A recent twist in the hosting-alliance ecosystem is getting partners to team with each other.
Steve Quane, strategic planning and business development manager at Intel Online Services, works with integrators, technology vendors and application services providers. Collaboration among that partner base has become more routine. "Most of our bigger deals in the last six months have had at least one vendor from each category … actively involved somewhere in the sales cycle."
Hosting vendors employ extranets and partner relationship management systems to help coordinate partner activities. Qwest Communications, for one, last month unveiled Q.Marketplace, a subset of the companys partner extranet.
Craig Schlagbaum, director of partner programs at Qwest, calls the service a "partner-to-partner marketplace" that brings together the companys varied partners. With Q.Marketplace, "a telecom agent can work with an ASP or a global systems integrator on opportunities that they uncover mutually," he says.
Exodus Communications, meanwhile, offers Alliance Exchange as a partner-oriented extranet. Exodus uses the tool to communicate outbound leads to its partners and receive leads from partners. The extranet distributed about 10,000 leads last year. Partners also can use the extranet to search for potential allies by technical certification, geography and other attributes. Arif Razvi, director of worldwide alliance programs at Exodus, says Alliance Exchange has 4,000 individual members, representing about 1,800 partner companies.
If the hosting vendors hope to deliver more complex solutions, matching up the various strengths of their partners is one way to go.