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Acquia’s Partner-First Mission Shines at Acquia Engage

Recently, CMS-Connected was invited to sit down and discuss the Acquia partner program with the premier sponsors of their annual Engage conference:

  • EPAMAcquia Engage Online

  • Bounteous 

  • Accenture

I was excited about the opportunity from an analyst perspective because it enabled me to identify how vendors build a ‘partner-first’ model into their global strategy, which is one of our primary categories in scoring vendors today.

For a product to succeed long-term, vendors need to adopt a partner-first model. Here are the critical factors when analyzing a vendor’s potential:

  • The product vendor and partner co-market and co-sell on all opportunities and are an extension of each other during the customer acquisition process
     
  • The product vendor provides best-in-class training to both customers and partners and offers multiple training tracks that lend support for all facets of the products roadmap
     
  • The product vendor provides technical consultation to partners and customers throughout every phase of a project, when needed
     
  • The product vendor provides excellent customer service to partners to troubleshoot issues that fall outside of a partner’s expertise
     
  • The product vendor has a partner board that meets regularly to receive critical feedback and suggestions, and, in turn, those recommendations are acted upon

The focus on these elements for a successful partner-first model was top of mind when I met virtually with Acquia and their three top premiere partners. Here is the outcome of those interviews.
 

Neal Prescott - VP of Martech Practice, EPAM

Seth Dobbs - Chief Technology Officer, Bounteous

Tamba Lamin - Drupal Product Lead, Accenture


What was immensely satisfying in my discussions with each partner was how all three wonderfully articulated and defined the advantages of working with Acquia through successful deployments and described the value in each of their relationships. I especially appreciated finding common ground between them. Some of the shared elements I had the pleasure of identifying were when:

  • Each partner explained their breadth of global and vertical strength and how that aligns with Acquia’s strategy
     
  • The Interviewees all showed in-depth overall industry knowledge and strong expertise in the CMS/DXP space
     
  • Each Interviewee shared direct reasons on why they chose Acquia as a partner
     
  • Each Interviewee provided detailed experiences on how Acquia helped solve a customer and partner problem
     
  • Each Interviewee explained how viable and essential the partnership is to their organization and was able to describe their increasing success meaningfully

These success stories were especially important outcomes since partners are an extension of a product’s viability. All three digital agencies are incredibly competent at deploying complex solutions on a global stage. They signified that their partnership with Acquia is only getting stronger — precisely what should be realized from a solid partner channel.

Turning the attention to the vendor itself, I was fortunate to sit down with Peter Ford, the Vice President of Global Channels, Partners & Alliances at Acquia, to understand Acquia’s position on partnerships and discover where improvements to the program were being implemented.

Peter Ford, the Vice President of Global Channels, Partners & Alliances at Acquia


There were many key takeaways from my discussion, but the primary takeaway was how Acquia has proven that they are serious about being on top of the partner-first model. Even more impressive was taking in Acquia’s commitment and resolve to help partners be more successful during each phase of their projects. Peter discussed that plan and more of his thoughts to attain those goals in 2021.

Final Thoughts 

In the Martech landscape, a product’s partner strategy is not nearly discussed internally or externally as often as other ROI topics. Let’s be honest; it’s just not a sexy or stimulating discussion that gets a lot of attention. Products will routinely highlight and discuss value propositions, such as:

  • How their new, shiny, and cutting edge features and functionality are above their competition?
     
  • How quickly and effectively their product solves challenges in the market?
     
  • How that product integrates easily into the business’s existing ecosystem, saving everyone time and money while increasing revenue?

When the discussion finally does roll around to partner acquisition and success, it’s usually a conversation of quantity over quality and about how many brand-new partner acquisitions the vendors have onboarded. However, it’s the details embodying partner onboarding and maintenance that are the fundamental reasons that products will succeed long-term with customers in today’s marketplace.

Any product offering can be the best solution on the planet, and any vendor can have an impressive partner list. But if the IT companies and digital agencies that act as the service delivery partners fail to deliver successful deployments, those same vendors have a critical problem. At the end of the day, a product’s testament to its true ROI is one that is delivered on-time and on-budget. There is no intrinsic value for how many partners a product vendor has signed up because, in reality, it’s how well those partners deploy the product for their customers. After meeting each of these three Acquia partners, I do not doubt that they will continue to achieve success.

Stephen Medve

Stephen Medve

Stephen Medve is the Senior Analyst at CMSC Media. For the last 12 years, Stephen has been working as a Sales Consultant and Solution Advisor helping medium, large, and enterprise companies select their backbone IT ecosystems which include ECM, WCM, CRM, and eCommerce and digital marketing platforms.