At the turn of the millennium, there were early murmurs on the potential power of developing partner ecosystems as a shiny silver bullet channel strategy.

The premise was that by creating multi partner selling teams involving solution providers, integrators, consultants and ISVs, one would be able to better serve the very specific vertical needs of enterprise and mid-market.

IBM was the first company to pioneer the concept with Advanced Alchemy, a thought leading global channel sales and marketing execution agency, now part of the Gorilla Corporation Group of Companies. The program was designed to be scalable and scale it did, reaching giddy sales revenue numbers in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

Fifteen years later, the world is a different place, and channel strategy has finally caught on to a good thing, and ecosystem partner developing is becoming more mainstream.

To give you a perspective on the current complexity: In the USA alone there are 120000 partners. Within this envelope you can count the traditional VAR, CSP, MSP, DMR, System Builders, System Integrators, SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS partners.

To make it worse, they change all the time, adapting their businesses to the fast sweeping changes in the industry, adapting to cloud and to deliver everything as a service with monthly recurring revenues.

Gorilla Corporation and Impartner felt there was a gap in the market for Channel Chiefs to descend gladiatorially, into a think tank arena, to spar with one another and to be stimulated by unorthodox ideas. This led to the creation of the Channel Chiefs University Series, which gathered in Palo Alto on June 24th. Heavy hitting industry leaders used this roundtable as an opportunity to learn and debate some of key insights, presented by Theresa Caragol, former Channel Chief at several Fortune 500 tech companies.

Creativity, innovation and adaptability are necessary skills for today’s Channel Leaders. One can no longer think and do “standard”.

Metamorphosis costs energy, overhauling a business model is eye-wateringly difficult. So, is it really worth it? What’s the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?