Q+A Highlights From Infor’s Chief Learning Officer: Jeff Abbott
Jeff Abbott is the Chief Learning Officer at Infor. Abbott is in charge of helping Infor’s partners receive information needed to succeed. Jeff Abbott has oversight of Infor’s global enablement and education functions and Infor’s Learning Management product line. He states,"my goal as Chief Learning Officer of the company - specifically for the partner ecosystem, is to give a rich set of content across our channel-sold solutions for various roles. We’re building up curriculum, so partners have material needed."
Tell us about the IPN Network, and why do you invest so heavily in the Channel Partner Network?
The Infor Partner Network, or what we call IPN, is essentially our go to market program for our partner network. It includes channel, solution, alliance partners, and delivery partners. We carefully select micro-vertical focused channel partners because they have proven success in driving net new customers and providing exceptional support in niche markets.
Open and transparent terms and policies attracts the partners we want, those who want to grow long-term and have confidence that as a vendor, Infor is behind them.
IPN values were recently updated to: Elevate, Evolve, and Exceed. What do these three things mean to a partner, and why is it important to have these values in your partner program?
We vary our themes year-over-year, and the Elevate, Evolve, and Exceed is the theme we are using for this year's Partner Summit.
- Elevate: Think of that as growth. We want to put partners in a position to grow aggressively and we want to give all of our resources we can to foster that growth.
- Evolve: Building enablement, and the right compensation structures for partners to give them a path to evolve to the cloud.
- Exceed: Our partners need to feel confident on an ongoing basis. We want them to overdeliver their commitment to their customers and be able to knock down competitors whenever they need to.
What types of partners does Infor want to align with?
- Passion about what they do
- Motivation to grow their business
- Values aligning with Infor’s view of the marketplace
- Competencies & skills from a business perspective.
In terms of credentials, we're looking for firms that are very good in a specific set of micro-industries.
What do you think the value of your micro-vertical specialization program is to a partner?
Since we certify partners for their micro-vertical specialization we ensure specific coverage in the market from our partner community. This allows us to focus our lead generation distribution amongst partners, access they get to product managers, and more focused development leaders.
Some highlights about our micro-vertical program:
- The ability of our partners to retune the reporting
- Retune the dashboard
- Add extensions to the base solutions
Not only do we love these things, we invite them and love them.
In your own words, what does continued education look like from a partner’s perspective?
We go beyond just basic onboarding by providing deep role-based content or training material from a variety of perspectives.
- Develop their own marketing strategies
- Begin to pursue their own leads and new customers
- Vet those customers
- They initiate discovery, build return on investment models, demo the solutions, and ultimately sell a solution
What types of enablement opportunities do you have for partners and how do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?
We’ll probably double or triple the amount of enablement we have for our channel partner network in the next 18 months.
Areas we intend to deliver on:
- Training on handling objections
- Negotiating your best agreement
- Building a winning forecast
That's where I think we will heavily differentiate from our competitors. We try to think like entrepreneurs inside the channel partner and build out content and enablement that supports growth.
Any final thoughts on being made the Chief Learning Officer?
That decision was made primarily because I have been the loudest advocate for additional investment in enablement. As a company we are evolving and innovating fast, so it's very difficult for partners to keep up with the latest advances. That resulted in the creation of the CLO position and focusing on supporting partners as best as possible. Because of this, it makes a lot of sense to have the head of the Infor Partner Network also be the Chief Learning Officer, and that’s why we did it.
- Channel Partners