Why business planning blocks the execution of your partner strategy

Why business planning blocks the execution of your partner strategy

Introduction: the channel technology landscape

Partner strategy and management are crucial components of achieving mutual success in today's rapidly evolving partner ecosystem. The effectiveness of joint business plans and the ability to execute them can be hindered by the traditional business planning process. In a recent podcast, Gina Batali-Brooks, CEO of Is Inspired, and Frie Pétré, CEO of Qollabi, discussed the importance of selecting the right technology strategy for your business needs, be it an all-in-one solution or a best-of-breed approach.

With 159 software companies driving the next decade of channel software, as predicted by Jay McBain, selecting the right technology stack can be overwhelming. 

Gina emphasizes the need to focus on what drives the business forward and provides immediate value, using a pragmatic approach that enables faster innovation and updates. However, the decision to choose between an all-in-one or best-of-breed approach depends on your goals and the functionalities you require.

All-in-One or Best of Breed

The idea of a pragmatic approach focuses on how technology can provide business value as soon as possible, much like the principles used in agile product development. The key is not being blocked internally by philosophical or fundamental discussions and instead focusing on what is driving the business forward and providing immediate value.

As Gina puts it, “Choosing an all-in-one or best-of-breed strategy really depends on what you are trying to accomplish, and ultimately it’s a combination of how you use what you already have, and augment it with functionalities you need.”

To summarize the differences between an all-in-one or best-of-breed approach, you can consult the following comparison providing a high-level overview.  

Best-of-Breed Technology All-in-One Approach
Offers a specialized solution for each function, resulting in higher quality and functionality Provides a comprehensive solution that covers a wide range of functions
Allows for easier integration with other systems, resulting in better connectivity and data sharing May have limited integration options, making it difficult to connect with other systems or customize the solution
Often allows for faster innovation and updates, as each tool is developed and updated independently May have slower innovation and updates, as all functions need to be developed and updated together
Provides more choice for businesses, as they can select the tools that best fit their needs and budget Offers less choice, as businesses may have to settle for less-than-ideal tools in order to use an all-in-one solution
Can potentially result in cost savings, as businesses may be able to select more affordable options for each function May require higher upfront costs, as businesses need to invest in a comprehensive solution upfront
Requires more expertise and management to ensure that all tools work together seamlessly May require less expertise and management, as the solution is pre-integrated and managed by a single vendor

The New Trends in the Channel Tech Space

What are the upcoming trends in the technology space, specifically around the partner ecosystem? Gina believes that three significant movements will shape the future of the channel technology space.

  • The need for closer integration across organizations to address customer needs. E.g. reducing frictions in invoicing and the use of predictive analytics in partnership spaces.
  • The usage of artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to help you decide what to do next with the right partner
  • The way we will be handling data will be transformed by Web3, blockchain technology, and containers

The trends in data availability across organizations supported by predictive analytics will help determine mapping out the crucial points in the partner journey as well as defining the next best actions you can take for that partnership.

Mutual success planning is the starting point in your partner relationship.

Is Inspired advocates for business planning, but they recognize the challenges in how business plans are serving technology vendors in today's landscape. Gina has experience dealing with clients who have tried business planning in their organizations. Some of the critical mistakes she observed in various organizations were:

If done well, planning can serve as the foundation of the business relationship with your partner ecosystem. It should begin with identifying the business goals and where they intersect with the goals of other parties. It should then be used to drive those goals and measure success. It is essential to note that business plans should not be static documents but should be agile and adapted to every stage of the partner journey and partner maturity.

An interesting insight is that business planning is a contentious subject in many organizations. Considering the arguments above, it should be rebranded as "mutual success planning," the starting point of your partner relationship.

If you are interested in listening to the full podcast and gaining insights from Gina Batali-Brooks, the CEO of Is Inspired, you can find the podcast here.

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