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What’s the key to driving a successful partnership strategy? Culture.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

5 minute read

What’s the key to driving a successful partnership strategy? Culture.

Jane Broberg, Chief Human Resource Officer, Basware

Paul Taylor, Chief Revenue Officer, Basware

Have you ever heard the saying, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner”? Well, at Basware, it’s our way of life. Our culture extends far past lunch socials and holiday gatherings, we base everything we do with our customers, partners, and community on the foundation of our culture. We believe organizations must think about their culture today, tomorrow, and every day thereafter, to enable success as an organization.

 

Beginning our journey – Focusing on culture

To truly operate internationally and provide global services, we realized about six years ago that we had some areas of our business that we needed to focus on and change while continuing to maintain and grow our business. We needed to change the way of working and change our way of thinking. And although that seems quite straightforward and easy to achieve, there were several challenges we faced.

You can easily develop an implementation plan, but changing the way you think and getting your employees to adapt to a new and different way of working, is something that you constantly have to think about and work towards. How do you actually enable that change? Inevitably, all the answers begin to point to one word – culture.

Our strategy at that time was to grow both organically and through acquisition. Through a few acquisitions in Germany, UK, and North America, it became clear that we needed to create a single product strategy to further enable the company's success which would also better align our people and culture.

Our global matrix functional model – bringing our worldwide team together

Today we operate as a global matrix functional model, which provides the structure to bring the countries and functions together which helps to break down unnecessary silos.

As part of setting up the global matrix, we conducted a major restructuring to fully align with our strategy plus rightsized the organization enabling the required efficiency. During these six years, we outsourced and divested non-strategic business lines, realigned the organization, ensuring we had the right people in the right place. Another crucial part of the success of our change was revisiting the required skills mix essential within a software-as-a-service (SaaS) business.

On this point, a couple of notable changes made were first, within our delivery organization, moving to a blended delivery approach including building a centralized delivery team to ensure, repeatable, centralized cost-effective delivery whilst balancing that with high value, roles, and skills in the local markets. Here we secured roles such as Solution Architects and Project Managers, ensuring we had the right balance required. Another key focus area was within our sales teams, implementing a very clear approach to drive new business with Direct Sales Account managers and Expansion sales account managers, ensuring the best service to our existing customers while expanding the offering within these accounts. These roles were no exception to our overall approach when it comes to setting goals and targets; a great effort has been invested in ensuring the goals really resonated with each individual enabling them to understand how they were personally contributing to the overall business strategy. Without a doubt, another fundamental area to get right for both driving business performance and employee motivation and engagement.

Redefining our values and culture

As part of evolving our culture, our values played a big part in defining who we had become and where we wanted to go. After countless conversations throughout the organization at all levels, several key themes and principles continued to recur. This led us to redefine our values. The key themes that continue to drive us today are the following:-

  • Leading the way through innovation and development

  • Inspiring and being inspired through collaboration and teamwork

  • Ensuring the ultimate customer experience achieving customer satisfaction

  • Striving for success largely contributed to by great diverse and inclusive Baswareans

Allowing these values to drive our business decisions gave people a voice to create action plans and deliver on those plans. Change is hard and has a great impact on employees, but through open and consistent communication, we built trust, which we believe is critical for the success of any organization.

Our approach to partnerships

How we carry our culture into external relationships was equally as strategic as our internal changes. Historically, when we thought of partnerships, we thought about value-added resellers, typically engaged on the back end of an opportunity. However, recognizing strong partnerships go hand-in-hand with happy customers, we came up with a 4-tier strategy for partnership engagement that has catapulted our success in the market.

1. Position: We want to position ourselves in an area of the market with an ideal customer profile, where we know we can bring unique and strong value to the customer. (i.e. oftentimes large organizations, with high complexity, and multinational)

2. Focus: We want focused partner relationships. Both willing to invest, both willing to commit, and both willing to collaborate.

3. Support: We need to be able to provide a unique partner experience, with clear training, easy-to-use onboarding, and continued service support.

4. Coopetition: (Or cooperative competition.) To work with partners in this market, we have to be willing to co-exist. We want to partner with companies that we enjoy working with and understand the importance of partnerships as an extension of your brand.

We align our marketing and presales teams with our partners to collaborate and together deliver successful implementations to our customers. We want to work closely to onboard, engage in shadow programs, introduce our services teams, and help develop skills (where applicable). We recognize that supporting partners is different than supporting an end-user, so we are dedicated to educating and engaging the sales and service teams.

How do we partner?

Below are a few ways we categorize our partnerships as guidance to our sales team so they know what to look for when they need support, then engage and develop the opportunity.

1. Advisory Partnerships – procurement and finance transformation relationships like program management, project governance, risk assessment, change management

2. System Integrators – influencers, advisors, and implementation management, working together and providing support to clients through skills that we bring in terms of solutions, availability, expertise

3. Value-Added Resellers (VARs) – in certain markets, bringing value through project management and delivery and can cover a wide breadth of needs

Why partner with Basware?

We're delivering 70% of our revenues in SaaS and are on a trajectory to complete our journey of roughly 100% SaaS revenue within the next year. We are proud of this accomplishment and our ability to achieve this with little disruption to the business. We have an expansive customer data database worldwide, with very reputable brands, in more than 100 countries. We have a clear strategy and approach to build, consolidate, and grow. We will continue to build on the solid foundations that we've put in place and continue to innovate. Lastly, we will continue developing and motivating our superb talent, building for the future.

Interested in partnering?

Great! We would love to learn about how our companies can become even more successful, through a trusted partnership. Contact us at [email protected] or listen to the full on-demand webinar here.