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Susan is an independent digital communications and user experience strategist. She helps companies discover their brand voice and grow their business.
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 is a content writer who has worked for Infosys Technologies and other technology startups in India and abroad.
Moulishree is a freelance journalist with over 7 years of experience, she writes research-based analytical stories on technology and business.
Avanish is a Bangalore-based journalist who writes on business with a specific focus on technology companies.
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 is a Bangalore-based freelance journalist who writes on social issues, stories of human interest, and art and culture, among others.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 (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 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 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.
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
Head of marketing at Regalix, Nimish drives research in emerging technologies and customer experience, and takes a keen interest in creative arts.
Verint’s Senior Vice President of Global Channels and Alliances, John Bourne, leads a team that focuses on building, nurturing, strategizing and expanding Verint’s worldwide partnerships and collaborations. He has worked in the technology software industry for over 30 years and specializes in global indirect sales, partnerships and alliances, product management, and executive sales management.
Interviewed by Swastika Singh
/ / How has the PRM function evolved in your company over the past few years?
Verint has over 350 partners around the globe – OEMs, systems integrators, Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) partners, regional resellers and service delivery partners, and they are managed by our channel managers with a very high-touch approach. Our PRM program works for us, and has evolved organically through company growth, market trends, customer needs and natural evolution of business relationships.
/ / How do you recruit your partners? What parameters do you consider while choosing a partner?
These days, Verint’s partner ecosystem is relatively stable; we do add a few partners on a case-by-case basis every year, but it’s not typically a huge volume. Some new partnerships come to us through acquisition, and we have partners’ partners in our ecosystem (vicarious partnerships through other partners), who act more like distributors for us. Regarding parameters we consider while choosing partners to work with, we look for the advantages partners will bring in geographical reach, country culture and language, route to market, customer base, and domain expertise in a specific market. It’s all about reach. While it varies from country to country and region to region, our global sales are on average 50% direct and 50% indirect through our partner ecosystem.
/ / What are the challenges that you face while managing your partners?
The biggest challenge we face in managing our partners is in getting our existing partners to sell more of our portfolio, as it has expanded significantly over the last few years. We tackle this challenge through education and making sure that our partners understand the strategic business challenges our solutions address. On the other hand, we must understand whether their teams have the availability to take on more. Most of them do, but some of our partners are very focused on one solution or service, and that’s okay too. We also work to get accurate pipeline information. Great partners are transparent and share what they are working on, even in the early stages of the sales process. We want an open dialogue, so we can help them find additional opportunities in any given deal. Partners are an ecosystem –partners working with partners, service delivery partners working with our reseller partners who aren’t interested in doing their own service delivery, etc. It is all about relationships – connecting the dots. If the ecosystem flourishes, the business starts to flourish through osmosis. As for myself, I facilitate, motivate and create strategy for my partner managers and business development team. The best thing I can do as Verint’s SVP of Global Channels and Alliances is help make the lives of my team as easy as possible and clear the path so they can execute.
/ / Is partner onboarding a critical function in partner management? Should companies create different onboarding programs for different partners?
Generally speaking, it takes months before a partner becomes fully effective, because our customer engagement portfolio is very broad and deals are large in revenue, making onboarding critical. At Verint, we create tailored onboarding programs for different partners, depending on what markets they’re selling to and what parts of our product portfolio they are focused on. I’ve been in the software industry for over 30 years and involved in global channels and alliances in one way or another since the 1980s. Some of the onboarding process is much more formalized now – credit checks, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) compliance checks and all the legal due diligence. Beyond that, onboarding is primarily focused on sales and presales enablement; the technical enablement for service delivery is secondary and depends on the partner. The technical side includes two pieces – first there is service delivery, then deployment, cloud provisioning, and finally, support enablement, which is very different, and requires time and experience to get a partner up to speed. We recently persuaded a competitor’s partner to come work with us – we approached them at the right time when their relationship was at a low – and we had to teach them from scratch. They are a full-service delivery partner and it took time, but the onboarding process – a combination of classroom education, shadowing and working on projects together – has been very successful.
/ / What are the different partner performance metrics you track?
Regarding varying partner performance metrics, we look at revenue, pipeline, forecast and consistent performance. If we have partners deploying software and it goes wrong every time, we find out quickly. There’s no rocket science to it; we know which ones need more effort and more training. All partners are on a journey, with varying levels of competency, and since it’s all about the people, partner management is never static. If a partner is certified, it’s because they have individuals who have completed certification. If those people leave, the process starts over, and we must work harder to ensure we’re doing our part to enable and empower the new partner professional. The best partners are open, easy to do business with, and sell and deploy consistently. Other than the PRM, the main tool we use to track our partners’ progress is our own Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) solution. It lets us survey our partners and their customers to get a picture of their experience and competency with our solutions.
/ / What are the different content assets that you create for your partners? What role do they play in enabling your partners?
VerintConnect™ is a portal for our customers and partners. Based on how partners are certified, what products they use and which ones they have deployed, they have access to varying aspects of the portal. It’s more information than a partner could ever consume – all the online learning, collateral, sales enablement and presales enablement, sales briefcases – all the same materials we provide to our direct salesforce is at their fingertips. Because the portal is a community, partners and customers can interact with each other and contribute to the content, so it’s always changing and growing richer and deeper. We have also created a separate portal for our technology partners.
/ / What are the different types of training that you conduct for your partners?
Verint provides the whole spectrum of training for its partners – virtual and onsite, scheduled and on-demand, and attending their events and inviting them to ours. We treat our partners the same way we treat our direct sales team – with our standard sales enablement and pre-sales training. Partners come to our sales kickoff and attend education and breakout sessions, hear all the messages from our executive team and get familiar with what’s coming down the track. By the same token, we attend their events and provide similar programs. If the partner has a group of six or more people, we go to them for onsite training whenever we deem it’s appropriate. If it’s a smaller group, we invite them to the Verint University campus in Atlanta.
/ / What role does MDF (Marketing Development Fund) play in partner marketing? How do you allocate the MDF amongst your partners?
Based on how the partner is performing, we contribute to a fund they can use for marketing efforts. The more they sell, the more marketing funds we put away for them. We also have money set aside for sponsorship of global partner events, and those partners do the same for us.
/ / Do you create co-branded marketing content for your partners? What are the other partner activities that you undertake?
Sure, we do this for some of our partners; we’re very open to doing more. On VerintConnect, partners can download materials and generate co-branded pieces that carry their logo and ours. We absolutely encourage that.
/ / Do you think companies are investing enough in PRM?
Probably not. But speaking for us, we’re not big PRM users; it’s because of the type of partners we have. We aren’t trying to manage thousands. We’re very interactive and high touch with our partners. That’s what channel managers are for, and they do an excellent job with it.
/ / How is the evolution of technologies like LMS (Learning Management System), and processes like lead distribution through marketing automation changing the PRM function?
LMS is a big piece of what we use for partners: online learning, delta courses for new releases of our technology and self-paced learning. We are deep believers in that. Regarding lead distribution, it’s not automated, but our channel managers pass leads to our partners all the time on a case-by-case basis. It’s a judgment call; the leads go to the partners we believe are most capable of taking them to the finish line.
/ / What are the trends/technologies that you think will drive PRM in the future?
Our investment is in partner-facing technology, in the form of our portal. We believe that’s where the future is – building online communities to foster engagement and drive enthusiasm for working with us.
PRM systems should provide an intuitive way of engaging
Mike Fino, COO & Jacqueline D. Woods, CMO, IBM Partner Ecosystem
Taking your partner along: PRM in organizations
Partner Relationship Management (PRM) has been considered a natural extension to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions.
Partners need rich, marketable content to sell better
Aimee Catalano, Head of Global Partner Marketing, Google Cloud
Managing and growing a diverse set of partners and alliances is critical to brand success
Jay McBain, Principal Analyst for Global Channels, Forrester
Automation helps serve more partners with fewer resources
Allison Gapter, Vice President of Global Partner Marketing, Demand Generation, SAP