Why single-service partnerships are evolving, as we prepare for the post-COVID world


Over the years, many organisations have developed their partner networks by engaging with multiple suppliers for specific services, utilising flexible transactional relationships to access services on an as-needed basis. The immediate advantages here are clear: organisations can broaden their capabilities and enhance their infrastructure while minimising the resulting burden on internal teams, allowing them to focus their expertise on business growth activities.

However, such models have their limitations. A disparate partner network can limit communication and collaboration, particularly when multiple solutions must be securely and effectively interconnected. Furthermore, transactional, supplier-style partnerships will offer limited opportunities for customisation, or the design and delivery of bespoke solutions – a major concern for sectors such as finance, legal, and healthcare, which have highly specific, highly strict compliance obligations regarding how data is stored, managed, and transferred. For organisations working in these sectors, off-the-shelf solutions will quickly show their limitations.

Sharing the lessons learnt throughout 2020

Even for organisations with less complex requirements, the past year - with the forced move to a distributed workforce and rapid evolution of hybrid working - has highlighted the need for maximum flexibility and the ability to pivot in response to unexpected disruptions across the digital landscape. The organisations who most successfully weathered these challenges and emerged with a range of new innovations to offer both staff and customers have frequently done so through close collaboration with their technology partners, pooling their collective experience, expertise, and resources to establish a new standard of best practice around remote working and the remote delivery of services.

Many partnerships naturally evolved during this period, broadening the overall service wrap, and increasing the level of collaboration between teams. But others simply continued along a journey they had been on for a number of years. The most successful collaborations between organisations and their technology partners have involved openness, communication, and a willingness to explore new innovations since the first point of contact, even if the partnership was initiated for the delivery of a single service or solution.

A real-world example of a strong, evolving technology partnership

Consider, for example, the partnership between Exponential-e and Modern Networks, which has been in a state of constant evolution since the two companies first made contact in 2011. Having initially engaged Exponential-e as a fibre partner, with a view to streamlining a dispersed partner ecosystem, the relationship has since evolved to encompass same-day support for on-site staff and cutting-edge connectivity – all critical steps in Modern Networks' long-term plan for full digital transformation, which encompasses Cloud migration and centralised, full-integrated Unified Communications.

We are seeing more and more partnerships moving in a similar direction, with the disruptions of the past year having revealed a range of opportunities for improved collaboration, consolidation, and improvements in both internal processes and service delivery - all of which will translate to sustainable long-term growth and increased customer confidence as we emerge from lockdown.

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