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StartupBD: The Integration is the Product

September 1, 2017

The role of BD is evolving to look like a mashup of a product managment and product marketing. But in the BD world, the “product” that needs to be built, maintained and marketed is an integration or a partnership with another company.

Sure, applications have always been connected to one another in some way. But with applications moving to the cloud coupled with the easy ability to create and manage APIs, software applications that used to operate in a silo can now connect to share data and create new workflows.

For example, an HR system, a firewall, and a collaboration platform all offer certain value to customers. But when these systems are deeply integrated, new secure workflows are enabled that the creators of the HR system, the firewall, and the collaboration platform could never have imagined. For example, imagine a newly integrated and automated workflow whereby a firewall detects a security incident, alerts high-value applications like HR to suspend user-access, and then opens a new collaboration channel so SecOps can investigate and discuss the incident.

BD teams must actively discuss customer use cases when contemplating an integration between their respective companies. Is there a real use case that can be jointly solved? Has the use case been validated by the market?

With a use case validated, the BD teams then line up the right marketing and field resources to bring their partnership to market.

Such is the rise of the customer validated use case solved not by a product, but by an integration. Integrations therefore need to be created and treated as if they were products.

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