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Susan Joseph


Susan is an independent digital communications and user experience strategist. She helps companies discover their brand voice and grow their business.

Shubharthi Ghosh


Shubharthi is currently part of the strategic marketing team at Regalix. His expertise mainly lies in the account-based marketing and programmatic advertising space.

Priscilla Thomas


Priscilla is a content writer who has worked for Infosys Technologies and other technology startups in India and abroad.

Moulishree Srivastava


Moulishree is a freelance journalist with over 7 years of experience, she writes research-based analytical stories on technology and business.

Avanish Tiwary


Avanish is a Bangalore-based journalist who writes on business with a specific focus on technology companies.

Priyanka Bhatacharya


Priyanka has covered every aspect of the IT industry as a tech journalist since its early days. She is now an independent writer, working on subjects like digital marketing, enterprise technology and high-performance computing, among others. 



A freelance content writer, S. Sahu was the former editor of TCS's house magazine at Tata Consultancy Services. He developed tech marketing collateral for the company and helped compile and edit books and journal articles on TCS's technology innovations. He also ghostwrites print and online publications. 

Prajwala Hegde


Prajwala is a Bangalore-based freelance journalist who writes on social issues, stories of human interest, and art and culture, among others. 

Rajesh Nanarpuzha


Rajesh Nanarpuzha is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at IIM Udaipur. Previously, he has worked as a brand manager in Dabur, and as a business consultant in the retail and consumer goods domains at Cognizant and Tata Consultancy Services. Rajesh has an MBA from IIM Indore and a doctorate in marketing from IIM Ahmedabad.


Priyokumar Singh Naorem


He is a passionate UI & UX designer who thrives on creating engaging creative solutions.


Dyuti Mittal


A freelance illustrator, artist, graphic novelist and designer. She has designed and illustrated several book covers. Her personal illustrations so far have attempted to seize the fleeting absurdity and mood of places, things and people she encounters in a childlike, intuitive and expressive manner with closure, beauty and innocence – the things that she desires.

Sumakshi Singh


She is an artist and an educator who has taught and lectured at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Oxford University, the Victoria and Albert Museum among other institutions. Her installations, paintings, thread work and sculptures have been exhibited in Saatchi Gallery - London, C24 Gallery - New York, and Museum of Contemporary Art – Lyon, among other notable galleries and museums from around the world.

Purna Chandra Mahato


Purna Chandra Mahato is an artist based out of Rourkela, India. Trained in painting (fine arts) from Pracheen Kala Kendra, Chandigarh, Purna has participated in many prestigious exhibitions and artist camps. His paintings explore various aspects of colour, shade, textures, and strokes, while keeping to abstract themes; they strive for a spontaneity that is enjoyable to spectators.

Parul Gupta


A commerce graduate from Delhi University, Parul pursued a masters in fine arts from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. As an artist, she is interested in line as a subject which has led her to follow architectural lines in built environments. She says she is also interested in how we perceive the environment that we inhabit and what happens when a subtle shift is made in things which we have been used to seeing in a certain way. We present six of her artworks here.

Shweta Malhotra


Shweta Malhotra is a graphic artist and designer from Mumbai, based in New Delhi.
After working with ad agencies and design studios for close to 8 years, she branched out on her own and currently works independently.s Her overall design aesthetic is minimal, bold and graphic, a response to the maximalist visual language prevalent in India.

Rithika Merchant


Rithika Merchant (b.1986) received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design, New York in 2008. She has exhibited extensively since her graduation. Recent exhibitions include a duo show “Reliquaries: The Remembered Self” at TARQ, Mumbai; “Language of the Birds: Occult and Art” at 80WSE Gallery, New York; and group shows at Summerhall, Edinburgh and Artry Gallery, Kochi. Her work has been included in multiple group shows at Stephen Romano Gallery and The Morbid Anatomy Museum, New York. Born in Mumbai, she now divides her time between Mumbai and Barcelona.

Aniruddh Mehta


Aniruddh Mehta is an artist based out of Mumbai, India. Trained in graphic design from the London College of Communications, Aniruddh is a self-taught illustrator and currently works as an independent freelance designer. He believes in finding the right balance between art and graphic design. He has worked closely in collaboration with Bhavishyavani Future Soundz, Qilla Records, Taxi Fabric, Adidas, Dell and United Colours of Benetton. He also goes by the moniker, ‘thebigfatminimalist’ and his style ranges from bold minimal forms to more intricate pieces exploring patterns and geometry.

Paramesh Jolad


Paramesh is an artist who enjoys working in both the realistic and abstract style of painting. He loves working with water color. Featured in this issue are a set of water color works that he has created exclusively for us on the subject of digital transformation.

Chandrashekhar Thakur


Based in Mumbai, Chandrashekhar Thakur is a Senior Art Director and Illustrator at Truebil.com and the Founder of HAPPiNESS For You. He loves working with new styles of art and considers illustration to be his forte. Chandrashekhar has completed his BFA from DY Patil College of Applied Art.

Concept and Direction

Nimish Vohra


Head of marketing at Regalix, Nimish drives research in emerging technologies and customer experience, and takes a keen interest in creative arts.


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Partner Relationship Management (PRM) solutions have changed over time, and with the integration of the modern cloud-based CRM and automation systems, PRM solutions now provide critical tools and workflows for the entire partner lifecycle. The Digital CMO Digest team spoke with Jay McBain, Principal Analyst for Global Channels at Forrester, one of the most influential global research and advisory firms in the world. Jay is considered one of the most visible thought leaders in the global technology channel. Named in the Top 40 Under Forty list by the Business Review as well as numerous channel magazines’ top influencer lists, he is often sought out for industry guidance and his opinions on future trends. He has spent his 24-year career in various executive roles in channel sales, marketing, and strategy with IBM, Lenovo, Autotask, and ChannelEyes.


Interviewed by Shubharthi Ghosh



/ / How has the PRM function evolved over the past few years?


B2B channel professionals and their technology organization counterparts have invested in PRM since the early 2000s as a single source of truth for indirect sales. PRM was usually a silo-driven system that rarely integrated with back-end enterprise resource planning or sales and marketing systems. As CRM started to grow significantly in the mid-2000s, it challenged PRM as the core source of truth for indirect sales. PRM then went through a retrenchment period before it rebounded in the past five years as a critical horizontal platform. Fully integrated with modern cloud-based CRM systems, PRM solutions provide critical tools and workflows for the entire partner lifecycle.


/ / How does a company recruit their partners? What parameters should one consider while choosing a partner?


Channel leaders should prospect for new partners, in the same way, their marketing colleagues prospect for new clients, by developing profiles of best fits for their offerings.

Most customer projects today involve multiple partners contributing specific skills to provide a client’s optimal solution. So the Ideal Partner Profile needs to have multiple traits including:

  • LOB credibility: Some channel firms specialize in specific job roles and cloud-driven best practices, with deep skills for very few vendors. These channel firms communicate in the LOBs’ language, understand their business problems, and have robust résumés providing measurable solutions that put them in high demand.
  • Sub-industry depth: Professional services firms are shifting from pure services to a blend of services and technologies. With a deep understanding and focus on only a few of the 709 sub-industries, these firms understand end-to-end business issues, unique nuances, and approaches to resolve them.
  • Segment focus: Channel firms specializing in a certain customer size, sector, or segment and understand the limitations and resource constraints within different types of organizations.
  • Geographic coverage: Localization is an important element of many customer projects. Depending on the industry and solution, partners that understand regulatory, legislative, and compliance issues at a regional level add value for B2B buyers. Value-adds can also include language, cultural, currency, tax, and time zone specialties.
  • Technology expertise: The average customer solution can include seven or more products. Partners that specialize help customers differentiate among thousands of vendor options and define the technology stack that will drive the most return. Cloud-native firms understand that solutions shouldn’t include technology for technology’s sake; solutions just need to be integrated, secure, and compliant and ensure business continuity.


/ / What are the challenges that companies face while managing their partners?


73% of brands report that partner management is a major challenge (Source: Forrester Business Technographics Survey 2017). Here are the key challenges:

  • Multi-tier profile management for modeling your channel partner ecosystem at the company and individual level can be challenging. It includes organizational and location structures, governance, partner tier levels, partner business model types, skills and certifications, market savvy, staff role constitution, partner-to-partner relationships, etc.
  • Planning & contract management solutions incorporate elements of channel strategy; planning at the company, region, or product level; go-to-market; coverage mapping and execution; and capacity planning. They also support contracting with different partner types, while complying with local regulations and legislation in every region in the world.
  • Most PRM solutions can model the performance and reward) of the master manufacturer-partner relationship program (tiers). Designing multi-tiered incentive programs at the company and individual level drive motivation, behaviors, and loyalty, with backup from extensive dashboards and notifications that serve channel account managers, finance, operations, and marketing.
  • Platforms include partner segmenting, targeting, nurturing, and recruitment, along with learning management functionality such as education, training, and certifications. They support robust technical support mechanisms such as tickets and help desk with modern tools such as chat, knowledge base, community, and self-service.
  • A partner portal contains content, applications, and communications flow between a manufacturer and the channel partners. Most PRM implementations begin with a personalized, content-centric partner portal. The key portal management requirement is adaptability because savvy channel pros want to advance their partner portals to support the more valuable business processes and interactions.
  • Supporting co-selling initiatives is a core part of PRM. The ability to register deals, distribute leads, and apply custom business rules for qualifying, ranking, and scoring leads is critical in driving indirect sales growth. The multitiered, multifaceted approach is what differentiates the functionality from CRM systems. Collaboration mechanisms from the brand to the partner through the entire sales cycle and partner support for the customer buying journey are key differentiators of leading partner programs.
  • Partner marketing management solutions support local partners’ co-marketing initiatives with the setup of MDF, co-op funding, and through-channel marketing functionality such as co-branded assets, email, social, search, or syndicated content — hallmarks of a best-in-class.
  • Offering prepackaged reports and dashboards with support from an analytics engine that helps a brand determine the most efficient and productive adjustments to the program is another key attribute of today’s solutions. The next major evolution of PRM will be around AI, machine learning, and predictive/prescriptive analytics, with several vendors already working with early adopters. Leveraging the mountains of data inside the PRM system as well as external feeds such as point-of-sale, inventory, pricing, distributor, and end-user reporting will crown the next generation of leading vendors in this space.


/ / Is partner onboarding a critical function in partner management? Should companies create different onboarding programs for different partners?


There’s an influx of shadow channels that look more like influencers, advocates, and alliances than they do transacting resellers. Not only does each category of the company have different onboarding needs, but each person in those companies also have different education, training, and certification requirements.


/ / What are the different partner performance metrics that are needed to be tracked?


There are dozens of KPI’s wrapped around revenue, profit, ROIC (return on invested capital), velocity, customer/profit satisfaction. PRM helps operationalize ROIC which is the most important.


/ / What are the different content assets that companies create for their partners? What role do they play in enabling the partners?


As brands increasingly use channels, partnerships, and alliances as a primary vehicle to reach customers, the ability to include these third parties in marketing programs is critical for success. Customer interactions with your firm rely on the content you produce at every interaction point, including the numerous third parties that influence their purchases.

Resellers, dealers, distributors, and agents play a critical role in the customer buying journey and need to be supported with integrated campaigns including email, search, social, video, web, and physical marketing assets. All companies need to create content today and get exposure through local marketing initiatives. For a brand to support this at scale, it must have an automated system backed by control mechanisms, workflows, and analytics to drive performance. Specifically, TCMA helps:

  • Amplify corporate voice to customers.
  • Deliver a more consistent brand experience.
  • Enable interactive campaigns.
  • Drive partners to profitable revenue faster.


/ / What are the different types of training that companies conduct for their partners?


Some examples are business model defined, sales techniques, technical training, marketing, financial, operational, hiring/HR, go-to-market methods and strategy.


/ / What role does MDF (Marketing Development Fund) play in partner marketing? How should companies allocate the MDF amongst their partners?


75% of world trade flows indirectly and brands use MDF to enable third parties to raise their visibility in their local regions. MDF is usually allocated as a percentage of top line sales, but should be extended to provide pre-revenue investment into growing partners. With the rise of non-transacting type partners, MDF will be the key way to go to market with these players and should be viewed as a strategic imperative.


/ / Do you think companies are investing enough in PRM?


Here Is A Glimpse Of The Global PRM Market…

  • 23 vendors offer some level of PRM functionality, driving $350 million (USD) in pure software revenue per year. Another $500 million is estimated in related technology services, including installation, implementation, integration, security, compliance, and business continuity.
  • Forrester predicts the PRM software market to grow to $679 million by 2023, a CAGR of 14.2 percent.
  • An additional $971 million will be generated by 2023 in downstream technology services in this ecosystem. The broader PRM services market includes hundreds of channel-specific consultants, thousands of sales and marketing firms, tens of thousands of marketing digital agencies, systems integrators, and a complimentary ISV ecosystem that is adjacent to these platforms.
  • The total PRM ecosystem, including software and services, is $850 million today and predicted to be $1.65 billion by 2023.
  • PRM is a horizontal solution serving indirect channels in all 27 industries. The top industries by revenue are technology/telco (34%), manufacturing (23%), insurance (9%), retail/franchising (6%), finance (6%), healthcare (6%), hospitality (4%), automotive (2%), and “other” (8%).
  • Over 12 million end users log into these systems, with the average deal size around $51,130 for these 23 vendors.
  • An estimated 1,633 employees are fully dedicated to PRM software development, with tens of thousands of others making money on services wrapped around it. According to LinkedIn, these vendors had 3.2% employee growth last year and 21.2% in the past two years.
  • This is a mature industry, with the average PRM solution launching 10 years ago and mostly US-based. Only five companies were founded outside the US.


/ / How are the evolution of technologies like LMS (Learning Management System), Lead distribution through Marketing Automation changing the PRM function?


PRM integrates better with these point solutions as well as developing more robust functionality built-in for a true horizontal platform experience.


/ / What are the trends/technologies that you think will drive PRM in the future? How should companies gear up for this?


Forrester is seeing numerous changes happen within channels across every industry and region of the world. From demographic shifts to new buyers emboldening new types of channels, the need to manage a growing and diverse set of partners and alliances is critical to a brand’s success.

The PRM market is growing because more executive teams, as well as channel, marketing, and sales professionals, are recognizing the impact of third-party influencers in getting to new buyers. They are placing trust in PRM providers to act as strategic partners, allowing them to broaden their reach and influence the partner journey in new ways.