How can CIOs best navigate strategic partnerships?

Even when partnerships are strong and generally positive and there's an implied commitment that you're not going anywhere. It's critical to not let those partners off the hook and push them in the areas that they need to be pushed. Never let them get too comfortable. When I was on the Salesforce advisory board, I was supportive, excited, and I think we provided a lot of good directional feedback. But what was most valuable in those sessions was directly saying, “I don't want to hear any more about Lightning, because I've been hearing about it for four years, and I'm still on Classic. So there's that healthy desire to hear that they have a strategy, but you also don’t want to let them just focus on that. Even though they know you're probably not going anywhere else right now, they also need to know there's a level of frustration with too many futures and not enough of the here and now that needs to be addressed.

Anonymous Author
Even when partnerships are strong and generally positive and there's an implied commitment that you're not going anywhere. It's critical to not let those partners off the hook and push them in the areas that they need to be pushed. Never let them get too comfortable. When I was on the Salesforce advisory board, I was supportive, excited, and I think we provided a lot of good directional feedback. But what was most valuable in those sessions was directly saying, “I don't want to hear any more about Lightning, because I've been hearing about it for four years, and I'm still on Classic. So there's that healthy desire to hear that they have a strategy, but you also don’t want to let them just focus on that. Even though they know you're probably not going anywhere else right now, they also need to know there's a level of frustration with too many futures and not enough of the here and now that needs to be addressed.
0 upvotes
Anonymous Author
I'm a bit skeptical about partners, because in general, I think many of us try to read between the lines in terms of what's happening behind the scenes. Why do these partners only show up when the renewal is coming up, and then when that’s done, they disappear? To combat some of that, I established a vendor scorecard because we all bring bias into the conversation. That's just the nature of how we operate and the expectations of us.  I made this scorecard in partnership with the procurement team because it's a huge asset if you've got a strong one to work with and I've been fortunate. Include your leadership team in the process as well. That allows you to provide input, because we will be asked about the status of that relationship. Rather than turning it into something based on a personal feeling, you actually have data to back it up. While at Splunk, I actually dropped Splunk into the vendor scorecard as if it were one of my partners, and I gave that as feedback to the executive team. A vendor scorecard can counter some of the bias that we bring, and really focus on those partners that earn your trust because they're invaluable, and will help you in those difficult times.
1 upvotes
Anonymous Author
Both parties are there for business, so make sure the partnership is a Win Win and know the forecasted costs until the end of life ahead!
2 upvotes
Anonymous Author
First I think we need a definition of what our strategic partner is in the context of the question. Strategic partners can be global business units, operations, factory, operating companies or international subsidiaries. My point is that every situation is different. The rules of engagement will always be different . The most important advice to the CIO is have the acumen to recognize that each negotiation is a fresh opportunity to create value for all stakeholders. In the case of technology vendors, setting out milestones goals and objectives isn't enough; not unless there are also penalties or rewards attached. Be diligent about holding them accountable, and remember, squeaky wheels get oil faster than quiet ones. In my 22 years in corporate ITO, or as CIO, partnerships only work when this phrase is attached to every discussion: now that the fire had been put out, let's talk about this in terms of the impact to the overall relationship and our disappointment... Or conversely, we're extremely pleased with … which shows how committed your firm is to strengthening this partnership.
4 upvotes