In our previous blog, “Ten ways to tell if your enterprise software provider is open,” we discussed the importance of the visibility of openness and connectivity. Companies seeking software vendors with a truly open approach should look for openness and partnerships as a clear part of a provider’s messaging and digital presence.
Newspapers and websites value the space above the fold as the most precious of all real estate, so it follows that the message of openness should appear in this area on an open provider’s website. This is the place to catch the reader’s eye. This is where the most important content and links are displayed, making them immediately visible to site visitors. If we are trying to assess the openness of an enterprise software provider, we should find strong evidence of openness and partnerships in the valuable pixels on the homepage above the fold.
Clearly visible technology partner relationships
Let’s look at two leaders in enterprise software – SAP and Oracle.
Both their websites have clear links from the homepage to a partner page, which then offers significant additional resources.
You can find similarly visible partner treatments on Workday, ADP, Adobe, and Microsoft Dynamics websites to name a few.
Salesforce.com, perhaps surprisingly, given their market position as a customer relationship management platform, does not currently have a clear link to partner solutions on their homepage.
Why? Perhaps partners have become such an integral part of the Salesforce platform and their AppExchange has grown to the point where visibility is no longer an issue.
Product partners make up the open ecosystem
Remember that not all partners are the same when it comes to being open and connected. Services partners, critical for enterprise software companies, typically provide services in concert with the software provider. They help clients implement and/or adapt the software.
Product or technology partners, on the other hand, are the key elements of the open ecosystem. Product partners provide features and functions that the ecosystem sponsor may or may not have. These are the types of partners you are seeking. This is where symbiotic relationships must be made visible.
Product partners are key elements of an open ecosystem. This is where symbiotic relationships must be made visible.
Hopefully, you’ve found strong evidence of partners on your enterprise software provider’s website. Now, let’s look for words that support their partner strategy. Take a quick inventory of the headline messages on your provider’s partner page and look for the concepts of partnerships, openness, connectivity, and solutions born beyond the four walls of the organization you’re evaluating. Look for press releases, case studies, and partners. See what you find. There is certainly more to being open and connected than buzzwords and marketing speak, but a consistent drumbeat of messaging around openness demonstrates a strategic commitment, where a one-off statement does not.
If your enterprise software partner is really serious about sponsoring an open and connected ecosystem AND you have not found strong evidence through a cursory evaluation of their website, then you must ask yourself, why are they hiding it?
Openness should be visible, like the Intel Inside sticker on your computer, proudly on display for all to see. After all, seeing is believing.