For top-tier companies, selecting and implementing a technology solution is often challenging and time-consuming. System integration (SI) partners make deployment easier on tech adopters and ensure all efforts work toward a key company goal.
SI partners help tech providers realize the full potential of their engagement with a customer, increase retention, and expand lifetime value. Discover who works well with SIs, the partnering process, mistakes to avoid, and success stories to consider.
What are System Integrators? (SIs)
System integrators (SIs) are partners that leverage disparate technology, software, and service solutions to achieve key business objectives. Implementing multiple systems goes from a hassle to a business advantage with an SI who works to understand your need, organization processes, and opportunities for tech efficiencies.
Tech partners can sell into an expanded market by partnering with SIs to distribute their products and services. Working with an SI increases product “stickiness.” This is because it’s harder for clients to move to a new solution when you support their business in multiple ways. Tech providers are better equipped to retain clients through increased ecosystem connectivity with other partner tech solutions.
System integration partners can operate domestically or internationally. Take note, SIs operating internationally are typically considered global system integration (GSI) partners.
SI and GSI partners are poised to grow their success and influence within the industry. As of 2021, the GSI market was valued at $327.7 billion, and is anticipated to grow at an annual rate higher than 10%.
Common SI Partner Services
There are a few key services SI partners may provide. Depending on the SI and their business vertical, these may overlap. For example, an SI may provide both consulting services and infrastructure integration services bundle together. .
SIs providing infrastructure integration services ensure all of the tools within your organization’s ecosystem work together seamlessly. This is especially vital for SaaS and tech companies that operate across multiple platforms.
Similar to infrastructure integration, SIs providing application integration ensure you can leverage disparate apps to generate a cross-section of data and orchestrate new business efficiencies.
SIs that consult may operate in various niches, focusing on various business challenges. Consultants typically support the exploration, selection, implementation, and ongoing use of solutions to solve business needs.
SI Partners vs. VARs
SI partners are similar to value-added resellers (VARs) in how they engage clients, but on a smaller scale. Both an SI and a VAR provide consulting or other services on top of existing tech solutions. However, VARs modify a tech product and engage transactionally. Whereas SIs combine multiple solutions and provide consulting services on an ongoing basis.
Additionally, SI partner programs provide sales and marketing support, discounts, and financial incentives. Some programs have specific criteria partners must attain and tiered incentives.
What’s the SI Partnering Process Like?
You can break down the SI partner process into three simple stages.
- First, the SI sells ISV software. The SI may leverage marketing materials created by the ISV for this purpose or develop co-branded assets.
- Next, the SI hands off the prospect to the ISV, who builds a contract and accepts direct payment.
- Finally, the SI enables adoption and supports business value through the ISV solution. The SI bills the client separately for work completed.
Who Works Well with SIs?
Tech partners that play well with others work particularly well with SIs. So if the power of your tech solution can be multiplied by leveraging a few other solutions, SI partnerships might be the right avenue for you.
If you often notice that customers leveraging consultants get more value out of your tool or remain customers for longer. That’s another early indicator that SIs are a good fit for you.
How Can Tech Partners Succeed With SIs?
If you’re a tech partner exploring SI partnerships for the first time, consider best practices and mistakes to keep in mind.
Best Practices for Partnering with SIs
Keep Sales Resources Up to Date
Refresh your sales and marketing materials regularly. Update your SI partner on which resources are available and how to access them. House your resources within a PRM to make it easy for partners to access and co-brand.
Provide Thorough Training & Enablement
Whether you provide complimentary technology or not, you’ll need to share thorough training. Consider creating training resources in various formats, including on-demand videos, live webinars, and written documentation.
Consider alternative languages in your training solutions if you anticipate having international partners.
Stay in Contact
Stay in touch with your SI partner, whether you’re launching new marketing content, adding a certification, or introducing a new feature. Build a regular check-in cadence and use this time to connect on your product and pipeline updates.
Mistakes to Avoid When Partnering with SIs
SIs are responsible for purchasing tech, infrastructure optimization, leveraging date, and network design. ISVs are responsible for providing training, collateral, and other sales resources. Set clear expectations of where the SI will build out their sales channel and where you’ll support their sales and marketing efforts.
Not Tracking Attribution
Without attribution tracking, monitoring which partners are contributing to your revenue is nearly impossible. Enable attribution tracking from the start to ensure all you track all client conversions map back to a partner.
SI Success Stories to Consider
Still not sure how an SI program could fit into your business strategy or need inspiration for starting a program? Reference these industry leaders that have successfully leveraged SIs.
Accenture partners with top tech solutions like Salesforce, Adobe, and SAP to build robust customer experiences, designed to move the needle on company objectives. Through their program, Accenture partners with both leading tech solutions and industry specialists across their ecosystem.
Deloitte offers advisors and implementation services designed to help customers manage the complexity of technology and navigate business challenges. Deloitte addresses complete company challenges by identifying fundamental business needs, combining solutions, and guiding clients through the process.
Cognizant seamlessly integrates with tech like AWS, Cisco, and Google Cloud to enable a competitive advantage in the market. For example, Cognizant and Cisco partner to provide technical support, leveraging deep expertise and brand experience across vertices.
Leverage a PRM with Your SI Partners
As a tech provider, partnering with SIs is an effective way to improve client engagement and retention. In addition, customers enjoy the value of an all-in-one solution with expert support and guidance toward key business objectives when necessary.
Leverage a PRM to grow your SI partner channel by making it easy to scale your channel efforts without requiring additional headcount.
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