The Importance of Eco-System Partners – Making all of the Pieces Fit Perfectly
In any sector of the economy, the need to have strategic business partners is crucial. Every company has core competencies that vary somewhat from one business to the next. One company might make the best drill bit for oil drilling and another company might make the best engine to drive that bit. If the two companies partner to provide a comprehensive drilling system they will be able to bring to market a much more comprehensive drilling solution.
The first area of partnership is channel partners for hardware in particular. In the world of visual communications and communications in general it takes many manufactures and partners to bring a custom tailored solution to market that capitalizes on each company’s strengths. For example at my company, IDSolutions, we are a vendor agnostic value added reseller. What that means is although we do not manufacture hardware, we have channel partnerships with more than 50 communication industry partners that we can leverage and select from to use a comprehensive set of applications to put together a fantastic project that capitalizes on each company’s strength. One project may use a world class CODEC from one company, HD monitors from another, best in class mics from another, and a custom control system to tie everything together. In that way we become the glue that holds the solution together through engineering, installation, and back end support at the interactive help desk level which allows us to cover every possible facet of a project from pre-sales design to post-implementation support.
The next area of partnership is through eco-system partners. In the healthcare vertical for example one company might want to sell their high-end examination cameras and nothing else. Another might want to sell their language translation module and software and that’s it. Through our hardware partnerships we may want to sell the video connectivity and installation/support services that ties everything together for a true telehealth/telemedicine experience. That allows each company to focus on what their areas of expertise are and receive a share of the sale while the end result is a best in breed deployment along with the best possible end user experience.
The final area of partnerships is in the government vertical related to contracting. The government, especially at the federal level, employs an array of procurement vehicles related to contracting. These run the gamut from GSA to NETCENTS for The Department of the Airforce, to NASA SEWP and Army CHESS, as well as all of the small business certifications such as 8(a) Veteran Owned, Woman Owned, and so on. Contracting law typically allows partnerships and a contractor/subcontractor relationship where multiple companies can partner together and offer a more comprehensive suite of applications to put together a comprehensive offering. For example, IDSolutions could provide the video conferencing equipment, peripheral components, and related services as a subcontractor to a 8(a) certified small business that is an expert in networks and wireless hotspots.
All in all, going alone does not promote as many sales or offer as comprehensive solution to a customer’s request as it would having partnerships. Partnerships should be based on relationships and trust and in complimentary products and services. In that way, both companies or several companies benefit and most importantly the customer has a more comprehensive and complete solution with better functionality and value.