Investment related to digital transformation will drive a substantial portion of growth in technology markets over the next years. Organizations undergoing such transformative processes are increasingly requiring a much broader set of skills, knowledge and disparate technologies than in the recent past. As in many other fields and markets, this is due to the fact that complexity is on the rise.
Being able to respond to this kind of broader demand has been traditionally the competitive advantage of big global system integrators, the ones that focus and serve to big and mid-market organizations. But reaching the full potential of digital transformation is becoming a mandatory goal to a much broader types of companies and business, including the smaller ones. Those are increasingly forced to turn to multiple vendors for specific expertise.
Technology partners have always been hesitant about working with other partners. The partner landscape in the IT industry can be described as an interesting mix of reciprocal respect but also fierce competition at the same time. Most of resellers and integrators would consider a heresy joining forces with potential competitors for fear of losing out on future deals.
But as the market shifts and customer demands change, reliable partner-to-partner relationships are starting to be considered and formed to access specific capabilities required to complete specific projects. According to some analyst, this kind of partnerships could end up being the new “normal” as organizations take a more open approach to how they want to interact with each other, and technological partners realize they can obtain a successful outcome by focusing on their own strengths and aligning with other partners who provide complimentary offerings.
Benefits of a ‘super-partner’
The Cloud Collective in Australia is a good example of technology partners working together to better service their joint customers. A strategic alliance of three leading Microsoft Gold partners born to address the new broader and more sophisticated requirements of the mid-market, this partnership represents an innovative way of servicing the growing needs of customers across the Microsoft cloud technology stack.
The Cloud Collective is formed by Skype for Business specialist Modality Systems, IT consultants Antares Solutions and managed services provider Quorum. All three organizations had been working together for around three years in a more informal and reactive manner, but recently decided to sign a formal agreement to create a ‘super-partner’ to expand its individual capabilities and jointly address new markets.
The Cloud Collective provides the boutique experience the mid-market asks for while maintaining all the benefits of smaller vendors, such as specialization, access to senior staff or lack of bureaucracy. Customers working with Cloud Collective can now deal with a single ‘go to partner’, reducing complexity and overhead they have traditionally been burdened with when dealing with different providers. The new entity will provide customers with access to skills and Know How usually reserved for bigger systems integrators, while offering end-user engagement difficult to deliver by many larger players.
Cloud Collective has already received backing from Microsoft, considering it a good example of partners working together to better service final customers using their corporate technologies. The company has been vocal about its desire for its partners to work with other partners. Initiatives like Cloud Collective perfectly align with what CEO Satya Nadella has done over the last three years around redefining Microsoft’s partnering approach. The corporate philosophy behind Microsoft’s new love affair with building strong support for Linux, Apple or Android also seems to coincide with the motto that stands out in Cloud Collective home page: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”