What You Need to Know About Technology Partnerships
Companies leverage technology partnerships to integrate services, marketing, and improve customer experience. Here’s everything you need to know to get them right.
The study of partnerships is an exploration of all the different ways that companies can come together, merge some aspect of their businesses, and generate mutual value in the marketplace.
That’s right. It’s basically a corporate Kama Sutra, except it’s a much broader subject, infinitely more complex (trust us), and very often the entire partnerships role gets thrust onto one person who’s responsible for wrapping their head around all of it.
Like you. Oof.
It’s a tough job, and technology partnerships are one of the most important chapters on the partnerships parchment if you want to unlock new value in the marketplace.
Technology Partnerships Explained
Technology partnerships are not just partnerships between players in the tech space. They’re agreements between companies to coordinate on functionality, integration, or marketing with digital infrastructure, processes, and products.
It can be easy to overlook the importance of technology partnerships, especially if you’re focusing heavily on product development or marketing. However, just because you build it doesn’t mean they will come. Products and services need to add value to customers’ experience, and that means fitting into a preexisting architecture of products and services they already have.
Developing an app does no good at all if it doesn’t integrate with a pre-existing device. Data analysis software is useless if it’s spitting out data none of your other systems understand. And what’s the point of producing a platform if nobody else wants to work with you to deliver a better user experience?
This is why partnerships in tech are so much more important and vital than any other industry. It’s right there in the word “internet”; everything you do is part of a larger web.
So when we think about technology partnerships, we have to consider them from several angles.
Integration is the ability of two products to transfer data between them. The most ubiquitous example is the neverending compatibility war between Microsoft and Apple. The proprietary stonewalling plaguing the Word/Pages and Excel/Numbers rivalries were enough to make anyone scream, and eventually Apple gave up and added things like “export to Excel” options.
As begrudging a move as it was, it still represents technology integration that adds value for customers. And there’s good news on the horizon: in 2022 Microsoft and Apple announced a technology partnership to end the cold war and integrate a range of Apple products and services with Microsoft’s Windows 11. Apparently it’s a brave new world on the horizon.
Value-Added Products: Apps, Plug-ins, Etc.
Larger companies often seek technology partners to develop products to enhance what they’re currently offering. As inspiration and competition reveal problems and opportunities to improve user experience, it can be necessary to create an entirely new piece of software. However, it may involve expertise they don’t currently have or would be too expensive to develop, so the solution (as is so often the case) is to find the right partner to do it for you.
These technology partnerships demonstrate the scope of what partnerships in general can entail. Remember, you’re not just buying a product here; both partners will need to exchange data, product test, co-market, and possibly finance, and all of these details need to be clearly spelled out in the partnership agreement.
Partnership Marketing and Ecosystem Development
Finally, technology partnerships can be necessary to unlock new technology partnerships. Bear with us here, this will take some explaining:
If you want to be successful at partnerships, you have to use your partnerships success stories to attract and introduce better partners into your ecosystem. That means integrating technology, sharing and evaluating data, and developing platforms and systems to analyze and onboard new partners.
Therefore, if you want to attract technology partners, you may have to form technology partnerships to do it. Got it? Whew!
Building Successful Technology Partnerships
Once you’re ready to start partnering, it’s important that you find the right technology partnerships, not just run up the numbers. After all, what’s the point of signing 50 integration agreements if only 3 of them are services your customers will ever use?
Here are some rules to follow to get the most value out of your technology partnerships.
Do Your Homework
This sounds rudimentary, but you’d be amazed how many companies—especially startups—skip the vetting process and just take all comers.
It’s not worth it. If you have time to form a partnership, you have time to do it right and give your stakeholders an informed decision.
You shouldn’t be acting impulsively once you figure out the exciting path your company needs to take. Your best choice is always a much richer and more granular conversation than simply finding someone sufficient. Take the time to work out all the details before you go hunting. No settling!
Part of being a partnerships leader in the tech space is going on the road to find the perfect match for stakeholders and leadership. Get out there and see what’s going on! If you’re making an effort to be excellent, that reputation will permeate your ecosystem when partners come looking for you.
Mastering Technology Partnerships with Firneo
It’s a very common experience in a new partnerships role to find out that what you’re good at and what you have to do aren’t the same thing. Maybe you’re an expert in brand partnerships, but this tech stuff?
For crying out loud, why didn’t anybody tell me this in school?
We know exactly how you feel. Firneo’s team of partnerships experts had to learn this stuff the hard way, and after decades of experience with the biggest names in partnerships, we’re delivering that knowledge to you.
Visit us today and get started on the road to being a partnerships pro. For your stakeholders, for your company, and for your career.
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Partnerships expert Barrett King explains how to train for partnerships, and what skills you will need to excel.