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Partner-to-Partner (P2P) success, Part 1: The York Group on managing expectations

by Dann Anthony Maurno
Assistant Editor, MSDW

Microsoft vigorously encouraged partner-to-partner (P2P) relationships at Inspire 2017 as a mechanism for building the Dynamics footprint worldwide. But in two sessions at Inspire, Harald Horgen made the startling claim that just 10 percent of ISV/reseller partnerships work, and asked "What other industry accepts a 90 percent failure rate?"

Horgen is president of Bellevue, Wash.-based The York Group, and since 1993 has helped B2B firms build profitable partner models. At Inspire, he addressed how to define an ISV P2P strategy for enterprise partners, and how to build a winning channel with the Microsoft partner ecosystem.

He recapped his thoughts with MSDynamicsWorld about how to ensure a successful partnership, starting with matching expectations. 

MSDynamicsWorld: You estimate that only 10 percent of channel partnerships succeed; what, to your mind, goes wrong? 

Harald Horgen: There's a complete mismatch in the expectations going in.

The channel partner wants a product that sells itself. They want the ISV to generate leads, and they don't want competition from other ISVs or other partners in the market. They want services revenues and they want a big margin.

The ISV wants a partner that goes out and sells the product and never calls the ISV for support.

There must be considerable risk to the channel partner, who's counting on big margins and no competition.

The biggest risk factor is the ISV, who doesn't understand the risks and the investment that the partner's expected to make on behalf of, in many cases, an unknown product in a new market. ISVs are technology focused and go to market thinking "...

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About Dann Anthony Maurno

Dann Anthony Maurno is a seasoned business journalist who began his career as International Marketing Manager with Lilly Software, then moved on as a freelancer to write for such prestigious clients as CFO Magazine; Compliance Week;Manufacturing Business Technology; Decision Resources, Inc.; The Economist Intelligence Unit; and corporate clients such as Iron Mountain, Microsoft and SAP. He is the co-author of Thin Air: How Wireless Technology Supports Lean Initiatives(CRC/Productivity Press, 2010).