I found this to be so true in …
- Investing – I get great advice and picks from my retired father-in-law who watches CNN Money and CNBC religiously, and reads SmartMoney and the Daily Investor in his spare time
- Marriage – I found someone who’s patient, analytical (which balances out my free spirit nature) and doesn’t mind washing dishes
- Business – This was apparent when we hosted our very first RES Partner Advisory Board Meeting a few weeks ago in Boston – a city once known as “Athens of America” – at the lovely Boston Harbor Hotel (where we sure did luck out on with gorgeous 80 degree weather!)
We were privileged to have partners from around the globe join us for a few days to share their views and observations on trends in the market, RES Software solutions and direction, and what they needed from us to help them become even more successful.
While communicating with our customers is obviously important (which is why we held our first Customer Advisory Board meeting earlier this year), communicating with partners is just as important. Channel partners are our customers too at the end of the day, and are thus part of the lifeblood of our company.
A special thanks to the partners who joined us at this session:
- US partners: iAccess, Accordant Technology, Choice Solutions, LANStatus, and VDX
- Canadian partners: Compugen, Gibraltar Solutions
- EMEA partners who flew across the pond to join us, jet lag and all: BT ENGAGE IT, BusinessMann, De ICTIVITY Groep, EnvokeIT AB, OISG, and PQR
Our primary goals were to listen to our partners, actively communicate organizational and product updates, and then develop plans around their feedback.
So, what did our partners want from the Partner Advisory Board Meeting?
Newer partners wanted to learn from more seasoned RES Software partners, while veteran partners who switched from the competition wanted to learn about best practices and network. Overall, everyone wanted to gain a deeper understanding of RES Software’s direction and technology to sell our solution better.
What were some of our lessons learned?
We spoke with the partners to get their insight into the market. Some of the macro trends our partners are seeing include:
- IT is an obstacle to innovation. They used to provide “magic,” but today they are perceived as rigid and inefficient. Customers are looking for a better experience and aren’t necessarily willing to wait for IT to upgrade its technologies; thus the existence and persistence of “Shadow IT.”
- IT wants to keep and stay relevant, while helping the business.
- Security continues to be a big issue, especially with Cloud services.
- Divisions outside of IT are influencing more IT spending, including HR and Finance.
- Talent Acquisition is getting harder and harder with resource and OPEX pressures.
What are the strategic business goals for partners in the upcoming 3-5 years?
This session was quite insightful as we learned where and how our partners are looking to expand their businesses. Recurring revenue and consumption models were common themes, while some partners had strategies around better specialization (focus on verticals, mobility). What I thought was interesting were the partners who wanted to build an ecosystem and were looking to sell the “experience” by developing Experience Centers instead of merely selling products – “Don’t sell the coffee beans, sell the coffee.”
What were the Partner Advisory Board Members’ perspectives of RES Software?
We had a third-party facilitator help in discussions with our partners. He captured some great feedback during a closed-door session without any RES Software folks in the room. The post session feedback highlights were:
- Strong Technology: RES Software had compelling features and functions with higher quality than other marketplace solutions
- Culture of Integrity: Felt the organization had a culture where high quality people across the organization consistently took the time to listen and take action
- Innovative: Good direction, market leadership, and vision with a strong technology partner ecosystem
- Excited to be part of the RES Community: Energy was high as everyone recognized the commitment RES has to our partners, with support ratings consistently high, and excellent post-sales support committed to the channel
Some of my favorite quotes from the event:
- “The IT Store blew my mind [when I first heard about it]”
- “I evaluated about 80 different solutions to find the best and only selected six for my portfolio — which includes RES”
- “Are you going to ‘RES’ this? [to help with efficiency and productivity of new services and applications]”
- “Wahh… this water is freezing…” the result of the ice bucket challenge accepted by one of partners during the event
Thanks to all of our partners for a great event! I’ll like to end with another quote from a very wise man…