John Guido | March 24, 2020

Building a Partner-to-partner ecosystem_channel alliancesIT solution providers are aware of the critical role channel alliances and P2P ecosystems play when it comes to providing a comprehensive solution to meet clients’ needs. 

“Everyone knows they need to look at industries adjacent to them, build a partner ecosystem non-competitively, and strike alliances,” says Forrester’s Ecosystems, Channels, Partnerships, & Alliances Principal Analyst, Jay McBain. 

However, many firms continue to partner ad hoc rather than implement an ecosystem approach to collaboration.

Let’s take a look at the challenges firms who utilize P2P collaboration face, and best practices to overcome those challenges by implementing a P2P ecosystem approach.

P2P Collaboration Challenges

The most notable challenges firms face when partnering include:

  • Wasted resources – When partnering ad hoc, it takes a lot of time and money (and luck) to research and vet IT solution provider partners. With a P2P ecosystem in place, however, this challenge is avoidable, as you have built established relationships with a network of trusted providers.

“Pre-vetting partners is very expensive and hard to do.” – Jay McBain

  • Transparency – Since a partner’s work reflects back on your company, you want to be sure partners are thoroughly vetted so that their work is up to your company’s standards. By implementing a P2P ecosystem approach, you can mitigate risk, as transparency is a crucial pillar of building channel alliances.
  • Migrating legacy systems– For companies still using the linear channel model, migrating to an ecosystem model for partnership can prove challenging. Setting up and managing these networks is uncharted territory for many incumbent businesses. Typically, these companies use acquisitions to enter new spaces. However, defining the roles and responsibilities of a P2P orchestrator can help alleviate this challenge. More on the orchestrator role later…

P2P Implementation Best Practices

Implementing a P2P ecosystem approach is the solution to the aforementioned challenges. However, the biggest challenge upon deciding to utilize an ecosystem approach is, arguably, the adoption. 

The secret to successful P2P ecosystem adoption is in company-wide implementation. In most cases, the CEO typically identifies skill gaps and sets the direction for collaboration, and a service manager often takes the lead on implementing P2P collaboration in a company’s sales cadence. However, it is important to ingrain the ecosystem approach across your organization and culture. Best practices to do so include:

  1. Understand your project clearly 

Before you look for someone to collaborate with, your firm should have a clear understanding of project needs, necessary deliverables, and desired goals for the project to be considered a success. You must also be able to clearly and concisely communicate project requirements and goals to a partner. 

  1. Communicate regularly 

Don’t focus more on the marketing when in a P2P collaboration but on your partner’s responses. It would be best if you inquired how they feel about specific decisions that you would want to take. They expect to be treated as trustworthy partners, and this means the communication needs to be open. Try to engage them regularly and consider their feedback carefully. 

  1. Establish an orchestrator 

When building your partner ecosystem and implementing the P2P approach within your organization, it is absolutely vital to establish an orchestrator. What is an orchestrator, you ask? Much like how the conductor of an orchestra organizes and unifies the ensemble, an orchestrator’s role within a P2P ecosystem is to organize and manage the ecosystem, define strategy, and identify potential new partners.

By utilizing these best practices in implementing a P2P approach, your firm stands to gain:

  • Transparent and trustworthy partnerships
  • New opportunities in the IT sector
  • Time and money that was being spent on vetting partners
  • A chance to grow your IT business

Current P2P members Ricardo Rossi Neto, Client Partner at Zilker Technology, and Ruben Diaz, Director of Sales at NeoLore Networks, were able to create a successful partnership using the aforementioned best practices. 

NeoLore identified a service opportunity with their client, a large airline. While NeoLore provides IT infrastructure (on site and as an MSP) and training services, they did not have the internal skills needed to address their client’s needs for a specific project around implementing security policies. NeoLore partnered with Zilker to provide API integration services to complete this project. Thus, NeoLore  leveraged a P2P collaboration approach with Zilker in order to fill that skill gap and provide a comprehensive solution for the airline.

P2P Global – The Ultimate Solution to Overcoming P2P Collaboration Challenges

Joining a P2P ecosystem platform like P2P Global enables you to streamline implementation of a P2P ecosystem approach and encourages firms to try new processes to be more efficient. By pre-vetting service providers, P2P Global also helps your company save time and money and mitigate risk. 

Of using P2P Global, Ricardo stated, “P2P Global aims to decrease the barrier that exists when companies that don’t know each other try to partner. The intent is to expose skills and experience in ways that could benefit potential partners who require those skills and experience. We want to find and partner with more pre-vetted companies like NeoLore, and create an ecosystem of alliances where it is clear we have complementary skills to deliver. While P2P Global facilitates the initial P2P engagement, we are very likely to establish a referral agreement when we are matched and build a track record with a trusted partner.”

NeoLore created an opportunity and was able to use the P2P Global platform to initiate the opportunity. “It was easy to create the opportunity on the platform – a matter of minutes. In addition to considering other curated candidates for opportunities, we like that we can include our ‘favorite companies,’” like Zilker, said Ruben. “Being a Canadian company with operations in the US, we especially appreciate the opportunity to partner with companies that need help to address cross-border IT project challenges.”

With P2P Global, you can create or respond to partnership opportunities for IT projects. P2P Global then curates a list of potential partners based on skill set, and verified through the platform, eliminating the resource-wasting step of hunting for and vetting partners ad hoc.

You can count on P2P Global’s collaborative marketplace for the following:

  • The opportunity to post IT projects and specify the skills, experience, and certifications that you prefer.
  • Freedom to respond to IT projects for which you are fully qualified.
  • A streamlined partnership process.

Are you looking to join P2P Global? Visit today for a free trial.

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