Marie Nalty, Channel and Alliances Manager, Australia and New Zealand, Apptio, a US-based company founded in 2007 that develops technology business management software-as-a-service applications. Nalty’s management philosophy focuses on clarity and win-win for partners. She is very clear and direct on painting a vision of the desired outcome with Apptio’s channel partners. Nalty explains to us how Apptio is growing its investments and developing its channel business in Australia and New Zealand.
Describe your current job role and the parts that are somewhat challenging?
My role is to build and grow a successful set of partners that deliver the coverage and complementary services to help Apptio expand our customer presence in Australia and New Zealand. The interest of the role is that it is challenging: Apptio has three complementary products sets which centre on financial management for existing workloads, cloud-specific workloads and future financial planning, respectively. We see different partners playing different roles, and to successfully support the Apptio business, Australia and New Zealand expansion, and commitment to the technology business management (TBM) framework, I need a small portfolio of strategic partners for each product set, with the right profile, capabilities and customer focus.
Focus is the key word here – I need to stay focused to identify, recruit, onboard and develop the right set of partners that have both the appetite and capability to repeatedly generate joint business across Apptio’s solutions portfolio.
Can you explain how your company works with channel partners?
A few of our partners generate a margin from reselling our software but typically, we look to our partners to influence the tool selection among end user customers and to generate a variety of services around those opportunities. We have specific influence commissions to support this.
These services cover all parts of the lifecycle, from initial consulting or presales engagements to implementation and configuration. There is then a long-tail opportunity for our partners with services relating to the ongoing management of the platform and related processes. Apptio has chosen to be selective in the services we offer in the region and reserve this opportunity for our partners.
We also ensure that our sales reps’ compensation is neutral, whether a partner is involved or not in the opportunity. This drives the right behaviour as our reps are incentivised to use all internal and external resources to close opportunities and ensure partner and customer satisfaction.
How do you ensure channel partners flourish in a highly competitive market?
With a small number of strategic and differentiated partners, Apptio is able to service wider segments of the market while avoiding channel conflict.
We select our partners carefully, primarily on their ability to generate services revenue from our platform, ensuring that our partners view Apptio as an innovative, reliable, viable and profitable solution.
What are the latest trends you see emerging across the channel?
The channel is evolving from traditional transacting partners to a range of new models. I always find it interesting to watch the innovation displayed by the various partner types and the range of services developed to service customers in different, bespoke ways. A flurry of non-transacting partners have appeared, influencing and advising their customers on optimising and managing their ‘as-a-service’ models.
What is your management philosophy?
Clarity and win-win. I am very clear and direct on painting a vision of the desired outcome with our channel partners. We know that it is not always a straight road, but we need to keep the ultimate destination in mind.
I ensure that all parties walk out of our engagements as winners. Everyone has something different to contribute and the outcome is built with all the pieces of the puzzle: vendor, partner and customer.
Being clear about the contribution of each party and recognising them accordingly enables each to profit, feel valued and be prepared to contribute successfully on the next engagement.
When you look back at your career, what has been the most memorable achievement?
I have enjoyed managing complex organisations – this takes patience and persistence. I really enjoy it when two large organisations come together and find ways to partner to jointly deliver innovative solutions to the market.
What made you think of a career in technology?
I grew up with IT as my father was a long time IBMer. I promised him that I would not end up in IT like him. Well, things turned out differently – after starting a degree in architecture, I decided that I enjoyed the technical aspects more than the art subjects. So, I earned a degree in IT and started my career as a business analyst for an ERP provider. What has kept me in the technology industry since is the constant innovation and evolution. I find it exciting to consistently learn and work with technologies that change the way people live and work. I particularly enjoy combining my business acumen with my technical knowledge to drive different conversations and approaches with partners.
What do you think will be the hot technology talking point of 2021?
I believe that AI and Machine Learning will continue to be integrated in innovative solutions that evolve the way technology can help people in their personal and professional lives. Apptio’s solutions are key to this emerging technology – our customers more than ever need to have a good handle on the value and cost efficiency delivered by their technology choices to enable them to make the right decisions.
What are your personal interests and where do you like to spend most of your time after work?
The four Fs spring to mind: family, friends, food and fitness. What I enjoy most is spending time with my family and friends in Australia and overseas. Like everyone, COVID-19 has prevented me from doing some of that over the last 18 months. I can’t wait to have the opportunity for nice dinners with friends, to jump on a plane and continue visiting the world as well as keeping fit and enjoying the great outdoors.Click below to share this article