IT Science Case Study: Automating Strategic Alliances with WorkSpan

The strategy was to develop a cloud-based solution that allows cross-company go-to-market business processes using access-based access control security method.

Here is the latest article in a new eWEEK feature series called IT Science, in which we look at what actually happens at the intersection of new-gen IT and legacy systems.

Unless it’s brand new and right off various assembly lines, servers, storage and networking inside every IT system can be considered “legacy.” This is because the iteration of both hardware and software products is speeding up all the time. It’s not unusual for an app-maker, for example, to update and/or patch for security purposes an application a few times a month, or even a week. Some apps are updated daily! Hardware moves a little slower, but manufacturing cycles are also speeding up.

These articles describe new-gen industry solutions. The idea is to look at real-world examples of how new-gen IT products and services are making a difference in production each day. Most of them are success stories, but there will also be others about projects that blew up. We’ll have IT integrators, system consultants, analysts and other experts helping us with these as needed.

Today’s Topic: Automating Strategic Alliances with WorkSpan

Strategic alliances today are being managed by spreadsheets, emails and phone calls with little ability to track, manage, measure and report results of strategic alliance partnering activities. These are tools from 30 to 40 years ago; a lot has changed since then.

Name the problem to be solved: SAP, one of the world’s largest business software makers, needed to coordinate and automate new efficiencies for its worldwide partner program, which has thousands of members.

Describe the strategy that went into finding the solution: Amit Sinha, WorkSpan’s co-founder, led the go-to-market launch of SAP HANA involving many partners, but it was all managed manually with spreadsheets. The strategy was to develop a cloud-based solution that allows cross-company go-to-market business processes using access-based access control security method. The other guiding principle has been to create a balanced network-based solution, so these are not company-owned solutions but rather a network of partners able to work together across company boundaries.

List the key components in the solution: WorkSpan features that include: Joint Sales, Joint Solution Development, Joint Marketing, Joint FundingandJoint Asset Repository.

Describe how the deployment went, how long it took, and if it came off as planned: The company was founded in January 2015 and spent the first six months working with prospective customers using design-thinking exercises to model the problems, use cases, personas, and solution scenarios.  The solution was then developed working closely with early customers for the next 18 months.  In March of 2017, a sales leader was hired, and the company began selling.  

The first fully implemented use case was with SAP to manage the Intel strategic-alliance relationship. SAP and Intel have been using WorkSpan to manage and report on their joint go-to-market programs for about two years.

Describe the result, new efficiencies gained, and what was learned from the project:

  • Doubled the number of campaigns run from 85 to 186 (in 2017) with same headcount and nearly the same budget;
  • received more than 174 proposed campaigns from 30 different SAP market units; and
  • increased funds utilization from 60 percent to 90 percent.

Describe ROI, carbon footprint savings, and staff time savings, if any:

  • Increased return on marketing investment (ROMI) from 8x to 24x returns; and
  • more than $100 million positive pipeline impact.

Other references:

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...