Why engage in Partner to Partner (P2P) relationships?
If you have been in the Microsoft Partner eco-system for the past few years, you would have seen the topic of Partner to Partner (or P2P) relationships come up a few times.
At Adopt & Embrace we had always thought it was a good idea (we never want to be a traditional SI or Dev style partner), but never really thought it would become a reality. Until the last day of Inspire 2017 in Washington DC. Over a few cold beers after a hectic (but 'inspiring') week, 8 Australians sat around a outdoor table and decided to shake hands. The Modern Workplace Alliance was born.
Over the next 12 months we tested the waters, found our feet with a few joint engagements, and can safely say we have successfully formed a P2P relationship with four other complementary Microsoft Partners - Insync Technology, Engage Squared, Versor and XR Elements.
Whilst I can't speak for the four other organisations in our alliance, here are three reasons why we decided to engage in our P2P relationship
You can focus on depth, but offer your customers breadth when they need it
It is very difficult to be everything to everyone, and be good at all of those things. To be able to compete, to differenciate, and to improve your margins it is always better to be good at just a few things. Your customers generally have an appetite for more than what you offer though. That is where having trusted partners you regularly work with can help. You know your partners, you know their people, you know their values and their success stories. You can broaden your conversation knowing that your peers have your back and the customers interests at heart.
The best part is, your partners feel the same way. You get to focus on what you are good at (and 'delegate' the rest to the partners you work with). Your partners focus on what they are good at (and 'delegate' the work that you excel at to your business). A win/win reciprical relationship
You can pursue business or customers you may not have been able to win yourself
Ever wish your business was 3 or 5 times the size so larger customers would take notice and not write you off? By positioning yourself as part of an alliance, a collective, a consortium of partners, you can work together to bid against some of the larger generalist partners that can dominate in some markets. The key difference is, you don't just have the breadth across the partners, but you bring the depth of a specilaist as well.
You can support each other to be better businesses
Working closer with other Microsoft Partners gives you the opportunity to watch and learn how other partners operate. To share war stories. To learn from each others mistakes. To celebrate each others successes. Going together is better than going alone.
Have you explored engaging in a more formal P2P relationship? What are the reasons why (or what are the roadblocks stopping you from taking it further?)
Partner to Partner
Paul - I absolutely agree with the strong P2P business alliances. Our (www.riversand.com) primary focus has been partnering with the right companies engaged in multiple verticals and helping their clients with the digital transformation strategy as most of the companies are already working on it. We have a small Customer & Partners Success (CPS) team working hand in hand with the customers but mainly focus on the enablement of the partners.
Great read Paul!
Absolutely agree with everything you have mentioned. At Ilantus, we strongly believe in P2P relationships, they indeed broaden our strengths and allow us to provide complete solutions to customers.
Great story Paul! I think that you have nailed it pretty well!
P2P is a great avenue and the ones that invest the time will most likely find it very profitable. The P2P Maturity Model (http://p2pmaturitymodel.com/resource/) is a framework that I have built (validated by IDC) for how to make this a structured approach and I encourage everyone to take a look at it.
Keep on the great work!
It's a constant journey and for every turn on the road you will improve (i.e. increase your P2P Maturity)! The P2P Maturity Model can also be used together with your fellow partners where you as a group exercise assess each other in a positive spirit and you identify areas where you can improve together!
Partner to Partner (P2P) relationships make very great sense, as it has been very well said earlier no partner can be expert in every field at once. Then, we must share what we're doing better than other partners and learn from them where they are more skiled than us. Something is sure, we share the same interests and the same goal: business success and notoriety. Partners might behave as subsidiaries of one mother society: Microsoft Corporation and the only differences should be that we are legally independent and we have not to share loss and profits.