At Acquia, we view our partners as equal teammates. In an earlier blog post, we explained what a partner-first mission meant for Acquia in terms of our commitment to ensuring innovative ideas, agile solutions and mutually beneficial relationships that empower our partners to earn more revenue and grow their success. We recently spoke to a few long-time Acquia partners to learn why they continue to do business with us and how Acquia’s exclusive partner-first program stands out when compared to what other organizations in the space are offering.
Partner-First Is Built on Trust, Not Fear
Just as with any healthy relationship, great business partnerships are built on a foundation of trust and mutual support. Partner-first means we want to win alongside our partners, not compete against them. This is not the case for other providers who snatch up any opportunity to step in and take over if it serves their immediate interest. In May, WCM vendor Sitecore bought Hedgehog, one of its premier channel implementation partners. The acquisition shocked both the members of its own partner network and the industry at large, with many feeling uneasy about a vendor stepping on the toes of those in the client services space. When vendors like Sitecore start to focus heavily on services revenue, it creates an atmosphere of anxiety and distrust within both the partner ecosystem and the buyers themselves.
“There are concerns when you know that a company has its own implementation team behind the scenes when it comes to registering deals,” says a representative from one of our partners.
“Partner managers have to be comfortable enough with their account managers to be able to share their leads and be reassured that any deals won’t get stolen or sniped by the vendor.”
Creating an atmosphere without that fear and friction was top-of-mind for Acquia’s CEO, Mike Sullivan, when he set forth the vision for Acquia to become a partner-first organization. Sullivan even spoke directly with this partner to assure them that Acquia was interested in working together and empowering them to bring better solutions to their customers. Acquia wasn’t going to come in and steamroll a partner’s services team.
David Nie, SVP of MRM/McCann, an Acquia Global Select Partner, said that compared with some of their other partners Acquia “thinks a lot more about ways to win together.” Today, more than 98% of our implementations in the market are completed by partners. We focus on getting the most value from our best-in-class platform and expert support knowledge, meaning that there’s more value to the customers and to us to sustain the ecosystem than to try and encroach on our partner agencies’ service efforts or revenue.
An Enterprise Vision and Industry Expertise
As more industry customers embrace open and cloud-based technologies, Acquia has the advantage of having always had that open source architecture and a flexible platform built natively with the cloud. This means partners can feel confident in recommending Acquia for these needs because we know the model inside and out. Our partners believe that Acquia offers the right combination of a trusted reputation and understanding of where the digital landscape is headed.
In a recent informative partner session, digital agency and Acquia’s 2016 Growth Partner of the Year, Boston Digital echoed the ideas expressed by our two other partner representatives above, explaining that their relationship with Acquia is valuable due to strong internal support and leadership in the market. In comparison, a vendor such as Sitecore is a closed system solution that is now trying to tack on cloud and open source rhetoric to their offerings to remain competitive and relevant in the market. Sitecore may market themselves as cloud-managed, but they are far behind cloud-native platforms like Acquia when it comes to strategy. “Sitecore isn’t really in the cloud,” according to Tadd Barnes, vice president of engineering at Boston Digital.
Sitecore relies on third-party providers to deploy their solution in the cloud. This means that if a customer requires cloud deployment, the deployment model is an additional cost. Furthermore, this model focuses on storage and compute, and lacks the development tools and environments required to build, deploy and manage these solutions. From a partner perspective, an open source platform makes it easy for agencies to join disparate technologies and data sources without having to completely overhaul a difficult, obsolete tech stack to launch new sites. With Acquia, an open source differentiation equals faster time to market, scalability and reduced time and resources required by the services team during implementation. A firm that delivers faster, simpler solutions that evolve to keep pace with the market will have more satisfied customers who will return again and again to further expand their digital efforts.
Today, clients are recognizing the power of open source to drive differentiation. Acquia “checks all the boxes” customers are looking for in terms of a global company vision that can grow to scale to suit customer needs and a supportive community of experts. “With other vendors who don’t specialize in Drupal, if you have a Drupal migration question they say ‘that’s your problem’ and let you deal with it on your own. But with Acquia you see the difference in terms of establishing relationships with customers and offering support with Drupal implementation questions,” said Boston Digital’s Barnes.
Acquia’s long-term involvement in the Drupal open source community puts us in a prime position to help clients transition to these types of environments and stay competitive in the ever-changing world of digital transformation. Even if customers aren’t yet sure about going with Acquia and Drupal, Barnes says that Acquia’s industry recognition in Gartner and Forrester has helped Boston Digital gain client trust and secure business.