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Who Holds the Keys in SaaS Ecosystems?

Why is adopting an #ecosystem-first mindset crucial for SaaS companies? Discover why customers rank certain 🎯 partners as vital orchestrators, even surpassing software and cloud vendors themselves.


BCG's insightful research on SaaS and #cloud infrastructure buyers reveals that customers value systems integrators and MSPs more in the value chain compared to software and cloud vendors.





Furthermore, partner lines continue to blur and evolve in modern ecosystems, creating a unique landscape of collaboration and competition.



💡 Key Findings


Systems integrators, who contribute to everything from strategy formulation to usage, are seen as the "orchestrators" of the ecosystem by 68% of buyers. Managed service providers (MSPs) come in a close second


In SaaS, partners have evolved from mere "channels" to active players, now engaging in an end-to-end role across the entire product lifecycle


Because partners bring differentiated value, customers have embraced them in roles across tech strategy, design, vendor selection, migration, adoption, and management



📈 Partners help SaaS companies to


Expand reach by generating demand in new customer segments and markets


Influence purchasing decisions, creating new opportunities for products


Co-innovate and expand solution capabilities, adding depth, relevance, and stickiness to SaaS vendors' offerings


Accelerate time to value for customers by advising on migration and management



🔄 Partners are Shifting Business Models


Resellers transition from "buy-sell" models to professional and managed services


Global systems integrators collaborate with independent software vendors to develop solutions solving customers’ business problems


Cloud players and hyperscalers become essential routes to market for SaaS, driving consumption of their underlying platforms



💊 How Companies Meet these Changes


Enterprise software firms face the challenge of evolving their ecosystems, needing to recruit new partners and help existing partners transform. They often encounter difficulties in obtaining internal buy-in for shifting to a full ecosystem model.


Smaller SaaS companies prefer to interface directly with customers and have a limited network of partners.

“However, we often see these companies struggle to maintain growth beyond a particular stage. At this point, they need to assemble an ecosystem quickly....They struggle to get the attention of the largest, most influential players and lack the critical mass to attract other partners."


Both large and small companies can overlook or underestimate the time and effort needed to establish a robust ecosystem. “Building an ecosystem or taking it to the next level requires driving change externally and internally—and this can be a 12- to 18-month journey.”



Embracing an ecosystem-first mindset helps businesses navigate the evolving landscape of partnerships and unlock new #growth.


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