Infor is taking its Asia Pacific (APAC) partner strategy to the next level after it being in its “infancy stage” over a year ago, according to its driving force in the region.
Speaking to ARN, Infor APAC senior VP and general manager Terry Smagh claimed when he came on board over a year ago in August 2022, the company’s partnership model was in its infancy. While he thinks he still has a way to go yet, he believes that the company has improved its channel strategy in the region.
“There isn't a space where we say it's exclusive to only Infor and no partners allowed. There's just none of that bit and that's very new to the partner ecosystem here,” he said.
Currently, Infor is seeing a “huge” uptake with its alliance partners, such as Deloitte, Wipro, TCS and, more locally, DXC and Accenture, but is looking to bring in a select group of channel players.
“We are also making changes in terms of how we go to market. Those changes are reflected on what the customers are demanding of us,” Smagh said. “Partners are seeing the pace that we are going and then we're trying to drive the same agility in regards to how and where we recruit partners.
“You will not see a huge banner or invite saying, 'Partner recruitment drive, come in'[; …] We've been very selective because end of the day, partnership is a two way street. It's all about trust and if we don't think that they can be successful, then we know when to stop.”
As for how the company’s partner strategy has changed in APAC, Smagh claims the vendor is embracing the concept of partnerships from the top down and engaging with partners early on in the relationship – not just from a project or sales capability but working with partners to ensure that “they do and deliver as good as we do”.
“What has now changed is that there's a consistent team, top down, whether it's from Tokyo to New Zealand, that [is] partner first. That ecosystem matters. This didn't exist 15 months ago,” he said.
Now, Smagh said Infor is at an inflection point and needs to ask them what they want to do with the vendor.
“If the partner is not generating X amount of revenue that we expect, then that is a problem. Now, we don't expect partners to be exclusive to us because we are not exclusive to a particular partner yet,” he said.
In terms of its internal assets, Smagh said that in the time he’s been at Infor, he’s moved 30 to 40 per cent of its sales team to the channel.
“The mandate to everybody, from the strategic account guy to the channel rep, is that we work with partners. That's number one,” he said.
“We want our reps to you know, embrace the partnership model and then look to leverage partners. That means that we also alter the way that they can work with partners.”
With 2024 right around the corner, Smagh said the way forward is “really about what we want to do differently in terms of where things are”.
Last year, he continued, was a year of execution for the vendor, which involved engaging partners in Infor’s ecosystem, redefining its go-to-market and preparing the business for that change.
“The partner strategy in 2024; it's not going to do an entire 180, but rather it is going to be built on what we started off this year,” he said.
“I want us to be focused, less is more, I want us to have dedicated partners and committed partners, because end of the day, at the centre of all of these are the customers and I want the customer experience not to be diluted, I want us to have a very, very good perspective of how we are providing that support.”