What makes a partner?
When I first started working at SAS, I was confused by the different uses of the term “partner.” We have a large network of partners within the SAS Alliance, including technology partners, resellers and outsourcers. But we often refer to our customers as partners too.
The more I’ve observed the interactions between SAS and our customers, however, the more I’ve come to realize how much those relationships do resemble true partnerships. Our most strategic customers are allies, activists, industry experts, early adopters, product development influencers and so much more.
For more than 30 years, for example, SAS and Eli Lilly have worked together to influence the success of both companies – and to help address the unmet medical needs of patients. Michael Heim, Lilly’s Vice President and Chief Information Officer, says in our cover story on page 16 that the partnership offers SAS and Lilly “the chance to co-create what the future looks like.”
In his book The Breakthrough Company , Keith McFarland calls partnerships and other strategic relationships “scaffolding.” McFarland notes that successful companies surround themselves with a network of outside resources – or scaffolding – that become vital to the company’s success.
At SAS, we take pride in our ability to really understand and address the challenges and dynamics of the many different industries that rely on our products. We couldn’t do that without the valuable “scaffolding” of partnerships with customers in every industry.
This story appears in the Second Quarter 2008 issue of