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Guest post by Tina Hanson, Partner-to-Partner Lead for the Microsoft U.S. Partner Team
It’s a simple statement: partners who come together can accomplish more. Over the past couple of years, I have been responsible for thinking about the partner-to-partner (P2P) experience, and have seen first-hand that partners who collaborate with one another experience a direct and positive impact to their respective businesses, with increases to productivity, revenues, and customer reach.
Successful P2P collaboration does take work, though, starting with identifying and making the connection with complementary partners. If you have tried to build these relationships in the past without success, or have been uncertain about whether the investment of time and effort will benefit your business, perhaps my ideas below will help you take the plunge and have a plan as you begin to explore the different partner communities, and different ways to collaborate with other partners, that are out there.
In general, there are two reasons partners come together: business networking and information exchange.
In business networking, partners typically work together to serve a common customer, each bringing their expertise to the table to deliver a complete solution. Here are ways this type of networking can help you build your business.
This may seem like an obvious way to engage with other partners, but the value of this kind of P2P connection for growing your business really lies in how much you are willing to commit to sharing and participating. The most frequent types of information exchange scenarios I see partners utilizing are:
Recently, I had the opportunity to see information exchange work beautifully, at one of the Online Services Workshops we’ve held in several local markets. At one point during the 6-hour session, we split into small groups of three to four individuals. Each group started breaking down the various considerations for each of them to transition their current business models and practices to the cloud. Despite the fact that the members of each group were likely to be competitors, the amount of sharing and interest in learning from each other was amazing to watch, and I think each of the participants took away something new and valuable from just that part of the workshop.
The partner-to-partner scenarios above are the ones I most commonly hear about as I talk to partners and to my colleagues at Microsoft who work with partners. I hope you find them useful for starting to build your plans, or expanding your current plans, to collaborate with other IT companies. Over the next several weeks on this blog, I’ll continue to explore how partners are succeeding by working together. If you have a success story of your own, I’d love to hear it. Send me a note at partnerQ@microsoft.com, or post a note for me on the U.S. Partner Community Facebook discussion or LinkedIn discussion.
Tina Hanson Partner-to-Partner Lead Microsoft U.S. Partner Team