Due to its wide-ranging benefits and applicability across sectors, Internet of Things (IoT) has been labelled as ‘the next Industrial Revolution’. Multiple sectors as varied as Healthcare, Manufacturing, Logistics and ecommerce are aggressively adopting IoT.
Partnerships enable IoT solution vendors to accelerate. They help overcomes capability gaps and feature gaps in their solutions. They reduce time-to-market by leveraging partners’ existing resources and relationships. Thus, knowing how to form IoT partnerships is a critical strategic skill that can make the difference between staying relevant and going out of business. Here we look into some best practices to form partnerships in IoT.
Find and Create Joint Value
Successful and long lasting partnerships are built on one or more strong, joint-value propositions. When considering potential partners, evaluate what each company gets from the partnership, and how these fit within each other’s overall strategy, capabilities, resources and offerings.
Understand and quantify the extent of the value provided to the solution, the channel, and the customer. Avoid “one way” partnerships and focus instead on creating a “two-way” fit in as many areas as possible, from development, go-to-market and support.
Plan Ahead for Changes in the Partnership
As the IoT market and ecosystems evolve, so will the partnerships. The nature of the changes in the market will drive how the partnerships are affected. Some partnerships will go away, while others need to be re-scoped.
For example, IoT connectivity technologies may coalesce around a certain standard, which will render some partnerships obsolete. In other cases, as IoT platforms expand to manage edge devices, analytics solutions providers will need to expand partnerships with edge device manufacturers.
Strive for Quality, Not Quantity
It’s critical for companies to partner selectively and not over-partner. It’s more important to commit to a small number of partnerships with strong joint value and get things done, than a large number of partnerships that drain valuable resources and accomplish nothing.
Many times, smaller companies want to partner with more established companies because it provides them with fast credibility. But unless there’s real, two-way value in the partnership, it’s best to avoid those and focus on the few partners that can help advance the business.
Prioritizing New Markets and Opportunities
Partnerships often move slowly at first, because the sales teams are reluctant to engage. They don’t want to disrupt current deals by confusing their customers. In addition, they haven’t yet established a working relationship with their counterparts and are learning to trust each other.
One good ice-breaker strategy is to prioritize the pursuit of new opportunities that neither side is currently in. This allows the field teams to work together on a clean account in a safe environment, without being held back by personal interests.
Develop “Ecosystems Thinking”
As new use cases emerge and IoT ecosystems continue to evolve, solutions vendors must look beyond their corporate boundaries to be successful. Whether they like it or not, their success depends on the success of their partners and the ecosystem.
Successful vendors are ecosystems architects, not just solutions providers. Training executive and managers to become “systems thinkers”, developing product managers and engineers into systems engineers, and incorporating systems engineering methodologies into their product development programs are all important approaches.
Robust Partnership: Crucial for IoT Success
It’s quite clear that we have begun to scratch the surface of the benefits possible where the Internet of Things are concerned. However, a robust partnership network will be crucial to ensure that promise is realized.