Partnering for success
By Linda Shields, Harvest Technology Group's Chief Operating Officer
April, 5 2023:
Harvest Technology Group has been using partnerships as a key component of our diversification and growth strategy, as outlined in “Phase 2” of our Strategic Plan. As a start-up, partnering with complementary and established businesses is key for growth. Partners provide access to expertise, resources, and valuable market insights. Effective partners can bring in new customers and support the scaling of operations, while minimising overheads and costs. By teaming up with the right partners, Harvest is building the foundation to grow a larger footprint within an ever-evolving global landscape.
Finger on the pulse
The right partner can provide valuable insights into local markets and help ensure technology remains ahead of competitors. We are actively trying to transform remote operations and our technology has number of different applications across a number of different industries so our partners must share a similar or complementary vision for the partnership to be effective. Many of our solutions, powered by our proprietary Nodestream™ protocol, are the direct result of collaboration to develop operational efficiencies previously believed impossible. The relationships we are cultivating are helping our niche technology travel across the globe. Partners keep us agile and at the cutting-edge when it comes to finding and testing real-world solutions to real-world problems in remote, offshore, and subsea environments.
To clarify our definition of “partners”, we consider our customers, resellers, agents, and collaborators to be partners. These are the businesses that have helped grow our reach from two customers in 2020 to more than 35 customers in 2023. As an “ingredient brand” or value-add technology, a collaborative approach is essential for us to successfully educate our customers about our value proposition and train them on the applications of our technology. By working in partnership, both parties work towards a common goal, leveraging our respective strengths and resources to achieve success. This tilt towards partnering in the tech space is not unique to Harvest but can be seen as an industry-wide trend. It’s driven by several factors, including the increasing complexity of technology solutions, an appetite for more comprehensive support, and the need for a broader range of expertise to address complex customer requirements and end-to-end solution offerings.
The gives and gets
The benefits of partnering with Harvest cut both ways. By working with Harvest, our partners have access to leading-edge technology to meet current and future customer needs. Our customers are thriving from the changes to their operations using our technology and we want to enable this for our partner’s customers. One of the most formative partnerships we have experienced is with geodata specialist company, Fugro. We have worked with them since day one of their remote operations’ journey. An extremely proactive company, Fugro frequently approaches us with problems they wanted solved, and we have innovated and tested our technology to new operational limits to provide effective solutions. With Harvest’s technology as the foundation, Fugro has established itself as the industry standard for remote operations.
This past year, we’ve signed agreements with companies such as Vallianz, Digital Edge Subsea, and Shamal Technologies, and are building new partnerships in the US and Asia. These relationships, as well as those with global satellite services companies Inmarsat and Marlink, allow us to provide our video, audio, and data-streaming technology to a more diverse range of customers across several markets. Trust is earned rather than assigned, and we earn this trust by delivering on what we say we’re going to do as a business and through the effectiveness of our products.
No two partnerships are the same, but to be real partners, there must be a common vision. For example, our partnership with Shamal is expected to expand Harvest’s reach into the Middle East and provide new opportunities for growth for both companies in the region, while our agreement with Digital Edge Subsea will see the embedment of our AVR2™ technology into their Edge DVR products to provide their customers with an unrivalled ability to record video offshore as well as live stream high-quality feed using ultra-low bandwidth directly via the cloud, removing the need for additional hardware mobilisation. We are currently working on a new global partner strategy with one of our earlier partners, Applied Satellite Technology (AST) Group, which prioritises innovation to offer new value, better service, and improved efficiency to businesses.
As a start-up punching above its weight to work alongside several impressive global enterprises, one of the key lessons we have learned is the importance of qualifying partners. Like any relationship, you need to be mindful of who you get into bed with. It’s a lot easier to get it wrong but having an evaluation process ensures from the outset we are a solid match for each other on both vision and drive. As a small company, it is important for us to factor in the resources required to cultivate these relationships, which can be onerous when involving multiple stakeholders across several geographies. With a couple of years behind us, we have become more discerning about commercial partnership agreements and learned the benefit of saying no. It’s vital that we are able to access our partner’s key decision-makers and properly train and incentivise their sales teams. In turn, they can present customers with compelling value propositions and represent us in a way that enhances our reputation within the market. A partner is still our customer in every sense of the word, so it is crucial for us to treat them accordingly while remaining respectful of their relationship with their customers.
Working with partners places a company’s reputation at stake, so decisions on with whom to join forces must be made wisely from both sides. Investing in a partner arrangement goes beyond providing brochures and displaying logos on a website – to set up a partnership for success requires going the extra mile. Their success is our success, so it’s vital that we support each other and continually work on adding value with the end customer in mind.
Most benefits to the most people
The world is a big place. To ensure connectivity is available across every square inch of the planet, Harvest will remain agnostic and work with multiple partners to deliver the maximum benefits to the maximum number of people. Ultimately, our collaborations benefit customers by providing them with better integrated solutions, a more comprehensive support network, and greater value. Harvest’s partnership model is one that we will continue to build on into the future.
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