Over the past decade, we’ve seen significant changes in the business ecosystem. Companies are looking outside of their traditional markets towards global markets to increase growth, capacity, and capabilities. The increased inability to find specific skill sets close to home has also seen several businesses looking beyond borders to locate the necessary talent, resulting in multi-cultural teams, interconnected by the advances in digital technology, evolving the workforce, with many people choosing to work remotely from virtual offices at home, or varied locations around the world.
ERP moves with the times
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) has been through its own evolution. Traditionally it was used for inventory management and control as well as material and manufacturing requirements planning (MRP), where it now has expanded beyond to accommodate operations within the supply chain, finance, and HR through modular functionality and inter-connected systems.
By the 2000s and the introduction of the internet, ERP incorporated web functionalities, leading to today’s modern ERP being a more intuitive insight-driven tool. It offered a variety of business applications that assist companies to improve data collection and analysis; improve sight across the entire business enabling better business decisions; and enabled innovation in companies, allowing them to identify potential additional revenue streams. ERP today is being designed with a more customer-centric approach to make it as user-friendly as possible within interfaces and processes. It is also easier for remote workers to have comprehensive, secure access to vital information and systems.
In line with these shifts, businesses have increasingly turned to industry experts to offer a more hands-on approach to ERP implementation in the age of digitization. Channel partners are helping customers to pin down strategic business objectives and identify the bottlenecks, which can be resolved through correct ERP deployments and due to their extensive training and experience, partners are able to offer more customized solutions to customers because this age of ERP is not a one-size-fits-all approach.
The true value of partnership
Insights from Forrester Research, Inc. reveal that vendors are increasing their use of channels, partnerships, and alliances as a primary vehicle to reach and service customers. According to the research, 75 percent of world trade flows indirectly through these channels as they increase in popularity through several factors. Two main drivers are the strategic partners’ abilities to broaden the vendor’s reach, allowing the expansion into new markets; and to influence customers in new ways, bringing the latest sales insights back to the vendor.
By partnering with a globally proven vendor, with an already well-established customer base, you position yourself for growth through strategically focused practices that have built a successful brand. The benefits received from being part of a dedicated partner ecosystem will enable you to better service existing customers, and target new customers as well by leveraging the power of the vendor and its community of experts and existing partner network.
These partnerships are valued because they can improve the customer experience, foster long-term relationships with clients, and provide knowledge and insights from their client interactions that can lead to further product innovations and improved market share, without which the vendor could not scale and grow to enable effective servicing of customers and build value within the ecosystem.
Considerations before taking the partnership path
If you are considering becoming part of a partner network, ensure that the vendor you choose has a solid partner program in place with an evolving mindset that aligns their vision with yours. It’s about more than just the bottom line. Making the incorrect choice can have repercussions for your business as the values and quality of service are reflected within the behaviors of the vendor and its partners which could result in failed relationships and bad business practices. If the vendor’s product isn’t future-fit, and not focused on innovation, you could lose opportunities in favor of competition that has built their digital future with the customer operations in mind.
Look for a partner program that will provide continued technical support, education, and training; providing you with invaluable knowledge to effectively market your businesses and help you improve your sales opportunities, making it easier for your business to win and retain more loyal customers, so as you upscale your own business, the vendor continues to grow theirs. Ensure that you are seen as a business partner rather than a means to an end and that the offering provides competitive margins and the ability to build wealth through product sales, implementations, value-added services, and recurring revenue streams.
Most companies will offer an industry-standard partner program, with the same industry-standard benefits. The key is to identify an organization that wants to build a long-term relationship with you and not just a series of once-off engagements. Improved and empowered partnerships lead to improved customer service, relationships, and overall experiences–so ensure that whoever you partner with is as serious about providing an enabling customer-first experience.
Customers want to work with experienced, successful companies with quality reputations. They need an ERP that gives them powerful features as well as the simplicity of use, scalability, visibility of information, and powerful analytical reporting capabilities to make their business a success. By partnering with the right brand, you become part of their strong, vibrant channel that allows you to boost your business and bring success to your current and future customers.