-hand.
Traditional resellers tell me that they don’t just shift boxes anymore. They are branching out to offer customers different options to consume technology – through managed services; hosted private clouds; independent advice on the solutions that customers need and more.
At our virtual partner summit in September, our strategic partner of more than two decades, Fujitsu, described the transformation of their own business:
“Fujitsu was known as a hardware vendor, but of course, we had been providing services as managed services for quite some time. Like our competitors, we’re changing our role to become a services-oriented company. It’s not just about the hardware anymore. The hardware itself isn’t becoming obsolete but it’s not something people are buying anymore. People are buying services. We’re combining hardware, with services and our knowledge. That’s where we’re going.”
Rauli Kanerva, Head of TPS Nordic / Cloud Advisor, Fujitsu
A Partner Program That Serves Partner Needs Today
The partner business is going through its own “digital transformation”, or “shape-shifting” as Anne McClelland puts it. The definition of what it means to be a value-added reseller, distributor, solution provider, cloud provider, software vendor, hardware vendor is morphing, and the boundaries and limits to what we thought possible are being crossed every day.
Doing away with the old categorizations, our new SUSE One Partner Program embraces our partners’ new identities and makes it easier for partners to shape shift.
Partners can choose to participate in one or more of the six specializations offered within the program – BUILD, INNOVATE, SELL, MANAGE, SERVICE, and TRAIN – and in any combination that suits their business objectives (you can read what each specialization means here).
The SUSE One Partner Program is designed to be as flexible as possible to serve the needs of the new breed of partners well.
That’s why we are building a set of unique requirements and benefits for each specialization to reflect the distinct sales approaches that each of those partners will need to adopt.
We are gradually revising and introducing the requirements and benefits for each specialization, to minimize disruption to our partners’ plans and businesses. Just as our partners are continuously evolving their offerings, we realize that we too need to take a similar approach to the partner program.
So, over the coming weeks and months, we will continue to refine and define some of the benefits and requirements as we consult and collect feedback from the partner community about what will move the needle for them. Partners who have not provided feedback and would like to can do so via their Partner Executive or SUSE rep or email us.
Finally, if you have not noticed, the new logo for the partner program is a knot. That was chosen for good reason as the new SUSE One Partner Program enshrines the fact that our partners are woven into the fabric of our business. We are investing in growing and deepening our partner relationships. For instance, we’re putting more feet on the ground where it is needed – to support co-sell motions or to answer your customers’ questions with pre-sales technical resources. It really is the case that together with our partners, we can be more than the sum of our parts – The Power of Many. Together as One!