There's Nothing But Net When Strategic Partners Work Together

Posted by on March 21, 2019

It’s March Madness—the season when the best of the best take center court to play basketball. Division 1 college basketball teams bring their “A” games to NCAA matchups, whether it’s two big-budget powerhouses pitted against each other or one of the smaller schools with outsized legacies and talents. No matter which of the 68 teams face off, they generate a marketable television product that has people around the world filling out brackets, putting down bets, and taking breaks from their computer screens to catch some of the action.

The NCAA and TV networks understand the power of bringing the best together to deliver an extraordinary experience for viewers. They are better together, and that is increasingly the formula for the best software design and business strategies.

Coming together starts with breaking down the silos that prevent companies (and the divisions within them) from working to develop integrated solutions that enable products to work seamlessly. The next step is to create technology alliances and partnerships built on big-data analytics, engineering solutions, and fine-tuned marketing, sales, and communications strategies. 

In today’s fast-paced, often-fragmented business world, there is no magic bullet that solves everything a company wants to accomplish through IT or enterprise service management. No one product or platform could handle every process within human resources, facilities, product, and asset management, for example. Instead, businesses choose among a multitude of point products that solve each individual piece of a corporate puzzle. 

Additionally, many products and platforms cannot “talk” to each other because they are built with proprietary technologies. Those restrictions often result in companies buying additional products or hiring consultants to integrate the original purchases, and the process can sometimes take two or more years to become fully operational. 

Why not design and build products with intentional integration? If we build products that work together—seamlessly, out of the box—our customers could plug in, sign on, and get down to business faster and easier. For CIOs and CTOs, the option to purchase two or three complementary products—in a single budget cycle—is huge. The combination extracts the most value in the shortest amount of time.

If, by creating technology alliances, we make products work together—without special configuration or customization—the payoff potential is immediate. Customers realize the benefits of boosted operational efficiencies and increased team effectiveness, driving overall satisfaction. And for partners, they save money that would otherwise have gone to research, development, and integration.

As Cherwell’s Director of Technology Alliances, I’m pushing for that kind of intentional integration. We are building strategic relationships with the largest players as well as the most innovative startups, because we know companies work with a wide range of tech vendors. Your tech stack is your differentiator, and our partner ecosystem is our differentiator. 

Just like in basketball, the talent on the hardwood is only part of the story. The crowd plays a role, too. Community and user-developed content often improve upon the products we create. We can build something that solves 90 percent of an IT challenge, but we are finding crowd-sourced or open-source initiatives enable our customers to tinker with products and discover shortcuts, uses, and improvements that we had not thought of before. When those customers are willing to share with fellow users, people get excited and products get better. 

Integration and partnership don’t magically happen—they require concerted and intentional effort and collaboration. What has your experience been with strategic partners and product integrations? If you’d like to talk more, connect with me via LinkedIn.