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Removing Roadblocks for a Thriving Partner Ecosystem

By: Angus Ward, CEO, Beyond Now

Communication Service Providers (CSPs) are continually looking at fresh opportunities created by technology innovation and market needs – evaluating new potential engines for growth that can augment traditional connectivity revenues. These growth engines can be anything from 5G networks to cloud and edge, cybersecurity, or AI. Often it means that CSPs need to step into a higher growth adjacent market, where they end up competing with born-digital, more agile organisations such as the hyperscalers or tech startups.

One of the necessities for being successful in this reality is the ability to move from a traditional linear business model, to a multi-sided platform-based one, where CSPs can harnesses the power of an ecosystem of partners. Such an ecosystem can offer complementary R&D investment, skills, culture, and different approaches to the marketing and selling of new technology solutions, aligning better to customers’ needs. Reality shows that executing on such a business model is often easier said than done, particularly if the CSP’s balance sheets are under pressure, leading to a short-term focus on cutting costs and maintaining the quarterly dividend. Understanding the roadblocks and barriers, as well as finding ways to remove them are a crucial part of a CSPs’ ability to succeed.

Changing Dynamics in CSP Partnerships: Shift to Diverse, Multi-Party Ecosystems

So, what are some of the roadblocks and barriers to partnering? CSPs have traditionally partnered with a small number of large companies, typically at the end of multi-year procurements. Ecosystem partnering is very different and it is essential to understand these differences as the first steps:

Changes in Partner Types and Skills

Changes in Partner Types and Skills

The types of partners and the skills required in the ecosystem are rapidly changing. CSPs now need partners with expertise in areas like IoT, AI, cloud computing or industry knowledge to stay competitive. According to Gartner, by 2025, 75% of CSPs will rely on diverse partner ecosystems to deliver new digital services and solutions. The need for more skilled partners should encourage CSPs to look beyond the usual suspects. Still today, many partnerships are centred around large vendors or hyperscalers, but innovation and customer expectations are leading CSPs to open up to long-tail partners.

Increasing Scale

Managing the scale of these partnerships is a significant challenge. CSPs are moving from managing a handful of vendors to orchestrating hundreds or even thousands of partners. This requires new levels of automation and streamlined processes, especially when it comes to partner management.

Embracing Diverse Collaboration Models

Until now, relationships with partners were linear, where CSPs were at the centre of these relationships (Vendor-CSP, CSP-resellers). Ecosystem partnering requires CSPs to embrace diverse collaboration models, including B2B2X, multi-party solutions, and even selling with their enterprise customers. These models need robust flexible and scalable systems and processes to manage them effectively.

The Importance of Ease of Doing Business and Empowering Partners

A critical question to consider is why would a partner want to work with a CSP? Is there a compelling value proposition; a clear win for the partner; a simple partner journey; a transparency of progress and an ease of working with the CSP such that the partner can be confident they are likely to be successful together? Simplifying processes and empowering partners are essential for ensuring seamless collaboration and mutual growth. Clear guidelines, standardized procedures, and dedicated support can make a significant difference.

CSPs are very risk-averse due to regulation, privacy, and security exposure, leading to long lead times for partnerships. In the current dynamic and competitive environment, they must balance risk with speed, adopting more standardized approaches, onboarding processes, testing, and contracting to allow rapid and scalable partnerships. Standardizing onboarding processes can help CSPs balance regulation, security, and innovation effectively. CSPs need to move away from traditional procurement processes to a more agile, innovative approach. This includes being open to new ideas, taking calculated risks, and supporting experimentation.

Constantly keeping in mind, the question “how can I attract partners?” especially smaller, highly innovative companies at the forefront of new technologies such as AI, or those with specialist industry expertise? Developing flexible partnership agreements that allow for rapid collaboration while ensuring compliance and security is key. These frameworks should outline roles, responsibilities, and expectations clearly. Creating dedicated innovation hubs or labs where partners can collaborate on new ideas and solutions in a controlled environment allows for experimentation and innovation without compromising network security.

Partner Orchestration: The Next Generation of Partner Management

Working with a diverse range of partners introduces a lot more complexity into a CSP’s processes, requiring a digitized and hyper-automated operating model with modern, flexible, and agile IT. A good test is if the CSP has managed to join the myriad of internal stovepipes within their own business into a single umbrella customer experience for its customers. If so, it is more likely ready to extend the model and provide a smooth journey for ecosystem partners.

Leveraging technology to manage partner relationships can streamline operations and enhance collaboration. The relevant solution should support seamless collaboration across diverse types of partners, including solution partners, go-to-market channel partners, resellers, and other CSPs. They should also support diverse models of partnerships from resellers and vendors to B2B2X, multi-party solutions, and selling with customers. Beyond Now’s Partner Orchestration Solution, a new SaaS-based offering, is designed to simplify the complexities of partner collaboration by automating workflows to deliver efficiency and scalability over a unified platform. Partner Orchestration provides a central command centre for coordinating onboarding, interactions, data sharing, processes, and transactions among diverse partners. This zero-touch approach minimizes manual efforts and maximizes automation, allowing CSPs to scale their partner networks efficiently.


The shift from linear partnerships to ecosystem partnerships is driving CSPs to look for new IT solutions that offer scalability, flexibility, and automation. Partner Orchestration provides the tools needed to navigate this new era of collaboration, allowing CSPs to optimize partner management and drive business growth. Traditional partner management solutions are no longer sufficient for CSPs looking to stay competitive.

Partner Orchestration offers a comprehensive approach, supporting CSPs as they diversify revenue streams, enhance customer loyalty, and improve time-to-market. By leaving traditional partner management behind and adopting Partner Orchestration, a solution that can handle the growing complexity and scale of modern ecosystems, CSPs can position themselves at the forefront of the industry, ready to meet the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

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