Archive for the ‘Organizzazioni’ Category

Measuring Alliances: Quantitative Metrics for Influenced Business   Leave a comment

Martin Fifield, in his comment on my first post on alliance metrics, asks a key question about measuring the full impact of an alliance: how to measure “influenced revenue”?   

In my experience this has been quite easy and extremely valuable.
It’s easy, because it is a quantitative metric and a subset of standard ones such as sales or revenue, so tracking it becomes a matter of keeping simple the definition of what subset it is, then asking the right person a simple question at the right time.
It is valuable, well worth the effort to define, manage and track it, as it truly helps an alliance perceive its full impact on the business of each partner, and so achieve it.

First, what is it?
In my opinion, “influenced” business is different from the new or “incremental” business for one or both alliance partners that comes from exclusive joint solutions, and additional to it. It is further new business, generated with an organization’s standard sales processes and offerings rather than the alliance’s special joint solutions, and still becoming easier to sell or deliver because the two organizations cooperate in selling their complementary business together, or endorse each other, or gain a positive market perception because of their alliance’s success.
So, first and foremost, influenced business is a broad metric that captures business where the alliance we consider is one among many factors, and the most important factor remains clearly the capability of a direct sales field team.

Since influenced business is closer to direct business than alliance-specific incremental business, capturing it drives cultural considerations about how each allied organization, and especially their sales and delivery teams, view the other and the alliance itself. For this reason, influenced business can be an ideal bridge between quantitative, business-focused alliance metrics and qualitative metrics such as I describe in my second post on alliance metrics.

How to measure influenced business? Here is what I have seen work.

Wherever alliances professionals are directly involved and help sales and delivery teams work with alliance partners, just ask them: what alliances have influenced a core direct business success?
Telling what alliance partners have helped achieving what sales will be straightforward: alliance professionals have been there and know, and capturing this component is fully consistent with their objectives and culture.

Each organization will want to tailor this metric with few specifications.
The first is its own specific definition of what subset of total business to consider “influenced”. Another one can be applying an independent check on what alliance professionals report about this metric. This does add some effort to the tracking process, and still can boost trust in the metric and awareness of the alliance in the teams that work with the alliance partner directly.

How do these approaches compare with yours?

What challenges may you have encountered?

I have encountered one main objection and one tangible obstacle to this approach, both important and still well worth overcoming.

The objection: this metric is an overlay or double-accounting metric; it really counts again business results that the sales and delivery teams themselves have achieved already, would mostly have achieved even without the alliance’s influence, and so have been rewarded for. In other words, when rewarding both the alliance teams and the field teams on the same results, an organization is really paying twice to achieve the same business objective. This is true, and still I believe the second rewarding achieves a distinct, complementary and worthy objective. Rewarding the alliance team for influenced business gives an organization a better idea of alliances’ impact on the broader direct business, and their performance.

The true, hard obstacle to applying this influenced business metric to all of an organization’s direct business is scalability. Direct support of alliance professionals can reach only a small share of an organization’s direct business; beyond their reach, sales and delivery teams of the two organizations are on their own. How to track alliance influence there?
This is really a scalability challenge of the alliance itself, rather than of the metric measurement. I believe this challenge is worth taking for the most impactful alliances, those that aspire to influencing a significant share of an organization’s overall business.

How to make an alliance work beyond the reach of alliance professionals, wherever sales and delivery teams rub shoulders with an alliance partner on the field?
This is well beyond the scope of this discussion – ASAP for instance devoted to this the best part of its first 2012 issue

Let’s assume we  get there. Then, measuring this broader influenced business becomes straightforward again: ask those very sales and delivery teams. Since they will have worked together we can then ask them what alliances – in addition to their own capability – have helped close that business.  Influenced business as understood, measured and reported by field teams themselves can then become the most meaningful quantitative metric of broad impact for the farthest-reaching alliances an organization has.


Better Sales for Italian ICT SMBs – a Promising IAMCP Italy Meeting   Leave a comment

Italian translation – here – traduzione italiana.

On 15th  June 2012 IAMCP Italy – the Italian chapter of International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners – organized a meeting on “Improving Sales Processes” for Italian Small and Medium Businesses in the Information and Communications Technology sector.

The audience included IAMCP Italy members, other Microsoft partners based in North-West Italy, and members of the ICT branch of the Genoa chapter of Confindustria, the association of Italy’s industrial enterprises.

Many attendants enjoyed the combination of keynotes from IAMCP members and external experts, and the choice to combine classic subjects such as solution selling with more unusual subjects such as neuromarketing and the role of social networks in communicating the brand and value of Small and Medium Businesses.

Two highlights I found especially relevant:

  • An inside story of a social network communication accident that a medium enterprise customer of an IAMCP member incurred; it was an especially impactful example for this particular audience.
  • The importance for a small enterprise of social network relations that employees and partners build individually, over and above those that the company itself develops through its corporate social network presence. The resulting opportunity may require special enterprise relationship skills in Italy, where the relation between an enterprise and people working for it often stops at confrontation.

Among external speeches, I found especially interesting:

  • An overview of roles and ideas around the general notion of sales, developed by Fabrizio De Maria, founder and general manager of White Dove.
  • A portfolio of real life sales cases with large and medium ICT enterprises by Gianmaria Odello, co-founder and executive partner at TBK Consult.

The presentation by Veeam, the sponsor, was especially remarkable. Beyond contributing to the event’s success by allowing IAMCP to make it accessible for free,  Veeam delivered a relevant, effective sales presentation, especially tuned to the audience and better than the average of similar presentations I have attended, even more so in this market segment.

The best and most significant surprise for me has been how IAMCP has been able to generate and propose through its own members contents that meet or beat in quality those provided by external speakers.

I take this as evidence that IAMCP has a significant opportunity to contribute to developing and sharing best practices for Italian ICT SMBs, together with many other organizations active in this domain.

What may be IAMCP’s specific role here?

In Italy, the ICT channel is especially rich in very small businesses – and its Microsoft-specialized component even more so, both on average and among excellent solution providers.

IAMCP does focus on Microsoft’s platform. For this reason, it may well be better equipped than many organizations to propose best practices that are relevant for this market segment, whatever the platform.

I look forward to IAMCP Italy producing and communicating insights that help such smaller ICT companies to find sustainable growth mechanisms in a consolidating market.

Vendere meglio per le PMI ICT italiane – un incontro promettente di IAMCP Italia   2 comments

This post describes a successful and promising meeting by the Italian chapter of IAMCP.  An English version is here.

Il 15 giugno 2012 IAMCP Italia – International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners – ha organizzato un incontro su “Come migliorare i processi di vendita” rivolto alle piccole e medie imprese del settore Information and Communication Technology.

Hanno partecipato i soci IAMCP, altri partner Microsoft soprattutto delle regioni del nordovest, e membri della sezione Informatica della associazione Confindustria di Genova.

Molti partecipanti hanno apprezzato la combinazione di interventi di membri dell’associazione con interventi di esperti esterni, e la scelta di affiancare temi classici come il solution selling a temi meno convenzionali come il neuromarketing o il ruolo delle reti sociali nella comunicazione del marchio e del valore di piccole e medie imprese.

Due spunti che ho trovato particolarmente interessanti:

  • la storia vista dall’interno di un incidente nella comunicazione sulle reti sociali occorso a una media azienda cliente di un membro IAMCP: un esempio efficace per tutti i presenti, attivi proprio in questo settore.
  • l’importanza per una piccola azienda delle relazioni su reti sociali che sono i dipendenti e i collaboratori a sviluppare: almeno pari a quella dell’immagine online che l’azienda stessa stabilisce. Un’opportunità promettente soprattutto nella cultura d’impresa italiana, dove spesso la relazione tra imprenditori e collaboratori si ferma al confronto.

Tra gli interventi esterni ho apprezzato in particolare:

  • una panoramica di ruoli e concetti legati all’idea generale di vendita, sviluppata da Fabrizio De Maria, fondatore e amministratore di White Dove
  • una rassegna di storie concrete di vendita con aziende ICT grandi e medie di Gianmaria Odello, cofondatore e executive partner di TBK Consult.

Notevole il contributo dello sponsor, Veeam: oltre a contribuire al successo dell’incontro, permettendo ad IAMCP di offrire l’appuntamento gratuitamente agli interessati, ha proposto una presentazione dei propri prodotti efficace e ben mirata al pubblico della giornata, commerciali e responsabili di aziende ICT piccole e medie. Mi è parsa ben superiore alla media delle presentazioni commerciali di fornitori ICT, specie in questo segmento.

La sorpresa più bella per me è stata la capacità che IAMCP ha dimostrato di generare e proporre con i suoi stessi membri contenuti e presentazioni efficaci, pienamente confrontabili con quelli dei relatori esterni.

Secondo me questo indica che IAMCP ha una opportunità significativa: contribuire allo sviluppo di buone pratiche per le piccole e medie aziende ICT italiane, insieme alle numerose altre organizzazioni attive in questo ambito.

Quale può essere qui il ruolo specifico di IAMCP?

In Italia il canale ICT è particolarmente ricco di imprese molto piccole. La componente di questo canale specializzata sulla piattaforma Microsoft è probabilmente ancor più ricca di imprese piccole, sia nella media sia tra quelle che offrono soluzioni eccellenti.

IAMCP si concentra proprio sulla piattaforma Microsoft. È possibile quindi che sia in grado di elaborare e proporre contributi particolarmente rilevanti per questo segmento del mercato, anche al di là della specifica piattaforma, in particolare contributi che aiutino queste piccole aziende ICT a trovare meccanismi di crescita sostenibile in un mercato che si consolida.

An Invaluable Challenge in Unlikely Alliances: Cultural Nonprofit   Leave a comment

What can be more exciting in alliances than finding a significant opportunity for teaming in an unusual place, and with reluctant organizations?

The place: nonprofit organizations of a kind that thrived in many Western economies decades ago – research and popularization societies in history, politics, economics, and other social sciences.
These cultural organizations have been gradually starved of audience and funds during the late 20th century’s growing focus on market-driven approaches even for social and cultural progress.
The current financial, then economic downturn is providing them with a new lease of life: here opinion and consensus may be shaped with different mechanisms and results from those that market forces allow.

The reluctance: over decades of practical hardship, a few of these volunteer-based, academic-rooted, deep-thinking organizations have evolved a very, very keen awareness of what is special about each, and how different they are from each other.
This self-consciousness makes it difficult to perceive the value of cooperation with selected similar organizations, much like in a siege mentality.

The opportunity: such organizations generally stand a good chance of benefitting from alliances, since each may well hold unique and little known value, for each other and their common public.

The case in point:

  • Over the last few years some valued colleagues and I have had the opportunity to help few such organizations in their work, and to encourage them to engage others in an operating network.
  • Last year, one has developed a point of view that we believe is new and highly valuable both for the discipline they cultivate, and for the larger community they address.
  • This particular organization is set to benefit from significant complementary strengths other similar organizations have.

The invaluable challenge is now to engage some of these organizations into considering and forging cooperation and alliances with each other. These alliances can leverage their complementary strengths and make the value each contains more accessible to all of them and their common public.

Following public presentation of this new idea, the next few weeks will be essential to start this networked, alliances-oriented approach.

Finanza Etica – Ethical Finance: You Better Think then Act   Leave a comment

Naturalmente nel senso di – as in The Blues Brothers’ song by Aretha Franklin of course.
La discussione in italiano è oltre.

*** English commentary ***

Over January and February I had the opportunity to attend a valuable course (in Italian, as most of the discussion below will be), organized by Valori, a magazine about social economics, ethical finance and sustainability.

Two key lessons from that course: that free markets are good, yet most markets we see are barely free, and that people who want to learn more about this also want to involve friends and colleagues in discussing and practicing conclusions from the course.

I believe what we are trying to do, in this course and elsewhere, is reviewing after the 2007 “financial crisis” the balance each of us had achieved between different mental models of finance and business, with very different assumptions about the value and role of regulation in a market economy.

It will be interesting to watch how this effort will evolve after the course, as each of us who attended and taught grapples with change, individually and with others.
For instance, some of us are currently considering how to leverage our social networking tools and skills to support broader discussion and collaboration on these lines.

*** Discussione in italiano ***

Ho appena seguito il corso di finanza e finanza etica di Valori. Il corso ha toccato diversi temi con una utile varietà di punti di vista tra i vari docenti. Era naturalmente incentrato su una interpretazione della situazione finanziaria attuale, dopo la “crisi finanziaria” del 2007, che raccomanda di introdurre meccanismi di controllo significativi per i mercati finanziari – meccanismi peraltro di ispirazione ben più liberale che non socialista, marxista o comunque ostile al’economia di mercato in senso proprio.

E’ stato un corso sostanzialmente divulgativo, per non specialisti desiderosi però di applicare le conclusioni della discussione nelle scelte economiche e finanziarie quotidiane di ciascuno, e delle associazioni cui partecipiamo. Per questo, e grazie all’apertura e alla disponibilità dei docenti, la discussione è stata intensa.

In eventuali edizioni future credo sarà utile sfruttare questa impostazione dando più spazio alle dottrine (neo)liberiste e articolando meglio la loro critica. Molti dei partecipanti infatti vengono da una formazione fortemente critica nei confronti di aspetti importanti dell’economia di mercato e del ruolo recente della finanza nell’economia delle famiglie e delle aziende del mondo occidentale. La crisi del 2007 rafforza in chi di noi ha questo retroterra la spinta a schematizzare la valutazione dei meccanismi di mercato e dei mercati finanziari, almeno quanto chi di noi ha una formazione più liberista ha interiorizzato negli ultimi decenni una valutazione semplicistica della regolamentazione dei mercati.

Già durante il corso alcuni docenti e molti partecipanti hanno cominciato a distribuire materiali a complemento delle lezioni. E sempre durante il corso diversi docenti e insegnanti hanno proposto di coinvolgere anche altri nella discussione e nella comunicazione di questi temi.

Proprio in questi giorni con alcuni dei partecipanti stiamo cominciando a confrontarci su come utilizzare anche strumenti di social networking per favorire la comunicazione delle conclusioni raggiunte, e soprattutto la collaborazione tra persone e organizzazioni nell’applicarle alla pratica quotidiana. Cosa ne uscirà?

International Alliances: Whatever You Do, Wherever You Work, Find a Better Phrase than “Developing Countries” – Now   Leave a comment

First, go watch this. And I say “watch” as in “look at it moving”… click the “play” button and see the world unfolding.

Oh, I do hope you were sitting. With any luck, “comfortably” will come back soon.

See the huge red ball fluttering around and literally bouncing hard on the floor between 1958 and 1961?
Now, that’s really the best part of this world by some very significant measures, as we all know- today, that is.

If you watch closely it bounces up much before hitting the bottom of the chart – mercifully.
I shiver to the thought of what must it have been like, and I do so watching this graph much more than when I read gut-wrenching accounts of that story over the last few decades.

International alliances are probably among the easiest varieties of international work, and the lesson that Professor Hans Rosling’s  Gapminder drives here feels like applying to many of the most complex kinds too, from trade and manufacturing, to cooperation, to aid, to finance and diplomacy.

I start from alliances for a very personal combination of reasons. For now, let’s just say

  1. it was a long time alliances colleague and friend pointing me to this,
  2. surely alliances must be across borders and so international, or what are they? 
  3. it looks like Gapminder can help us see the limits of some myths shaping how we act – internationally.

In his donation request, professor Rosling calls them “devastating myths”.
If you find this a bit too strong, go to the link here at the top and just watch the ball pinball around, bounce hard, then float up left. Safely, I am sure we all hope, since the vertical axis is labeled “life expectancy”. 

There’s plenty more myths where this comes from, and plenty more devastation. I so hope alliances, too, can help improve on some.

Valuable international business experience… – preziosa esperienza internazionale…   Leave a comment

and he can take pictures, too. A valuable source of advice on business across borders. Thanks, Maurizio. 

Posted February 5, 2008 by Gianluca Marcellino in Organizzazioni

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