Andy Walker, my role is Partner Alliance Manager and I have been in the role for five years. I manage relationships between Bytes Software Services and the 3rd party professional service providers we work with.
WHO ARE BYTES?
Bytes Software Services specialise in software, hardware and cloud across the Enterprise, Mid-market and SME space and covers all industry verticals, including Public Sector. Bytes employ roughly 350 people spread across 5 offices in the UK and have revenues above £500M. Bytes were named one of the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work for in 2020 and hold the top accreditation possible with over 100 technology partners; something we have in common with Insentra, who has been recognised as a Great Place to Work in Australia five times.
WHY DO BYTES PARTNER? HOW DO YOU WORK TOGETHER TO SUPPORT YOUR CLIENTS?
There are many reasons why Bytes Software Services partners. Primarily partnering extends Bytes’ offering into areas where we don’t have coverage, furthering our reach for professional services and managed services. We want to offer a complete service wherever possible, partnering is part of delivering the full remit for our clients. We maintain an ecosystem of partners who provide both broad capabilities and niche specialist skills to help us deliver on our clients’ requirements.
HAVING SPENT A LONG TIME MANAGING PARTNER RELATIONSHIPS, IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT DOES BAD PARTNERING LOOK LIKE?
Unfortunately, bad partnering can come in many forms and where it starts for me is communication. Suppose the partner isn’t communicating well with our client or with Bytes. In this case, it will ultimately lead to problems and turn into other forms of lousy partnering. Bytes are bringing a 3rd party into our client, and we want every engagement to be of the highest standard. Our reputation is on the line when we engage with 3rd parties. A bad experience, poor project management or underwhelming project execution can have a lasting effect on the relationships between Bytes and the client and Bytes and the partner.
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN, WHAT DOES GREAT PARTNERING LOOK LIKE TO YOU?
Great partnering shows up in several ways. Firstly, being responsive to our requests and enquiries is always helpful, and obviously, great communication sets the proper foundation. Also, being clear with us about the skills you have and being transparent about what you cannot do helps Bytes know where to position you and builds trust a partner will deliver on what is agreed. What sets partners apart for me is when a partner can appreciate the value Bytes brings to projects. This way, we show up together united in front of the client. Finally, it’s demonstrating a willingness to support a client in achieving their vision while guiding them towards the appropriate solutions, even if this isn’t what they thought they wanted or needed.
WHEN PEOPLE ARE LOOKING TO PARTNER, WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 3 TIPS FOR FINDING THE RIGHT ORGANISATION?
- Find a partner who will commit to what their strengths are. As I explained when describing great partnering, if the organisations is clear about what they can and cannot do, the partnering experience becomes much more manageable.
- A partner who can communicate their offerings effectively to account teams so they can identify opportunities is pivotal for success. Suppose you cannot clearly articulate what you do and the value you provide in a way which resonates with Account Managers. In this case, teams are unlikely to uncover opportunities to engage you. Being able to contextualise offerings for specific audiences is key.
- Look for synergy on values. Thinking the same way about crucial areas such as Customer Experience, Service Excellence and Integrity is essential. If you align on these core areas, it takes away something which can cause friction.
WHAT MAKES PARTNERING WITH INSENTRA DIFFERENT?
Partnering with Insentra is different from working with other partners. They display all the aspects of great partnering, including committing to what they are good at and being transparent about their core competencies. Insentra also commits to agreed commercial models, which work for both of us, providing our teams with a clear idea of pricing when talking to our clients. Insentra are always receptive to how we want to work with the client, from initial discussions through to presales and delivery.
What sets them apart from other partners is their understanding and ability to communicate messages and offerings across every aspect of our business. This applies to account managers and presales up to senior directors. Insentra understands each account manager’s role and shows them the larger picture of what’s possible within the client. They make sure they elevate the account manager within the client, bringing them into all parts of the project.
Read my last interview with Ashley Jeggo, SMB Channel Manager for Microsoft UK on the topic of Azure in SMB.