When I was a young lad, I remember feeling some annoyance when people would refer to multiple friends as their “best friend”. In my young mind, to be a “best friend” meant to be better than all others and that there could only be one ‘best’.
And so it is with partnering. The Pareto principle holds true a great majority of the time; that 80% of your results will come from 20% of your customers (or partners). As a partner-only organisation, for Azured, this is demonstrated in our major alliances with Telstra, Microsoft, VMware and Palo Alto.
I believe there are very practical reasons around this statistic. Namely, to develop any serious level of capability within a given stack requires a significant investment in time and effort. Every organisation makes decisions around the types of business it wants to pursue with the best work to win being firmly in your wheel house (take it from an Azure specialist).
Moreover, having a small partner pool means you can invest real time into building relationships within these businesses, aligning your strategy with theirs. The saying goes that “it’s difficult to serve two masters” which, in the context of partnering, is an increasingly complicated dance to keep your key partners placated as you get into bed with their competitors (an answer to those people asking me if Azured will ever do AWS!)
This is not to say Azured doesn’t consider new partnerships but rather to say we are realistic in our expectation on what it takes to build a meaningful relationship. When pressed on what it takes, I often reply that it’s a 12 month journey with a minimum investment of $100,000. This reflects the training of your team, the creation of a USP and the development of a sales and marketing campaign.
Further to this, in our experience, some principles for building meaningful partnerships include:
Honesty is key. Be upfront. No partner is naïve enough to believe they are the only company you deal with.
Don’t go wide, go deep. Align with a smaller set of partners and go deep within their product stack.
Make bold decisions that underscore your commitment. For us, we are not a Microsoft CSP, though we do a lot of Microsoft work. We do this to show how partner-focused we are, enabling our partners to act as CSP.
Loyalty matters. Never forget whom helped you get where you are. The IT industry is a small place and news of bad behavior travels fast.
Success begets success. When developing new relationships, its winning deals that is the fuel for a long term partnership.
Show value first. Don’t begin by expecting a handout. Offer value first and build from that foundation.
To summarise, create something of meaning, go deep with a few and give first. These are the key principles I feel underpin strong relationships. If you think these align with your business values and would like to learn more about partnering with Azured, please feel free to contact us.