Steve Lewarne is Vice President, Sales, Channel and Programmes at AVEVA, a British multinational IT consulting company and global provider of industrial software headquartered in Cambridge, England. Lewarne describes his management philosophy as being in the business to support channel partners who, in turn, help to ensure the success of mutual customers. He outlines here how the industrial software vendor is developing its business and growing the channel globally.
Describe your current job role and the parts that are somewhat challenging?
I’m the vice president of Channels and Programmes globally for AVEVA. Partners represent approximately a quarter of AVEVA’s overall business, and I work with our channel partners which consist of distributor partners and our special solution provider partners, which are different categories of resale partners for AVEVA. Globally, I manage the programmes and policies for these partners, working with our regional sales organisations to execute our programmes and strategies to drive growth through partners in the AVEVA business. A tricky aspect of the job, sometimes, is coordinating across different cultural and trade environments in different regions. That is, trying to create programmes that can be tailored and functional at a global level, without requiring mass customisation in each market, can be a challenge.
Can you explain how your company works with channel partners?
AVEVA has a global set of channel partners that cover our entire market. While all of channel partners actively resell, many of our partners are also what we call certified support providers and certified training providers. Essentially, they represent AVEVA locally to their customer base. The advantage for us is that we have a global network of partners that can engage with customers at their local plant level, where our software is typically deployed and used. Having local support in the same time zone, that speaks the local language, and understands the project and the application of the software is critical to the overall success of our mutual customers. Therefore, partners play a key role for AVEVA in providing local services and support to those industrial customers, reducing their project risk and improving customer value and satisfaction.
How do you ensure channel partners flourish in a highly competitive market?
Our programmes are all set up to ensure that our channel partners can be successful. The primary competitive advantage we offer partners is access to market-leading portfolio of software solutions for the industrial operations market. Our programmes address sales, marketing, technical support, and training. We have full for-partner and through-partner channel marketing programmes including market development funding (MDF).
What are the latest trends you see emerging across the channel?
One of the biggest trends that we see is the transition from perpetual license sales to a software subscription business model.
This trend enables our customers to capture more value from the AVEVA portfolio but can present a challenge for AVEVA and our partners to move our business model from a project-based capital expenditure to an operational expenditure model which emphasises an ongoing customer success management model and recurring revenue. This transition creates more value for customers, partners, and AVEVA, but requires changes to how AVEVA and partners work together and with customers.
A related trend we are seeing in our markets is the need to offer broader solution sets that evolve over time and empower customers to realise more value by addressing more problems in an integrated way. In the past, we provided offers that were focused on specific areas or challenges.
What is your management philosophy?
My management philosophy is best articulated by my manager, Kerry Grimes, who says: “Our partners’ success is our success”.
This means we are here to support our channel partners who, in turn, help to ensure the success of our mutual customers. We need to have a model that allows partners to be successful, and to grow their business while making the necessary investments to provide even better support for those customers. We evaluate our channel partners extensively before we enter into agreements with them, so we know they are a good fit.
To achieve growth for AVEVA and our partners, we need to be focused on scalable, repeatable and highly supported solutions.
When you look back at your career, what has been the most memorable achievement?
I’ve been working with our channels here at AVEVA in one capacity or another for 26 years, so I have more than one most memorable achievement when I look back at my career. There have been two or three opportunities through the years where, along with our channel partners, we’ve been able to successfully create new value for customers and drive transitions in the markets that we serve. The first of those was years ago when we came up with a suite approach to selling software as opposed to selling individual products. We really saw a transition in the market, and we saw competitors respond to that because of the significant value that we were providing customers. Most recently, it is the introduction of flex and the transition to recurring revenue. I’m most proud of having played a small part in creating that new value for partners, and for our mutual customers.
What made you think of a career in technology?
Growing up, I was fascinated by how things worked. And growing up in the 80s, I was also very excited about computers. So, I studied mechanical engineering in college, and was able to get a job at the college that I attended – the University of Iowa – where we were applying computers to building automation systems. That experience drove me to this career in industrial automation – the marriage of mechanical equipment and computers used to improve the overall performance of processes. That’s really what got me started and why I’ve loved this career.
What do you think will be the hot technology talking point of 2022?
From a purely technology-focused standpoint what we’re starting to see is the application of AI into our markets. How do we use all the information that we can now gather and consolidate this data about our customers’ industrial processes to deliver advanced analytics? From an AVEVA standpoint, we see that AI-enabled predictive analytics of being able to look at information about specific equipment or assets over time and provide prescriptive guidance to customers on how to resolve potential problems before those even occur.
What are your personal interests and where do you like to spend most of your time after work?
Away from work, I enjoy spending time with my kids and finding time to do things with them whenever I can. I’m a pretty avid reader, and I also enjoy playing golf and going to sporting events. I love travelling, seeing new places and experiencing new cultures, while learning more about the world.Click below to share this article