Almost all elements of business have gone through radical changes in the way they operate, engage with customers and partners and, how they remain competitive. This is all due to the major changes in the marketplace, but most specifically in the technology space. Businesses are now juggling cloud migration, management of realtime analytics, and increasing volumes of data generated by social media, mobile and ecommerce platforms.

By Geoff Garett, acting chief sales officer at Syspro

Digital technologies such as virtual reality, the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics and even 3D printing are impacting on the bottom line of businesses and the choices of customers. Consequently, these changes also have a direct impact on the partners that businesses use. Arguably, the technology landscape is the most dynamic, which has a significant impact on how a business remains profitable.

It is critical that channel partners, embrace the digital transformation to better fulfil the ever-changing demands of their business customers. In the IDC’s paper on worldwide IT channels and alliances predictions they discuss the changing partner landscape and how by 2021 at least 30% of the channel will not exist in the format that we are familiar with today.

New partners are entering the fray and new technologies are changing the way existing partners manage and engage with their businesses and their customers. The lines are blurring between what the customers are needing in their ERP solution and what resale partners can provide. This leads to even more changes.

Businesses need to take a leading role in how they manage their partners, and this can come with some tough choices. The first part of this is to determine what kind of partners are you looking for.

To figure this out you need to decide what you need from your partners to deliver your business growth, and how can the relationship be mutually beneficial? Then comes deciding what kind of support they are most likely going to need from your business. Both business and partner need to be aligned to the growth objectives and this includes the defining of metrics and how to deliver on these KPIs. This will determine what the engagement looks like and how best to go about doing this.

Once you have all this information in place it may become necessary to prioritise your partners and unfortunately, for the sake of the business shedding those that are not on the same growth path. Making these types of changes isn’t easy, especially if some partners have walked the long road with you and your business. To stay relevant and to keep adapting, making these types of changes is necessary in the long run.

It also becomes critical to have a solid partner program in place. This enforces all aspects of the relationship from the most basic of correspondence to the detailed contractual side of things such as the setting of KPIs that speak directly to the growth of the business.

This isn’t just about sales but also about increasing the value through customer insights which can add to future innovation. This also ensures that partners know what they are getting into right from the start. This will eliminate all misunderstandings and confusions down the line and will help to build a strong and mutually beneficial relationship that both businesses can grow through.

There is such a thing as best practice when it comes to partner programs, but this would heavily depend on the industry. The IDC evaluates these programs based on three key elements: innovation; how well received the program is with partners; and how valuable it is to partners. These are the bare minimum that a partner should look for in a program.

The program should be designed with the partner in mind, with emphasis on how both businesses can grow. Innovative partner programs offer benefits such as a tiered earning model, ongoing educational support and tools, joint marketing initiatives, dedicated partner management access to licensed products for the partners exclusive use and a professional services team for ongoing support. Partners should also have access to tried and tested methodologies to ensure successful implementation of the program.

Partners are critical for the success of most businesses and when you create a program that provides partners with access to best-in-class software, industry experts, high quality training and end-to-end support you will be creating a program that is innovative and industry-leading. By finding partners that share your values, your vision and your strategy are those that will help you co-create an environment that is conducive to growth and profitability. A concrete program and the relevant support systems will further help you take these relationships to the next level of success.

This was the firm foundation on which we launched the Syspro PartnerUp program six months ago. Our partners are critical for the success of our businesses and we believe we have created a program that provides our partners with access to best-in-class software, industry experts, high quality training and end-to-end support that supports their business.

Focused on partner enablement, PartnerUP has three key pivotal points: quality, growth, and reward. The program’s T-90 rapid on-boarding process quickly prepares existing SYSPRO partners and companies new to the team, supporting their efforts in becoming certified, building a pipeline, and getting immersed into the SYSPRO culture.

Syspro’s PartnerUP program also ensures that partners are well equipped to reach customers that will benefit from SYSPRO ERP’s latest release which brings industry-specific features and functionality to market such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), to enable digital transformation and assist partners penetrate specific vertical markets.

Six months post launch Syspro’s PartnerUP has seen a 75% adoption rate of existing partners and has signed 20 net new partners and we have set our sights on growing our new partner base by a further 45% in 2018.