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Emma Tomlin, CompTIA ANZ Channel Community executive council member, shares her thoughts on how essential partnerships remain to driving the business of technology.
Teaming up is at the core of our human DNA. It’s the foundation of the evolution of our species and it’s why we get such a positive emotional response when we build strong, stable relationships with friends, colleagues and romantic partners. That doesn’t change just because we’ve moved into the digital era.
So, it’s surprising that Australia seems to lack a well-developed partner ecosystem. Sure, there are partnerships that have, for years, delivered a wide range of value-added services. For example, we have a mature distribution channel and wholesaling telecommunications services has been around for years. But we lack partnering innovation.
The IT market is peculiar in that providers often cling to a do-it-ourselves mindset, even when they could work together to meet their customers’ requirements, save money and achieve growth even in a tough economic climate. Our strong local economy and smaller playing field has led Australian partners to invest in their own technology stacks and sweat the assets to achieve ROI before adding the next new service. Unfortunately, the rest of the world has moved on from this model and we’re lagging behind.
Take cloud, for example. It’s taken years for Australian channel companies to realise that they can partner with each other to elevate their cloud capabilities beyond what’s possible alone. Rather than focus purely on the areas where they have existing capabilities, a better approach is for these players to team up to gain complementary skills.
In a market where, month after month, hundreds of non-IT companies are jumping on the cloud bandwagon and entering the IT services market, this dynamic will continue to bring real challenges to our partner community in Australia unless more companies embrace a partnership model.
“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” – Helen Keller
Partnering isn’t just about choosing a technology vendor. Partnering needs to become much more strategic. No service provider, big or small, can deliver everything a customer wants or needs. Customers’ requirements are evolving and becoming more complex, but they increasingly want to work with a single partner that can offer everything they need. They’re looking to simplify that complexity by minimising the number of partners they work with.
Cloud aggregation is the number one area where partners can innovate without risking their business. Aggregation lets you be flexible and adaptable, create new service offerings through a basic API integration, and always have the latest software and services available to meet your customers’ needs.
Aggregation isn’t just about choosing one or two vendors to consume public cloud offerings that will compliment your core offerings. It’s about choosing multiple vendors, partners, services companies, ISVs and niche providers, and then bringing everything together in a store-type offering that lets your customers pick and choose the best-of-breed technologies and innovations to meet their growing business needs.
In Australia, the market is only so big. Working together instead of against one another is the only way we can succeed as individual companies and as an industry. Therefore, we need to start consuming rather than building and join forces rather than recreate the same services to compete against one another.
So, keep an eye out for opportunities to partner strategically and watch your company grow.