Partner Relationship Management (PRM): The Ultimate Channel Sales & Partnerships Podcast

25 - Partner Ecosystems: Fueled by Hyperscalers, Sold in Marketplaces, Delivered via the Channel - Rob Spee, Vince Menzione

June 29, 2023 Magentrix Season 1 Episode 25
25 - Partner Ecosystems: Fueled by Hyperscalers, Sold in Marketplaces, Delivered via the Channel - Rob Spee, Vince Menzione
Partner Relationship Management (PRM): The Ultimate Channel Sales & Partnerships Podcast
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Partner Relationship Management (PRM): The Ultimate Channel Sales & Partnerships Podcast
25 - Partner Ecosystems: Fueled by Hyperscalers, Sold in Marketplaces, Delivered via the Channel - Rob Spee, Vince Menzione
Jun 29, 2023 Season 1 Episode 25

Let us know what you think of the podcast.

Today’s partner ecosystem: fueled by hyperscalers, sold in marketplaces, and delivered through the channel. 

What can we expect of the partner experience in light of this new ecosystem model?

We discuss this and more on today's episode with our Channel Panel members: 

This production is brought to you by Magentrix ✨💜
Magentrix is a pioneer in platforms for partner ecosystem management and partner relationship management 🤝

If you haven't already, please like 👍 & subscribe! ✅ And if you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ See instructions to do so at the end of the episode.

To learn about Magentrix PRM, please visit


Podcast Credits:
Host: Paul Bird
Executive Producer: Fereshta Nouri
Content & Research: Fereshta Nouri
Graphics & Branding: Fereshta Nouri

Show Notes Transcript

Let us know what you think of the podcast.

Today’s partner ecosystem: fueled by hyperscalers, sold in marketplaces, and delivered through the channel. 

What can we expect of the partner experience in light of this new ecosystem model?

We discuss this and more on today's episode with our Channel Panel members: 

This production is brought to you by Magentrix ✨💜
Magentrix is a pioneer in platforms for partner ecosystem management and partner relationship management 🤝

If you haven't already, please like 👍 & subscribe! ✅ And if you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ See instructions to do so at the end of the episode.

To learn about Magentrix PRM, please visit


Podcast Credits:
Host: Paul Bird
Executive Producer: Fereshta Nouri
Content & Research: Fereshta Nouri
Graphics & Branding: Fereshta Nouri

Rob Spee: Hey. Paul Vince buddies, how you doing? Doing well. So good to be here, 

Vince Menzione: my friend. 

Rob Spee: This is the, the friend chat of the channels, getting back together again on the Channel Journeys platform. This time we're kind of bouncing around, but, really happy to be back with you guys and let's just have a fun conversation.

Thought we'd talk about ecosystems and hyperscalers this time. So we'll see where that takes us. We can talk about anything. There are no rules on this show today. 

Paul Bird: Perfect. It's great to be back and great not to be asking the questions today. 

Rob Spee: Same here. 

Vince Menzione: And so good to see you two like 

Rob Spee: this is a lot of fun.

It is a lot of fun. Vince, you've been busy. Paul. I know you've been busy. We've all been super busy. Who isn't these days? A lot going on, a lot of fun things happening in the partnering world that we're all getting engaged in. So we can just kind of chat about that and see where it's going. So we're all heavily involved in the ecosystems.

Hyperscalers are playing a big role on that. I'm curious, first, Paul, from your perspective, At Magentrix, what impact this is having that you're seeing on your business, your partnerships? 

Paul Bird: Well, I think what we're seeing when it comes to, to new people coming and evaluating Magentrix is that the one size fits all model of the past is really no longer applicable.

Uh, they're now looking at how do they work with different personas? How do they involve. Multiple touch points within an individual sale. The multiple points of value, as Jay always talks about are, are influence, but also involving customers as well. So they need to find an ecosystem that not only caters to transactional partners, but then the co-innovation partners.

I did a, a podcast with, uh, Tim over at Red Hat on this, but then also to be able to bring in the, the customer experience as well, so they can do a full loop on the. The CSAT scores and everything when it comes to the, the customer benefit of all of this. And that's a challenge to find a platform that can handle all of it.

Uh, fortunately, Magentrix, that's exactly what we've been doing. We've been at it for, uh, 12 years now. So, uh, but it's a, it's a take I haven't seen in the last seven years, so, and this is really being driven. By the age of the ecosystem. 

Rob Spee: I was trying to explain this at my company, kind of what's different, right?

We've always had resellers, var, VADs, service delivery partners, GSIs, hyperscalers have even been around quite a while. Vince, what do you think is really different now than before? 

Vince Menzione: So first off, I think that. Certainly in the last few years Right. Since Covid, there's been an acceleration in our lives, in the way we buy things. In terms of the technology,, the adoption rate is off the charts. Mm-hmm. And buying behaviors have also changed dramatically so that it's not the IT shop that's only making the decision, it's the line of business owner. And those people are making a decision like they purchase a car, right? 

Jay likes to talk about the seven seats at the table and that influence strategy surrounding it. It's also finally becoming understood that it's not a transaction and you're not just buying a widget, you're buying a complete solution to a problem. That might include the cloud. It might include, uh, a BeyondTrust solution.

It might include some other. Stitching or software coming from a a partner, and that doesn't happen alone. It doesn't happen in a one and done type of manner. So bringing along the ecosystem, in other words, bring the ecosystem is really what the customer thinks the ecosystem is, right? Yeah. Who are those seven partners or organizations that are coming together to influence and build that complete solution?

That's number one. The second thing we're seeing is the hyperscalers that yes, they've been around for a while. I was with Microsoft for almost 10 years. But the cloud, first of all, the aggregation, the technology just to build out these massive data centers. It's not for the fan. I mean, the massive investments required.

There's only a few companies that can do it, right? So the big three, mostly you'll see a little bit more of Oracle. But now the technology that's layered on top of that. Mm-hmm. And layer on top of that Gen ai and yeah, there's an aggregation of data. All the aggregation is happening amongst the top three, and then everyone else is basically taking advantage of their rails, right?

They're, you're coming onto their rails and taking advantage of, whether it's gen AI or whatever the technology is on their cloud as an I S V, as an si. So it's gotta all come together. So you've gotta work with your hyperscalers more succinctly. And then you also need to work with your, what we used to call channel.

Right channel journeys, but is now an ecosystem. You gotta bring all those things 

together is one. Yeah. I'm not changing it to ecosystem journeys yet. Vince so good. I don't want you to be trendy. I, I can't be too fetish or trendy. Exactly. No, but it's interesting cuz it, I think you're right. I think a lot of what's changing is the buyer behavior, right?

As you said. Because of the SaaS offerings and the way that the transaction isn't as important and the ways that they can buy today, the buyer behavior has changed, which has required the need for this orchestrated ecosystem approach. I'm not sure what the chicken or the egg is, because it was the advancement in technology that did also change the buyer behavior.

Paul Bird: Yes, absolutely. And I look back 20 years ago working for one of the first compact resellers in Canada, and for me to be able to deploy a workload, The amount of people I had to work with as far as, you know, acquiring the physical hardware from distribution to, you know, having it shipped to our office, whether it was drop shift or we went and picked it up to actually setting up and configuring the OS on all of this, this security.

I mean, this was not an easy task, like if you wanted to get. You know, even a a, a database server or web application server running, this was a week long project. I can do this in minutes now with hyperscalers. You know, when I first was exposed to this type of, of technology at scale.

This was a process and there were a lot of people involved in order to deliver an application like this. Now, if the buy button can be clicked by anybody, regardless if it's the partner, regardless if it's the end user or service provider in the middle, and that those, you know, this ecosystem of hyperscalers and 

all of the other components of it, the people haven't changed. Just the deployment and the acquisition have changed. So it, it really is an exciting time to be, you know, involved in, in the ecosystem watching the hyperscalers, uh, work. And then for us at Magentrix, where we're really focused, On the, you know, that endpoint communication with partners, you know, other stakeholders of the ecosystem, customers, and driving the best experience, like a true personalized experience that provides value.

And this is an the old partner portal that we saw five years ago or 10 years ago. This is now about adding value. And then bringing in all the components that we're seeing from the hyperscalers and other components of the ecosystem as well. 

Rob Spee: Yeah, you're talking about partner experience, customer experience.

That's been our real mantra and focus at our company. It's product experience, customer experience, partner experience, all of that. Right. And employee experience as well. And you mentioned change. You know, people haven't changed. But so much has changed that we've gotta change as people and adopt to it.

And that's, maybe we'll even get into that. The whole change management side of this is, is really challenging. 

Vince Menzione: Well, paul just mentioned the buy button and Yeah, maybe this is a, this is leading into what we were gonna talk about next, but the buy button is that marketplace offer. Yeah. And what you're starting to see, and it's really getting driven from the hyperscalers on down, is that this adoption of marketplaces.

Canals says 45 billion will flow through marketplaces by the end of 2025. 80% of that will go through the three hyperscalers, and they are driving behavior now, Microsoft's gonna have its big Microsoft Inspire conference July 18th and 19th. Tea leaves say that there's gonna be some announcements around marketplaces, like that's gonna be more of a prevalent thing next year.

So I hear and. They're driving it for a lot of reasons. First of all, it's access to their sales organization. It's access to the durable cloud budgets. The three hyperscalers aggregated have 200 billion in cloud commitments with customers. Yeah, so. And if you have a marketplace offer with any of those three, you can burn down that commitment.

The customer does not have to do a cash outlay. Especially now during this time of economic headwinds, I can access what's already been committed to my hyperscaler to purchase a BeyondTrust solution. Isn't that great? Right. It 

is great. You know, we at BeyondTrust, we've now gotten ourselves up on the Azure marketplace and the WS marketplace.

What we're learning though, is just because you build it, they don't necessarily come. Right, right. It just doesn't happen automatically. There's a lot of work you've gotta do to get that motion flowing and the motion flowing with the hyperscaler. Right. The co-selling, the co-marketing, even co-innovation.

That's possible. And Vince, that's an area that you're really focusing on, aren't you to, to help companies with this? Oh, 

I love this question. Right. So we made a big announcement just last week and, uh, we are gonna be hosting an event, a companion event. Uh, ultimate partner is pivoting to, uh, media events and advisory firm and recognizing that the hyperscalers do play such a prevalent role Yeah.

In this ecosystem. But most people are not looking at that holistically. So we're trying to bring it all together. We're gonna do our first event with Microsoft, and we hope to do events with the other other two. And the whole idea 

Rob Spee: is to bring together the, you're not playing favorites. You're gonna, you're gonna work with everyone.

We're gonna work with everyone. Uh, all right. 

Vince Menzione: But Microsoft's conference came up first, so right after inspired the day after, we're gonna host a companion event. Winning with ecosystems, it will actually feature executives from Microsoft. We're gonna have several, uh, both fireside chats and panel discussions, and we're gonna take what Microsoft just said the day before mm-hmm.

And apply it to helping partners land Microsoft Term, uh, make, make it more relevant to their strategies so they can be successful in 2024. 

Rob Spee: And this is a digital event. It is a digital event. 

Vince Menzione: I did want to do a live event. Transparency was, there was no. Location that made sense given travel budgets and timing for this year, but.

Stay tuned. We're gonna do more. I 

Rob Spee: thought you were gonna say there's no venue big enough to hold the crowd that's gonna come to your 

Paul Bird: Well, you know, I think it's a topic that people really need to be listening to, and I think your timing of this announcement is key because I still think that there is a, a large segment of the, the, at least in the technology sector, that doesn't fully understand and appreciate.

The, how the ecosystem is going to change and evolve their business. And, you know, it, it becomes a, a catchphrase that people are looking at and they don't really fully understand and appreciate it. So I think that coming off an Inspire conference, if you can actually educate and give real actionable items, A live event would've been great because hearing you speak is fantastic, but really even a digital event will enable a lot of people.

So if they haven't signed up for it, I recommend that they do. We'll put a link in the 

Rob Spee: show notes, right? Yeah, absolutely, Vince. All right. Good stuff. Absolutely. Yeah. And when is that? It is July 20th. July 20th. Let's see. Yes, I'm still in town. Good. 

Vince Menzione: Good. Well, would love to have you there. And, and you have been to one of my events before, Rob, so you It was 

Rob Spee: fantastic.

Yeah, it was very 

Vince Menzione: well, very, we're we're ramping that up so some of the same players, some more executive level people from Microsoft, very senior people at 

Rob Spee: Microsoft Yeah. Are gonna be part of this. Yeah. I think it's fascinating and, and you know, a lot of people are just kind of getting into this, but there's so much that can be done and.

We were at the executive briefing center of one of our partners recently, and we were talking about co-selling of course, and that's kind of what people first go to, but there's so much more that can be done on the co-marketing side, but also on the co-innovation side. And you talked about the technology advances of the hyperscalers and what they've built, and there's so many ways that I hadn't even thought of that other ISVs can actually tack onto that and accelerate innovation by leveraging their technology.


Vince Menzione: absolutely. This is, that's what I'm saying with regards to Gen ai, it's, it's, it's taking first of all the, the time to get to market. I know Paul has some a point of view on this as well, from what Magentrix has done. But it's gonna accelerate time to market, it's gonna accelerate a lot of things that we haven't even thought about yet in terms of the relationship between the I SV and their solution set.

Yeah. And the hyperscalers 

Rob Spee: capabilities broadly. You know, when marketplaces came out, multiple parties were really fearful of this taking over their business and pushing them out first. The resellers and partners. Yeah. What are you seeing, Paul, in your, in your customer community on that front? 

Paul Bird: Well, you know, you talk about the change in technology just as it applies to hyperscalers in the last short period of time, and now we are in the infancy.

Of generative ai. I think back, and in 2000, which is my God, 23 years ago I got my first Blackberry. It ran on a AA battery. It was the greatest device I had ever had in the world. Now, fast forward 20 plus years later, not only is that also just completely out of date and irrelevant anymore, but how far we've come when it comes to.

Mobile computing. So let's take this same and apply it to now. What open ai, what Microsoft is doing, what Google's doing with Bard. What is this gonna look like in two years from now, five years from now, 20 years from now? This is going to change our landscape. And if the technology is evolving as quick as if chat G P T or any generative AI evolves at the same rate as technology, which I don't think it will, I think it'll be a lot faster.

This is going to change our entire landscape in a very short period of time, well within our lifetimes. So from a Magentrix perspective, we were the first ones to integrate OpenAI into our P rm. And first thing we did, we said, this is an easy one. Nobody wants to log into a partner portal anymore. So, you know what?

Just copy it on the conversation that you're gonna have with the channel manager. Chat. GPT will go grab everything, register the deal on your behalf, and just send you a confirmation that it's done with a link to it. And that's been working. Fantastic. Now we're evaluating what else can we do with this?

How can we enable ecosystems to leverage this as almost digital labor? You know? Offering predictive, you know, deep analytics into historical opportunities. And then prompt the partner with the right collateral at the right point in the sales cycle. Follow up with the partner in the ecosystem to say, you know, have you made any progress?

Find that X number of days go by and you start losing your opportunity to close the deal. What else can we leverage this for? And again, we're in the inea, it hasn't even been out six, well, it's been at what, seven months so far. And I, I think that we're just seeing the very early on application, but it is an exciting point to be involved in this, uh, this vertical and seeing how this is going to affect our lives.

I think it's gonna be in a positive way. Yeah. Yeah. 

Rob Spee: Just it's, who knows? I mean, it's just, it's frightening and, and exciting of what could potentially come in the next couple of years with this. Right, Vince? 

Vince Menzione: Yes. And one of the sessions we're gonna have is on generative ai. Are you at the, at the event? Yeah.

We have Microsoft coming into the room, both the business applications and the modern work team together to talk about this future of copilot and generative ai and what it can do to streamline, you know, as Paul is dis discussing here with with his application. But think about all the things we do from a single pane of glass.

Yeah, with business applications like CRM or Office 365 and what all the things that we can do with AI layered on top of that. 

Rob Spee: Yeah, I was, I was wondering, Vince, with all the time you're spending with these hyperscalers, are you getting a sense of where they're going? Not just in developing the technology, which, which they're all doing, but using the technology, you know, other folks are figuring out ways to use this, like Paul.

But what are the hyperscalers planning to do with it? Well, I was 

Vince Menzione: at Google's event just back last month. 

Rob Spee: Yeah. I gotta to speak at their ISV forum. And 

Vince Menzione: I got to hear directly from Google's leadership on the AI side about some of the innovation going on. And you know, they were quite sort of in the chats of this chat G B T thing.

Right. And maybe people thought they missed the mark, but they are coming on really strong. I've tried. Mm-hmm. I've been using both Bard and Chat, G B T myself. I like them both. But Google came from search, they came from machine learning and ai. Yeah. And so they've got a lot to share. They're also layer into their business applications, their strategies, their vertical approaches, you know, across financial services, healthcare, and the like.

So they're not sleeping at the wheel. 

Rob Spee: I'm sure not. What's been interesting 

Vince Menzione: is AWS has been a little quiet. I haven't heard much from them yet, but everything that the retail side of the house is built on is really machine learning and ai. Mm-hmm. 

Rob Spee: So interesting to see what's gonna happen. Yeah, it is very interesting.

You wonder where it's, where it's gonna take us. Hey, Vince, have you tried using chat G b T yet to write your show notes? I have, 

Vince Menzione: I have, I would say to a limited success. Not too bad. Yeah. Like I'll take some things out of it. I have used it more for LinkedIn posts. Have you? And yeah, and, and you know what I did today?

I had a thought on my ride, my bike ride this morning and I came back and I said, write me an article about this subject. And it wrote a, I haven't f fully read it yet, but it's, it wrote a really fabulous piece. Taking into consideration the whole topic matter. Yeah. I was like, wow, 

Rob Spee: that was actually scary to see.

It is scary. I keep forgetting to use it. I don't about you guys. 

Paul Bird: You know, I, I hope that we can, as we evolve with the, you know, and begin to interact, uh, with these types of, of tasking components like generative AI and chat, G P T. That we also start to learn from them as well. Uh, because there was a, a book I read a few years ago by a gentleman by the name of Hi Tim Hudson, called Think Better.

And the it really challenged you to go beyond your initial thought process to get your brain working. And one of the examples he is had is, you know what? Pick a topic, give me. 10 things. 10. Your top 10 thoughts. Top 10 colors. Go ahead and pick 10. And then after you're done the 10, do 10 more. Now if we ask Chad g p t to it, it can start running off thousands in a row.

But for, for us, after we get to 10, It becomes a little bit more difficult. We actually have to think. So what I'm hoping as the technology evolves that not only will it make some of the more mundane tasks a little easier, but educate us to become more knowledgeable about specific subjects and not just do it for us.

So it that'll be interesting to see how it plays out. I know that at Magentrix, as we're looking to automate this, we really wanna make the partner account manager's job easier. But at the same time, we want to educate people using, uh, chat, G P T. To provide them the insights and the analytics that are more than just what you would see on the surface.

So it again, uh, I think it's going to be an interesting time to see how we do it. And I use it all the time. I use it. I think it's great for creating a framework, but then I will always go and tweak the information. I haven't done my show notes. On, uh, with chat G p T, but I, I do end up, uh, you know, if I've got a want to phrase an idea in an email or within a presentation a little bit better, I'll run it through chat.

G p t ask it to make it easier to understand. And it, it does a great job of, uh, of doing what I ask 

Rob Spee: it to. Yeah. And I think that's a really good hope that it makes us smarter, not dumber, right. That we just kinda lean on and let us do all the thinking for us. 

Paul Bird: Exactly. You know, be, 


Rob Spee: I'm always brought 

Vince Menzione: back to, uh, the conversations we were having when the web first started up, right when the internet first became a thing and everybody started putting up a, a website and a, and a homepage and a sales page.

And saying that sales was gonna go away and it never did. Right. It just, it enabled sellers to become more effective at what they were doing. Right. Yeah. And I hope that's the case here, and I believe it is. I, you know, my daughter's a senior copywriter for a FinTech company. And I think it's gonna make her job easier, but it's not gonna replace her job because mm-hmm.

There's still, mm-hmm. First of all, there's the human element that it doesn't have, yeah. It doesn't necessarily show that human emotion plus a, again, like Paul said, it's, uh, it's a way to frame up maybe a topic mm-hmm. But not complete it, not to do it on your 

Rob Spee: behalf. Yeah. Well, let's pivot. I want to talk about dis distribution and hyperscalers because that is definitely a kind of a collision point right now from what I'm seeing, you know, in the marketplace.

And distributors seem to be pivoting a bit and positioning themselves as the ecosystem orchestrator. Yeah. But what does that mean and what is their role versus the marketplace and how do they, can they coexist? This is a loaded question. I 

Vince Menzione: don't know. I don't know the answer. And what I will say is I do believe there's a, a level of reinvention that is gonna continue to have to happen for the distribution.

Mm-hmm. Where they, of course, you know, it was credit, it was delivery, uh, describing that compact computer. They had it on the shelf and they could send it to Paul. That's what, and the value was that they could provide credit to you. Mm-hmm. And that's the way it started out in the day. Right. They were aggregators.

The cloud has, what they've been to, the hyperscalers has been the scale element, the long tail, I like to refer to it as, right. So, mm-hmm. Who are the hundreds of thousands of, we used to call VARs, MSPs, you know, systems and everyone down the ch the chain down to the customer in Sheboygan and activating them on technology and activating them on incentives and so on and so on.

But does that change with marketplace? That's the question. Do they have a vital role in aggregating marketplaces? Hard to say. It's hard to say 

Rob Spee: for me at this 

Paul Bird: point. Yeah. Well, maybe not in the North American market, but maybe in the apac, uh, you know, other regions they could play a role, but they, like all business, they have to evolve.

If we go back 20 years ago, when you start talking about the evolution of the internet, if you weren't, uh, prepared, To acquire your own domain name, nevermind. Put up a website, uh, you got forgotten about pretty quickly, you know, in the age of e-commerce, if you weren't prepared to go from moving things from the store shelf to now drop shipping them, you know, either directly or through someone like Amazon.

You got forgotten about pretty quickly. So I think what the age we're in now is that distribution has been tremendously valuable over the last 25, 30 years. And they're going to need to evolve again to be a continue, uh, to be part of that value chain. And, uh, you know, with the likes of. TD, Synex and Ingram, uh, there's a lot of smart people over there.

I'm confident that they will, uh, evolve and continue to be part of value, whether they're an orchestrator, whether they're providing more regional support, uh, you know, throughout different global markets. And there could be that still credit game, there's still access to capital that, uh, that they may play a part of as well.

So, uh, they'll evolve. I'm, they're not going away anytime soon. Yeah, and I 

Rob Spee: think they are what I'm seeing, we have a two-tier distribution strategy at BeyondTrust and are leaning very heavily on the VADs, but more on from a customer success perspective, meaning the services element of it. And so they're really stepping up and providing us scale, both in partner service, partner enablement and service partner certifications, but also actual service delivery, you know?

Either going out and doing the projects directly or being bench extensions to the partners. That's the big, big role that they're evolving to for us. And marketplaces obviously can't fulfill that. Maybe they'll, maybe that's a role they'll get into hyperscalers in the future, but today that's not their role.

Vince Menzione: Another role they might carry on behalf of the hyperscalers is the, at least in the public sector space, is owning some of the contract vehicles. Oh yeah. So Hyperscalers in general will not have a direct contract with the US Department of Defense or the State of Wisconsin, or you know, yeah. The local agencies.

But aggregating that and being the transactional engine for that, for the hyperscaler, it might be an interesting play for them 

Rob Spee: as well. Yeah, I think so. You know, another big, big thing that's happening at Hyperscalers this year and end of last year were layoffs Vince, you know, a lot of big layoffs in, in those hyperscalers.

What are you kind of hearing and seeing any, any impact from that? Yeah, it's, it's 

Vince Menzione: a very interesting time. Rob. Microsoft laid off about 10,000 people. A lot of them came out of the partner side of the business. Mm-hmm. We did see, by the way, I think a inordinate number of people that were on the layoff side were either in marketing or partnership related roles, right?

Mm-hmm. Across, I think, and I, I think that goes back to the old mindset of a CEO and a CRO that says, if I can't touch it, And feel it. It ain't so Right. With the channel, people get, or, you know, one, one step removed from the customer in their minds. Yeah. Which I, I don't believe to be true, by the way. What it's, what it means is that we all need to do more with less.

Right. The hyperscalers have, if you're working with the hyperscalers, you're getting less support, you're getting less people supporting you, or you're not gonna get that nurturing that you maybe thought you were gonna get before. Mm-hmm. And then within your own organization, you might have less resources as well.

Yeah. So you gotta be smarter in your execution. I think you need to triage. Uh, you know, I look across some of my, uh, clients that I advise. Maybe there's relationships that they have that maybe are not necessarily productive or bearing fruit. Mm-hmm. And maybe you need to look at your business a little harder and say, who are the 20% that are producing the 80% and lean in heavily there.

Yeah. And I think that's 

Paul Bird: true for everybody today. I've seen the same thing, Rob. I've seen. Channel programs where they've either drastically reduced the, the headcount or canceled it altogether because it's easier to attribute the sale to directly to from a direct seller to the end user. Uh, I think it's a little bit shortsighted because I think it limits their growth at scale.

I think it limits their growth to a single, uh, vertical market. I don't think it allows them to expand globally, but I think it's, uh, a result of the, the current market conditions. And at the same time though, I've surprisingly, I've seen organizations that have decided, you know what, these are the market conditions we're in going entirely through channel, and we're gonna teach our direct reps now to sell through channel.

And that's a transition. That's a transition to go from a direct sales person now to a channel manager. I, I'm also seeing it happen in reverse as well, so it's encouraging. Yeah, I 

Rob Spee: don't know if there's any like Jay McBain meter channel meter that measures the sentiment of pro channel con versus, you know, con channel.

Do you have a sense, do you feel like it's more pro today? I think 

Paul Bird: from what I've seen, I've seen more people that are, are working on the direct side of things, uh, only because of the, the pullback I've seen from people that are, are going through channel. And I think that is because we've had this, this tough economic time and people are, a lot of the investment firms are, will say a little reluctant to take risk and invest in new technology companies.

I think as the economy rebounds in the, the coming months or you know, into to next year and we see that investment back into the technology vertical, then I think we'll also see the growth of channel programs, partner ecosystems at the same time. Yeah. 

Rob Spee: What I'm seeing it's interesting is, you know, it's always hard at the beginning of the year, end of this year, whatever, making targets right, of how much business are we gonna do and how much through the channel and everything, and we're not growing as fast and as in terms of business through the traditional channel.

As I had, as I had planned for. But where we're growing faster is the business with the ecosystem. So, you know, the engagement of our technology alignments, alliance partners, the engagement of service delivery partners, engagement with the hyperscalers, that's what's growing at a much faster rate and, and really boosting, if you consider the total partner business for 

Paul Bird: sure.

And I think one of the things we're also seeing is because there is this kind of little bit of reduction in headcount within people managing the ecosystem, that the importance of automation, the importance of a, an enhanced personalized partner experience is really the way for you to grow your ecosystem.

With less people, less headcount managing it, you know, create that, that experience of value. You know, give people a reason to engage with your, with your technology platform, with your, you know, your marketplace listing. That really is what I think is going to, to help people separate themselves and make them, you know, a step ahead of their competitors.

Is creating that perfect partner experience, whether that's in a a PRM or a partner ecosystem management tool, whether it's the direct engagement partner, eco or partner experience, now has to be a core focus of anyone that is growing their program through an ecosystem model. Yeah, and 

Rob Spee: I think, Vince, you nailed it.

People have to work smarter, right? And that's leveraging the tools and technologies that you're talking about, Paul. It's not being complacent. We've gotta be really, we've gotta be a players. We've gotta be on our game, right? And do more with what we've got. I still think we need to 

Vince Menzione: bring the eSuite, the, I'm sorry.

We need to bring the C-suite on board. In a big way. Mm-hmm. I was at, I was at mentioned earlier, I was at the Super Note event last week, and Bob Moore was the CEO of Crossbeam, had a terrific presentation on ecosystem led growth and the importance of it. But he said emphatically that we've only brought around maybe six to 8% of organizations across the C-Suite get ecosystem led growth.

Yeah, we've gotta bring the rest of 'em on board. I don't, you know, I don't wanna put you on the spot, Rob. Obviously you, uh, you work within an organization where, yeah, ecosystem's important. What do you see from your side? 

Rob Spee: Well, that has been my drumbeat since I got in the company. So I have made a really concerted effort, and that was my mandate when I joined, was to build this ecosystem.

So I don't think they knew exactly what that meant and what it could do, but they knew it was the right path. So it's been a journey and we've all been working together to figure out what can it do for us, right? We've, in fact, I was just, uh, presenting at our monthly company update that we do in the company, and I got a chance to spend six minutes saying, Hey, here's where we're at.

The story I gave was that, okay. When I first joined, the mission was to build the ecosystem. Great news. We've done that. Now what we're doing is what we call intelligent channeling. And that is orchestrating the ecosystem and applying it in very smart ways of leveraging the different strengths of partners.

So do we need one partner in the account, 2, 3, 4? You know, whatever it takes to surround the customer with everything that they need to be successful throughout the buyer's journey. And I've been preaching this and, and educating myself and educating the E L T and the C-suite to keep them, you know, coming along, board the journey.

And, and now we're at a phase of, Okay, how do we start leveraging it for the innovation? That's the next step. So intelligent channeling and then innovation is, is the next place to go. So I feel like we've made a lot of progress and do have good, you know, c-suite understanding and collaboration, but it's, it's not easy.

It takes a lot of dedicated effort to do 

Vince Menzione: that. You're looking at the, the client executive as that point of orchestration. Where, where do you see the orchestration happening? 

Rob Spee: Boy, I don't know if there's any single point. You know, we talked about the distributor as the orchestrator. The channel account manager plays a big role on that because, Each sales rep has a channel manager that they can go to to help them say, who do I need to do service delivery?

Who do I need to do, put this deal through? Who has contacts? Who has the, the service, uh, or the, uh, CL security clearance, you know, that can go through there. So the cams play a really big role, but we're trying to educate the reps to where they can do it themselves. And they, we used to say, Hey, every rep should have like his own little team of sellers out in the channel.

Right now, I think every rep should have their own little ecosystem. And understand who those players 

Paul Bird: are. Have your go-to people that get the job done. Big fan of that. Yeah, 

Rob Spee: so I like turning the tables. Vince, you asked me a question. What are any other questions for me? I liked asking you a question. 

Vince Menzione: What are the biggest challenges you're seeing as a chief ecosystem officer in a major I s v?

Like, what, what, what are the things that are keeping you up at night? 

Rob Spee: You know, it, it, I get asked that a lot and I think certainly change management is tough, right? I. And we talked about that, educating the sellers, educating even our channel team and getting them up to speed on this new motion. The whole motion of the ecosystem.

So I think change management is number one. That's the second biggest one. And sometimes it's even the highest one is just getting systems to be, to catch up with the rate of change, right? We're driving change and transformation faster than our. Systems can keep up because how do you track all of this?

How do you track influence? How do you track six partners in a deal? How do you track and compensate people? It's not easy. So there, I think you touched on this too, Paul, you know, systems weren't set up to do this, so it's, it's. That's a big, 

Paul Bird: big challenge. And I think it's also how do you preserve the mind share?

Uh, there is, with so many different players inside of a single deal, everyone has to be looking in the same direction. So how do you preserve that mind share? And a lot of it is about enablement and empowering people. I was actually talking to somebody in an event, uh, last week that has created these kind of short, you know, two minute like episodes like you would see on Netflix.

That really tell a story about a brand, about an effort and using that kind of micro-learning, but through really engaging episode content in order to to drive behavior. No. The focus he was working on was really about employee retention, and at that point they had reduced, uh, employee churn, I believe by 18%.

But, you know, employee retention, partner onboarding, partner retention, this is all the same mechanism. So, you know, being able to create, I thought it was a great idea, having kind of a very well-engineered, uh, content that partners can create or that brands can create for their partners. Does that keep everyone looking in the same direction so we can maintain mindshare?