Vendor co-opetition is bringing positive sum economics to Enterprise IT market

Cloudera Sessions 2018 Mumbai saw a gathering of Cloudera customers and partners from across India. The India leadership of some of the top Enterprise IT companies attending the event joined Sangram Aglave, Technology Editor, BW Businessworld in a panel discussion to discuss the nature of Enterprise IT vendor alliances and what it means to the customer.

Every market has a duality of “Competition” and “Cooperation” and so is true with the Enterprise IT market. The distinction between what is Enterprise IT and Consumer IT seems to be fading or receding from a distance, but a closer look shows us significant changes in the Go to market strategies of both the established and new Enterprise IT vendors. We see an increase in Research and Development (R&D) dollars spent on partner programs and deeper integrations thanks to rapid evolution of standards. We could argue if this is a necessity or a direct result of the emergence of Cloud computing and rise of Opensource. A lot of open source projects originated within the Consumer Internet companies like Facebook, Yahoo, LinkedIn and Google and therefore there is a tendency to study and compare the path Consumer internet and Enterprise IT would take. It is adequately clear that both Consumer and Enterprise IT draw upon the success of the internet and the networked world.

The Role of Open Architecture

The on-premise Enterprise IT world was characterized largely by competing proprietary software interests. Sometimes technology and most of the times commercial realities forced vendors into competition. Open architectures change the duality by changing the nature of competition and improving cooperation among vendors. Vinod Ganesan, Country Manager, Cloudera said “This is the era of Co-opetition. Open Architectures are key enabling factors for timely delivery of digital technology as they cater to customer choice and all this assures customer success. Organizations that adopt open architectures also become more open to cultural change which is a vital ingredient in success of any transformation project.” Mandar Kulkarni, Director -Partner Technology Microsoft India said “In this fast-changing world no one can claim to be the most innovative. We see lot of digital innovation coming from the open source world and Microsoft openly accepts and acknowledges it. Microsoft has always been a partner company to other vendors and we are keen on forming cohesive alliances to help the customers in their data journey.” He went ahead to add that “customers want all vendors to work together to avoid ‘data’ silos. Vendor partnerships are in the interest of the customer and we are responding to that.” Ravi Raman, EVP - Product Engineering and Development, Paladion said “co-opetition brings focus on super specialization as one company cannot be good at everything” Arun Balasubramanian, Managing Director India, Qlik said “the mission of qlik is to solve the societal challenges in acquiring data literacy. And to solve this challenge we have partnered with Accenture, Cognizant and similar organizations to help communities and people to may use of data. We recently constituted a global data literacy survey in partnership with IHS Markit to create awareness around this area” Joel Sequeira, Technology Sales Specialist, SUSE said “vendors are not competing with each other, rather are now collaborating together to score the proverbial goal of customer success.”

Daisy chaining Value through Partnerships

All vendors are partners and the Enterprise IT world seems to have become more flatter with cloud computing and pervasiveness of the consumer internet. Is SaaS a product or a service? can be disputed. Are all platforms products? is also a matter of semantics. What is key here is the emergence of a new type of a partner who in turn assembles technology from other partners and to deliver a service to a end customer and who eventually servers the end consumer. Technology Partnerships therefore almost look like a daisy chain of value equations. Are we heading towards a world in which the Enterprise can also be seen as partnering and not servicing the end consumer? Vendors have realized that they at the most can be one part of their Customer’s value equation. The business decision maker has a greater choice now to assemble individual components to distribute the value in their consumer markets.

Diffusion of Modern Data Architecture

Modern data architectures are open in nature. Data Lakes, Data Federation, Data Fabric, data virtualization are heavy concepts. It would take considerable investments and time to dissolve and diffuse these concepts in to the customer organizations. Vinod Ganesan, Country Manager, Cloudera said “Big data technology is now mainstream. We discover new use cases on a daily basis. Big data is gathering a lot of momentum from a adoption point of view” Mandar Kulkarni, Director -Partner Technology Microsoft India said “we see enterprises spending considerable amount of effort and time in trying to gather insights from the their big data.” He further said “regulated industries in particular are free to choose opensource; in fact opensource is their preferred choice now. Most of the regulations are around location of the data. Microsoft Azure platform is open and customers are free to deploy any solution across the ingest to report spectrum.” Joel Sequeira, Technology Sales Specialist, SUSE said “The trend of software defined has decoupled the software from the hardware and with SUSE's software defined infrastructure, allows for an open, agile and flexible approach.”


The amount of experimentation and the focus on data insights within Enterprises is a clear indicator of the ongoing diffusion of modern data architectures. Vendor alliances are giving Enterprises the confidence to adopt open source in the Cloud world. The secular trend of peer to peer collaboration is instrumental in removing barriers to Digital transformation by making technology more accessible with the Opensource movement. Companies like Cloudera are partnering with other vendors to create enormous data gravity through data lakes and this in turn attracts more partners to bring additional value to the end user Enterprise.

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