Thursday, April 21, 2011

Collaboration: Peer-to-Peer Partnership for Growth

By Shiv Kumar, ZSL, Executive Vice President

ZSLCollaborating with partners is a culture and business priority in our organization. Being a global systems integrator, our goal is to help clients tap into new and emerging markets with solutions that maximize efficiency of their workforce and reduce the time to market.

Having the right people in customer-facing activities that understand the need to collaborate internally and externally with other solution provider partners to meet the market demand is key. We have staffed our global sales team with senior people throughout the organization from day one, so they would be ingrained in the culture and the strategy as we grew. We realized that would enable us to expand our market reach quickly, while retaining our core business values of quality services and solutions delivery. By doing so, we've extended our collaboration and knowledge management effort beyond our internal organization to embrace the "wisdom of crowds."

We've also formalized our peer-to-peer partnership program: "Get IT Together" has grown significantly since its launch in 2004.

That program has helped both ZSL and its partners to leverage each other's core strengths through the mutual goal of delivering the value to the customer faster and cost effectively. Well defined and understood "co-optition" is critical for a peer-to-peer relationship to last longer and yield good results. So create a matrix of areas to work at, including: "complement," "cooperate" and "compete." Remember, the relationship will be very opportunistic and may not last long if the matrix is centered on "compete,"

Finally, a proper support system — with process and people — empowered our sales team to succeed in their partner-to-partner collaborative selling effort, which encouraged them to look for white-space opportunities together.

The connectedness with our "Get IT Together" VAR partners helped us in launching new services and solutions faster with the right go-to market strategies. In that way, we with the reduced risk of testing the waters using the trial and error methods.


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