Leveraging Partnership Friction for Success

Show Notes

On this week’s episode of the Investible Partnerships™ podcast, we talk to ⁠⁠Elliott Haralambous, Global Director and Head of Partnerships ANZ, Backbase⁠. Elliott sheds light on the often-overlooked aspect of partnership dynamics: friction and offers a fresh perspective on transforming friction points into opportunities for growth and enhanced partnership value. We explore his insights into easing friction through storytelling, designing effective. programs, and aligning your processes to not just mitigate challenges but to significantly amplify the impact you can have as a partnership leader.

Key Takeaways

00:00 Introduction

01:03 Partnership strategies and the start-up experience

06:18 Internal alignment for successful partnerships

15:20 Partner program success and the importance of understanding local markets

20:28 Balancing short-term goals with long-term vision in partnerships and alliances

31:01 Partnership strategies and the role of chief partnership officers

37:37 Intuition and long-term thinking are key to successful partnerships

40:55 The Partnerships Fast Five

"Friction can make partnerships because you can ease it and add huge value, or friction can kill your partnership. So if you're adding to that friction set, there's a very good chance that your ability to make an impact will be diminished.”

“I think the important part there is making a discrete choice to say that the way we do things is considered, and we have a responsibility internally externally to work in certain ways."


0:32 Des Russell  

Hey, Elliot, welcome to the Investible Partnerships podcast. It's really good to have you here. And to join our conversation today, as we learn more about how you are being a driver of partner impact. First love to get to understand a little bit more about your background, your role that you're currently in. And also really importantly, understand, you know, what was your journey into partnerships. So over to you, super

1:03 Elliot Haralambous  

Thanks, Des, and thanks for the time and I'm really looking forward to being on the Investible Partnerships podcast. So a little bit about myself, Elliot  Haralambous. I am a Director of partners and alliances at Backbase. Backbase is the makers of the world's leading engagement banking platform, which powers over about 150 banks globally that most people on this podcast will probably recognize. A little bit about myself, I look after currently, all things to do with partnership,  alliances and go to markets within the Australian New Zealand territory. Previous to this I looked after Backbase global go to market with all kinds of cloud providers and independent software vendors globally orchestrating across all regions. And previous to that I was looking after our consulting and strategy partnerships.

So I've kind of touch all different pieces of how an independent software vendor goes to market with Cloud ISVs and within the region. And it's great to spend some time with you today. I think I'm pretty similar to a lot of people who come into the partnerships and alliances space, which is we obviously all didn't go to university or college trying to do this type of work, we found ourselves into it. So I've had a bit of a left and right journey, started my career as an engineer, specifically sn energy engineer, got a little bit over, let's say, being part of a larger process and try to move to something a bit more dynamic. So I spent a bit of time as a strategy consultant and digital consultant across Australia and broader Asia. Once I got into more mid level management decided that a time was for me to get overseas. So moved over from Australia over to the Netherlands and did a few more years with a global firm over there.

Whilst also doing that I was running my own startup, which you may or may not have seen on Dragon's Den a number of years back. And then towards the end of my consulting career, I decided that it was time for me to do something a bit different. And I came across Backbase. So during that time, I've tried a little bit of scale up corporate enterprise experience and really found my feedback based in a partnerships role, because it was really that launching place and the intersection between tech go to market, and most importantly at the coalface of what's happened in the market. So been here for almost five years now and look forward to a promising future ahead.

I think that really relates also to a lot of other people I see and more senior positions within partnerships and alliances. They come from really different parts of the world. Both from an experience perspective and a geographic perspective. People come up through products, people come up through, let's say, typical sales with direct sales people come in from consulting, but a lot of people get to partnerships and alliances and stay there for a long time. I think it's because it is a very dynamic role to have.

3:59 Des Russell  

It's probably indicative of quite a few of the leaders that we've had on the Investible Partnerships podcast, you know, they're, they're picking up skills and picking up experiences from different areas of tech and different areas of non tech. And they're kind of starting to bring this and blend this into what today is a really important role in major tech companies, whether they're public or private or private companies. I'm interested to just double click into your startup career because I'd love to know how you got from coffee into into the next phase. So what was that all about? Yeah,

4:42 Elliot Haralambous

So I think this was a number of years back and myself and colleague of mine started a company within Australia which was fairly well known called the pod and parcel and we were the first innovators when it came to script subscription based biodegradable compostable coffee sent straight to your door step. And we kind of took the concept of what if you had a Melbourne cafe, in your own home coffee machine every day. And we partnered with probably some of the best coffee establishments in Victoria in Australia, and put them in a format, which people could really get a lot of brand alignment with and engage with a community of people who really liked the the ease of having a home coffee machine, but didn't really identify with one of the large mega brands that you might find in a supermarket. And that was probably the first time I dipped my toes in that concept.

Well, actually, partnering is a really powerful force. Because although you might be providing a good or service that's quite similar to what's out there in the market. If you're aligned with the principles and values and what consumers customers or the market actually wants, you can really create with one plus one equals three proposition. But I think from that perspective, it was a really great advice to style. So I got used to doing a lot with very little. And I think, if you want to be successful in the world of partnerships, you need to be really ready to kind of kickstart those partnerships with this, and the smell of an oily rag, because if you CROs and leaders, they often won't invest away see some kind of results.

6:18 Des Russell

Absolutely. We're getting the partnership leaders, which we're both which are both paid off. And this podcast is part of the built with partnership leaders. They just released their chief partnership officer report. And I've got a question about that a little bit later, because I'm just diving into it. It was released last week, Friday and the detail and the insights that they've got in terms of what's actually happening in this industry, at an executive level, in the tech industry at an executive level. And what's really happening around this role of partnerships, as we move into, you know, operating a significant amount of the revenue or being responsible for significant amount of revenue that companies are generating in this in this particular tech space. But you know, your point around what you learned in your startup in partnerships, understanding really what do people want, kind of, it's really this this point of relevance and value.

And I think this relevance and value is something that I always talk about when we talk with our customers, at Partner Elevate and this is, you know, how do you have this consistent relevance and value in your in your partnership? What do you bring into the partnership? So how do you do this at Backbase? In your current in your current role? How do you keep this relevance and this value? Because you've got different types of partnerships, right? You've got consulting services partners, you've got cloud hyper scalar, partnerships. So what's going on and how do you maintain this?

8:01 Elliot Haralambous  

That's a really good question. And I think it goes back to my, my previous point about people from partnerships, particularly in leadership issues coming from different experience sets. I think a lot of people, particularly within your organization, whether it be my current organization, which backbase or whomever it might be, where they they think that the focus of the partnerships are always engaging with external stakeholders, they can't build a differentiated value proposition. And that's absolutely one piece of the equation.

But I think where a lot of people trip up is, we really have to think about who your internal customers as a partnerships leader, right? Are you a person who is serving your Field Sales Team? Are you the person that's serving the maturity of your product by making the integrations more powerful or relevant or strong? Are you assisting with taking some load off delivery and customer success? And really framing yourself in like, who's my internal customer actually defines how you externally engage within the market?

And I think a lot of people in our industry, perhaps have that mixed bag for front. Now, yeah, forged the most important and valuable hyperscale partnership or ISV, partnership or consulting services partnership, but if you haven't considered how it makes someone's day to day job, you know, quicker, simpler, more relevant, more revenue, but actually introduced, you know, challenge risk or effort, you're going to struggle to be successful. From my perspective, is thinking about that one plus one equals three isn't just about revenue. It's about the human element, which is actually at the coalface. How are you making that delivery director, product manager that that AE or account executives lives easier day to day? If you start there and work backwards, I think you can make huge impact in organizations. If it's about saying look, I want to get a marquee relationship with x y Z'd consulting company. I think you're going to be in for a tough draw.

10:02 Des Russell

Yeah. So let's like, let's go into there, because that's, that's a great point of view, I think having an internal view. How do you make someone internally the hero of the story? You know, we do think, externally? How do we make the partner or the customer, the hero of the story, but internally, so let's try, and unpack this for our audience. And maybe you can use specific examples of how you are doing this, how you've done this in your particular role. So where should they start? When it comes to finding that finding that alignment internally? Like, does it start at the strategy level? Does it start at the execution level? Where does it start?

10:43 Elliot Haralambous

So I think I think a really good place for all the listeners of this podcast to start is really identifying internally where friction is really felt that is it friction in getting a deal from opportunity to closure, is it friction in getting your customers live and happy? Is it friction in particularly, serving different parts of that world with specific integrations, right.

And from my perspective, you start the friction, friction can make partnerships because you can ease it and add huge value, or friction can kill your partnership. So if you're adding to that friction set, there's a very good chance that your ability to make an impact will be diminished, if you reduce that friction. So that's something completely different. I think one of the examples that I like to use is we were having was in my previous role, we were having a very strategic partnership with a particular hyper scalar. Right.

And this partnership itself was, of course, a marquee partnership, it was something which we could tell very loudly and clearly into the market. But the real friction that we heard in the market is, from a customer's perspective, what is my burning platform to move the cloud? From a Backbase perspective, or an ISV? Perspective? What's my burning platform to partner with these huge organizations? And from those huge organizations perspective? How do I be relevant in really specific business processes?

Now you bring all these ingredients together, you certainly create a situation where there's an incentive for a bank to go big on Cloud, there's a huge opportunity for the hyper scalar to move from a horizontal to a vertical kind of capability set, because they can't be all things to all people. And then from your perspective, being the independent software vendor and bringing these together? Well, there's not only commercial incentives, but there's there's there's value incentives for everyone to work on the same page. Now, that's a really clear example of where's this friction exist in these three parties? How do we make it work?

If you did the equation on pure, let's say, economic value in dollars and cents? That may have not stacked up? Yeah, look, one level beneath what are they actually want to achieve? You can make great things happen, right? Yeah. And another perspective there is, that might be your objective, but process and predictability, trump's style nine out of 10 days, the week, if through that process, you can help all parties, whether they be your customer, your party, or your internal customer, or your internal stakeholder, know where they are in the process, what they can expect to get out of that process. And more importantly, give them the timelines, day to day, week to week, month to month. Yeah, you're probably going to test is really high. As a hotshot and promised the world and perhaps not made that mark, it may be challenging for you.

13:45 Des Russell

Yeah, absolutely. And I think is this a maturity the process and the predictability? Is this a maturity of your partner program? Or can you bring a level of process and predictability even when you just establishing or in the early stages of your of your partner program? Because I think a lot of people think that this is a maturity thing, as opposed to something else. What's your point there?

14:42 Elliot Haralambous

Yeah. So I think I think something which I feel pretty near and dear to is that, you know, whether you're in sales product or customer success, or whatever it is, we all follow a common way of doing business right. Now that may be implicit or explicit. So I think I'll probably go as far to say that nine out of 10 organizations in the market today who partner don't have a very strongly embedded partner program. Does that mean that nine out of 10 organizations are bad at popping? No way. It just means they haven't program eyes and systemized and embedded those things.

So I think if as long as you have really strong values and ways of working enriched within your team, and within your organization, you can have that process and predictability. Now. Absolutely. I recommend And that you bring into a program and execute faster and more effectively. But I think the important part here is making a discrete choice to say that the way we do things is considered, and we have a responsibility internally externally to work in certain ways is makes a huge benefit. Yeah,

15:59 Des Russell

Absolutely. Yeah. I can't agree more. I think a lot of a lot of us are building partner programs, and flying the plane and building the plane at the same time.  Sorry, interrupt. Yeah. Valuations where you have to adhere to your partners program, right? And what happens there, if you're working with a hyper scalar, or you're running a global consulting organization, or even working with one of the largest software companies in the world, often their program is the way that you work. And you don't have a lot of capacity to make an impact on that. However, yeah, the way in which you work is super important. And the absolute reality is, like sales, people like dealing with people from a partnerships perspective, that brings value to their day to day work. For a person that makes that day to day work, if it was more friction or more challenging. It's a conscious decision is what I'm trying to say.

Yeah. And I think it's this how to make your life easier. And I don't necessarily think we, double click too much on that. And that's, that's a challenge or that's a problem, actually. Because the reality is, it's the it's the value add that we're trying to kind of work out. Do I need you? Can you help me, and we tend to kind of more operate at the kind of, I don't know, the fictitious area of well, you know, we're gonna partner, we've got customers, you've got customers naturally, we're gonna find some way to work, work work.

But it's not always the case. You know, it's not really, you should know, the value that you can add to a partner, or the customer before you've even started their partner conversation, because that's your role to understand where you're going to unlock this, and not this partnership. And we don't have enough time that's spent on that particular thing. I don't know what you think if, if that's something you see as well,

17:24 Elliot Haralambous  

I totally agree, right. And I think the reality is that you're never in a in a phone call or video conference, or a customer meeting where people said, You know what, I'm actually not that busy at the moment. People are really busy all the time. And your job, whether it be in partnerships or alliances or ecosystems, or whatever your organization orientates, that point to is, your job is to cut through that noise, and prove that your value proposition is defensible and worthy of their time.

Because every hour they spend with you could be hour they could spend selling, developing other partnerships working on organizations. So you really have to be 10 times more relevant 10 times more interesting. And get to the crux of how do you actually mutually provide value? Now, I can't say how many times I've been in a phone call where, you know, you started off highway working in this industry with these customers, and you're working with cylinders and customers. I'm sure if we just spend time together, we'll make money by osmosis.

Now, as much as I'd love to be in a situation where revenue could be made by osmosis, the reality that we have to be a lot more deliberate? Yeah, yeah. I think something that I really wanted to touch on there is, and the big recommendation I can give to those people, particularly in global roles, is spend as much time as you can at the coalface. So if you're headquartered in North America, or the UK or Western Europe or Singapore, whatever it might be, and get on a plane and get in cools, get to the coalface of your agents, because the story that's told in HQ is often very different than the story the whole day to day. And unless you can adequately provide value at that coalface you may be in a situation where you're, you're building all of these fantastic programs and go to markets, but they're not getting picked up.

19:21 Des Russell  

Absolutely. And we had that happen in the APAC region, right? Because we typically are, this is kind of the last frontier often when it comes to growth in in markets, it's kind of North America, and then we'll go into Europe and then we'll  head across to Southeast Asia or the APEC region. And there's often this playbook that's kind of inferred, which is the playbook which is going to potentially get you ahead, but the reality is that there's just no this is a hyper local region, hyper local business models in every single country as you go ahead. So how are you doing there? Because you're growing the region here. So what are you doing? When you say get on the cold face? Are you meeting with every single partner? Are you across the marketing ops team? Are you across the sales ops team? What are you doing to kind of build that out in your role.

20:27 Elliot Haralambous

And I think one of the largest reflections that I have working in the region where previously I was working in more global role is going to markets that myself I set up 12 months, 18 months, 24 months earlier, that now I was picking up and executing them the region, I started spot all the the pieces, which I may not have seen myself, right. Realize to myself that actually, whether you're in Colombia, Vietnam, Australia, or and everywhere in between every region has the possibility and the benefit of being a lighthouse in a new type of partnership, and a new success case, and actually rewriting the global strategy in a positive way. Now, in one of the big learnings, I had my previous roles, I tried to execute a global strategy in all regions at the same time.

So when things are going well, it was thumbs up, when you start to hit rocks, you hit rocks everywhere at the same time canal, right. So for those in the regions, whether it's, whether it's in HQ, in some of the more mature territories, or whether it's in some of the more growth territories, I really recommend that there's nothing wrong with you forging a path that then can be adopted by global because ultimately, the coalface is where the revenue exists. And if you can kind of provide tangibility to them, big things can change. So link in that strategy, even though it's a global strategy, but linking that to revenue, and then having a pathway to revenue, which is really the ultimate, whether it's a partner journey, that globally, they're trying to bring down. But locally, it might be that hyper scalars, actually, in this region aren't your go to your your go to, it's actually services based partners.

So it could be it could be I mean, again, I do strongly reinforce, that doesn't mean that in the region, go off script and do whatever you want, you still need body and live the strategic intent of your organization. But proving success that makes sense in your region, I think is a really good way to not only influence a global strategy, but to show leadership on the ground. Yeah. All our global go to markets are just a collection of regional learnings, in my opinion, right there.

22:49 Des Russell  

Yeah, absolutely. And when you look at your role, how far do you go? How far do you go into the vision set in for partnerships versus the execution in this quarter? In this fiscal year to achieve that, that revenue number? Where do you put your where do you put your thoughts? Where do you put your your time and energy? And then how do you reconcile that, particularly when you're looking at particular go to market to investments that aren't a near now thing? But are more an intuition of where you're where you think the markets going?

23:32 Elliot Haralambous

I think, you know, this concept of a two speed operating model. It's super important, right? So if when the partnerships and alliances discipline only looking to the next quarter, that's how we end up with years and years of tactical partnerships that bring new revenue once and twice and never again, right? And, yeah, there's there's big pitfalls there. I mean, it may make your line management happy because you reach your quarterly goal. But you also will be chasing the quarterly goal in 3,6,9 quarters. I think my biggest recommendation is that you have a responsibility to serve the people that you serve in the field, and Frontline sellers, customer success, whomever it may be. But you also have a leadership component in your role to spot what might be happening 12 or 18 months from now. And if you don't invest in both elements of the pie, you're either going to have a very happy, let's say management team. unhappy and you feel table vice versa.

So it's your responsibility to balance these two dates. And I think it comes back to really about something that I'm super passionate about, which is, you know, one of the biggest challenges that faces people within partnerships and alliances today isn't so much about an investment issue. I think a lot of people talking to us about well, my team is getting less investment, less focus less time. I'm not allowed to do things that I want to do. I think we have a bigger issue that industry havs is  a traceability issue? Right? How do we make sure that our leadership and our kind of regional teams understand what actually moves the dial? And that's something which I'm really passionate about. And so think of yourself in your revenue leadership, they want to know, for simple things, right? What is the maturity of our partners? You know, where do they sit in the curve? If I manage 20 Partners, which are level 10, which are level one, knowing that is super important? What's the status of my partnership? Right?

So how often did my partners actually in the revenue that they touched? Truly move the dial? And how much was that an exercise of them just being in the room? Really understanding what my organization wants to achieve with partners? How does my plan impact the organization's own goals? And, you know, we do have to have a hard thing about what the ROI of the partnerships teams are, are we making the right bets in the right place? So I think the point that I'm trying to make here is that for all those people out there who may have concerns about, let's say, the level of investment and the seat at the table, I think, changing that narrative by saying, does my organization know what I do? And how that moves the dial? And if it does, how do I make it more predictable and process based so they can?

26:29 Des Russell

Yes 100% agree. It's the what is your story, as a partnership leader that you are telling, consistently over and over again, whether you're talking to your Rev ops, or you're talking to your sales teams, we talk at your marketing operations team, or your customer success team. What is the story that you tell, that is not about what partners are actually doing, but the impact that they are having on the business, to all of those levers that you are strategically, a strategic strategically trying to drive and it's absolutely something I'm quite passionate about.

It's something that I actually learned when I was spent seven years at Microsoft and I had this great leader. That was my manager. And we're used to going to the QB ours, because you know, everyone loves a QBR. And I think the first session, the first the first time he took over and he ran a QBR. He absolutely annihilated everyone in terms of how they're presenting the QBR. Because there was no story to it. It was it was like, I could I could read that I could I know that data, because there's dashboards, we all got dashboards, I've seen the numbers, but tell me the story, behind the numbers that I need to be aware of, that you want to make investments in to move us from here to here, you know, so yeah, I love that. How do you tell that story? Do you have like a bit of a model that you that you use to tell the story?

28:09 Elliot Haralambous  

I do have a model, I think I do have a system and process which I adopt in my day to day work. And hopefully I try and get others to adopt it too. But it comes down to a really, really simple principle, right? If at the end of a partnership process, or sales cycle, or whatever it might be, if you have people questioning if it was or if it was not touched or influenced or impacted or invested with that partner, you have told the story far too late. You need to be that person's champion through that 6, 12 , 18 month process where by the time you actually ask them something from your organization or kind of giving it the tick box that they'd be impacted. People are nodding, as opposed to asking questions. So back to that point, which is what can you do?

What are the series of steps, processes and day to day actions, that you can then demonstrate to your organization that you're moving in the right direction? Because guess what, in the world of enterprise sales, a deal can take more than a year. So you know, when you're having your first QBR, right, you have four QBRs, with two executives or three executives, where there's no revenue on the table. Without a story there, you're going to it's going to be challenging. So you need to have a tough conversation.

29:33 Des Russell

I think, it's that investment curve, which is the reality is that if you look at I think the point you made earlier, when you look at when you assess partners and you go well, I need to know for my executive team, who are my ones and who are my 10s, I'm assuming your your ones or your non producing partners that aren't moving and your 10s are the ones that are generating the revenue from you. So if you put that in a bell curve, everyone knows a bell curve 10 over here, one over there probably represents your revenue. Theat probably represents the the impact that people are making. And often, I think we're kind of so focused on getting more from who's producing that we actually lose the ability to go, Well, what do the 80% that aren't producing? What do they need to just move that doll?

Slowly, but surely, and I think that there's probably a myth here that this, their journey from one to 10 is going to be linear, they're gonna go, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang across. And it's more cyclical, cyclical like that. So how do you reconcile that today? Is that a similar model that you have in terms of where your revenue sits? And then what are you doing to pay attention? Like? Are you really leaving it in a partner's hands to kind of go? Look, you're a one, or you're a two, you really need to be bringing something to me? Or is there something in how you executing your partner strategy, where you are kind of going look I know they're not going to get to million dollar revenue right now. But what they need to know is to understand more about our go to market, they need to understand more about our value proposition. So are you tactically doing something with them? Or what are you doing at Backbase?

31: 51 Elliot Haralambous  

So I think it's really important to note that there's, a false, or there's a fallacy out there in the market today that you need all your partners to be a 10 . And it's just not true, right? If you work in 45 to 50, plus countries in the world, there's some territories where you might do a deal once every four years. And the ones that amaze wanting to a transactional partner is a great partner in a limited time capacity, we work together for a deal and you move on, nurture them for what they want.

You have other partners who want to bring you consistent ongoing delivery, revenue join, join marketing for how we make them successful they want to do but don't try and treat a 10 maturity, like a one and vice versa, right? I think one speed operating model is what really hurts us. Some people don't want to sell with you. Some people don't want to integrate with their products, some people have a very different kind of objective that they will achieve. And that goes back to my last point, which is understand where everyone's friction is, understand how easy friction and design your program your systems and your processes to really address that.

33:02 Des Russell  

I think that's a really good framework. I love that really, really good framework. So when you look at what you're doing today, you've got a bit of experience, right? So you kind of, I suppose you've got an awareness, you've got an awareness of what are the attributes that you look for? When you're establishing a partnership, the attributes of a good partnership? So what have you learned to your experience? are maybe do you have a process for Investible Partnerships, are these partnerships worth investing in is there going to be a we're not going to treat as a transactional partnership, but as a purely mutual beneficial partnership, you have a model or a framework that you use, other than what you've explained before?

33:55 Elliot Haralambous  

Considering our time and had the other hour perhaps is the topic of a longer conversation with you and open to anyone to reach out to me to have a discussion through LinkedIn or whatever, if you want to a more detailed perspective on this. But I think the most simple way to think about this is you need to hear the voice of your partners and your organization, you need to have a few different models of operation. And then you need to design your models operation about what the internal customer and the partner actually wants. So if you've got one method of operation that's can be a delivery partner at XYZ company, and you have heaps of partners out there who just want to be referral partners. Not going to be successful, because you've designed your program around what you want rather than what they want.

Now all the systems and processes and, and science behind it. If you can't understand that foundational point that design something that they will work with, you're going to be stuck into that kind of a feedback cycle that's not going to be beneficial. I'm really passionate about this and and super happy to expand on this in another form.

35: 03 Des Russell

Okay, we'll definitely give everyone's did your details. So people can connect with you after this as well. And maybe we can do a follow up session on that, because I've definitely got a point of view that I'd love to talk more deeply, deeply about there. Maybe we get a couple of other the leaders that have been on the podcast as well, as one thing I wanted to kind of touch on, which is the partnership leaders report, which they've just released on Friday. It's a report that they got 200 odd, Chief Partnership Officers,  and leaders in partnerships in organizations, both tech and public, come through and do a survey. I mean, I think this is one of the benefits of a community like Partnership Leaders to bring this rich data. So we can understand a little bit more about what's going on in partnerships. And I love the fact that they honed in on the role of the chief partnership officer. And they make three key predictions.

They actually say that in calendar year 2024, they forecast more chief partner officer roles in 2024, for three key things. The first thing is they talk about partnerships, teams are taking more and more of the direct or more  responsibility of the revenue, they're producing more revenue for the overall business. So there's a need for a focus. The second thing is they talk about the C-suite looking to support partnership priorities in 2024, to help achieve that probably aligned to what you talk about the revenue number and how we're moving towards it. And the third thing is they talk about the role of the C-suite in grown technology ecosystems, which is becoming less and less only about a direct motion and a partner motion. And there's marketplace motions. There's all these other types of motions there. You haven't probably seen the report just yet or not. Definitely, I'll put it in the show notes. But do you have a point of view of your particular role. And you look at what you're doing in in this particular region, those three predictions? Do you think that those would you align with those three predictions? Or do you have a point of view on really why there might be a more focus on the C-suite around investing and supporting the Chief Partner Officer role?

37:37 Elliot Haralambous

Yeah, I absolutely agree with those recommendations. And I think ultimately, it's it's a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy, right, which is, those organizations who take partnership seriously and give the person or persons who are responsible for their global go to market or the organization's going to market a seat at the table, usually are the ones that get the most benefits, right? Those that view it as a side responsibility or a stepchild, the sales. I mean, again, it's horses for courses, your organization, but we can't expect one kind of investment the other. So from my perspective, if we see that this accurately, and the more and more software companies out there in simple terms are more along with each other, the biggest organizations in the world, you name it, whether it be Salesforce, Adobe, Microsoft, Google, AWS, whomever it is, they by definition to serve more industries need to become more horizontal?

And it means software vendors need to become more niche, because let's say a big tech is commoditizing. Right? So what that means is just by those two market forces, you're gonna see a hell of a lot more software vendors being super focused on the business problems they solve, and a lot more of the big players becoming more and more mature about what they do. When it comes to, let's say, big tech, and example that we all can throw topicals open AI chat, GPT, right, everyone talks about it. But those are recent Developer Day, where they basically said, these are all the things that you can do on our platform. Yeah, all the startups that work in our space, need to make a big decision. Do we reuse their tech and make it super focused towards a business problem? Or are we in the business of infrastructure and building the tech itself? The same thing happens in partnerships. Well, there's only at the end of the day, you know, small mobile, mobile software companies are gonna focus on solving business problems, is your platform isn't iPass we're a platform or integration service. Guess what? The big Tech's come and they have a great product and it's usually cheaper than what you can build it for. Reuse and execute or you can try and rebuild from the ground up.

39:51 Des Russell  

Yeah, I think it's a point that you mentioned earlier, the intuition you know, what are you looking for? Are you looking forward enough to understand what is going on in your industry in the market? And then what intuition do you bring into into your partnership role in terms of the problems that you need to solve? Maybe not now only on revenue, but in long term? Because, you know, that's, that's critical, critical thinker when you kind of think about, you know, someone who's, who's building a revenue strategy, which is well, you know, the old Wayne Gretzky quote know where the pucks going, skate to where the puck is going, not to where the puck is right now.

Elliot Haralambous  40:33

In my opinion, right? If any organization is being truly focused on delivering on a platform vision, right. And we are a platform company, if you are a platform company, partners have to be front and center. If your partners are not front and center, I would argue perhaps you're not a platform company.

Des Russell  40:55

Yeah. Love it. Look, man, it's been a great conversation and  I'd love to finish off with our partnerships Fast-Five. So partnerships Fast Five, really simple. I'm gonna give you a couple of sentences. And I want you to just say whatever comes to your head, no pre-work required and no wrong answer. One or two words to finish it off. And everyone passes this part of the test. Okay first one.

Partnerships thrive on...

41:31 Elliot Haralambous

Having a good time.

41:34 Des Russell

Partnerships embody...

41:37 Elliot Haralambous  

Trust and preparation.

41:40 Des Russell

Through partnerships, you can...

41:42 Elliot Haralambous

Get grey hair, or luxury.

41:48 Des Russell

Partnerships spark...

41:50 Elliot Haralambous

When you think outside the box.

41:53 Des Russell

And lastly, partnerships succeed through...

41:55 Elliot Haralambous

Internal commitment executed externally to me it's a bit verbose, but I think it's true, right?

42:03 Des Russell

Okay, cool. Love it. Awesome. Partnerships Fast Five, passed with flying colors. Lovely and whenever there's a hair, a hair color or hair style joke, I've got to jump in. Anyway. It's been so good to have you on the Investable Partnerships podcast. There's so much to learn from your experience. I've really enjoyed the conversation. I love what you've shared. There's certainly a bunch of threads there that I think our community can pick up on. And if they want to get a hold of you and interact with you or talk to you about anything, how best can they do that. So

42:21 Elliot Haralambous

Anyone of the listeners today, feel free to reach out to me, either through professional channels in my current capacity or just Elliot Haralambous  on LinkedIn right, I'm more than happy to discuss the world of partnerships itself, or perhaps if it relates to my role today. But I think something we should all take full from this is that we can learn a lot from our own community and we can set our own rules and the more we start talking the same language, the quicker this entire flywheel will kind of drive through an industry and so there's appreciate the time and having on the podcast today, and I'm sure it won't be lost.

42:48 Des Russell  

Awesome. Thanks very much, man.

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