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Moving Beyond Partnering to Co-Creating

Mark Henry

Kimberly King

Vice President Global Partner Strategy and Programs at Hitachi Vantara

Kimberly King is Vice President Global Partner Strategy & Programs at Hitachi Vantara. She has more than 20 years of sales and channel experience working with large and small organizations to build innovative programs focused on partners’ growth. She has been recognized by Computer Reseller News (CRN) as one of its Channel Chiefs every year from 2010 to 2019, and has featured in the CRN Power 100 five times during the same period. Prior to Hitachi Vantara, Kimberly spent four years as VP Global Channels and Partners at Progress Software, and four years as SVP of Channels and Alliances at Compuware.

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As the technical landscape around cloud, AI, data and automation continues to evolve, so too does the partner relationship. In particular, many of our partners who have forged deep relationships with customers by building strategic, multi-vendor solutions are expanding into the world of co-creation. The move, largely a response to rising customer demand, allows us to help our partners better align their go-to-market strategies and get solutions into the customer’s hands sooner.

A lot goes into developing a partner/vendor relationship that can thrive in co-creation. I recently spoke with Morne Laubscher, CTO at Logicalis SA, one of Hitachi Vantara’s partners with whom we co-create tech solutions. We discussed what makes our co-creation process a success and landed on some essential takeaways worth sharing.

The Power of Trust

First and foremost, successful co-creation among partners requires a solid foundation of trust. While there should always be trust in a partner relationship, co-creation requires a whole new level. Because when you package a solution that consists of multiple vendor technologies targeted to a customer’s specific business needs, you need to trust that you can rely on your partners.

Strengthening the trust between partners requires us to learn each other’s business more granularly and develop lasting relationships in the local market. We must understand the end user’s needs from a macro and micro level, which can be challenging for a mature partner program.

Often, the growth of the partnership can result in a loss of human touch. We run global programs with a view into the local market, but sometimes a disconnect between the people on the ground lessens the program’s effectiveness. Sure, relationships among executives are maintained, but it’s the people in the field that need to work as a unified team. Because while a mature program can make enablement easier, without the right relationships, the salespeople driving the business won’t feel empowered. And they must be empowered to make co-creation a true success.

The Benefits

Focusing on co-creation can enhance both the vendor’s and the partner’s position in the marketplace and show customers we’re agile and innovative. Together, we create customized precision solutions that better suit clients’ needs, driving sustainable engagements and yielding higher customer satisfaction and deeper loyalty.

Creating solutions as one also forces improved communication and collaboration among stakeholders. This leads to more effective teamwork, faster problem-solving and fresher perspectives and insights that may not have been considered in a siloed environment. It also aids in more easily identifying and addressing potential problems or challenges earlier in the development phase, reducing the risk of costly mistakes or failures.

Driving Success

Our approach to co-creation is leading to success with the customers Logicalis serves while keeping profitability in mind. The combination of Hitachi Vantara’s industry expertise, technical innovation and advanced supply chain capability with Logicalis’ security and managed service portfolio, we’re enabling Logicalis as an integrator to assure service and manage the capabilities their customers expect when they expect them.

Ultimately, our commitment to co-creation leads to more effective solutions and increased value. We’re accelerating our business together to the benefit of all.

Kimberly King is Senior Vice President, Strategic Partners & Alliances, Hitachi Vantara.

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