Howdy, partner

 - 
Sunday, May 1, 2005

Walking around the trade show floor at ISC West in Las Vegas last month, the buzz word of the moment seemed to be partner. Or partnership.
I think it is safe to say that whatever word we use, we all became familiar with the idea of sharing early in life. As we all learned as children, a partner can help strengthen your weaknesses.
Although the foundation is the same, when it comes to the corporate world, partnering is a serious business.
And it's a long process of researching technology, leadership, financial situations and name brands. In essence, trying to determine whether or not two can co-exist as one.
Everywhere I turned at ISC it was one company after another announcing its strategic partnership with someone else--CoVi Technologies and ObjectVideo, Ipix and VistaScape, and even larger players such as GE and HID. And all are partnering up for various reasons.
But are all these partnerships really working?
I had a several conversations with people at the show who seemed a bit wary of all the joining of forces. Some said the groupings were just for show. Others said they are a way for larger companies to notice the partnering independents, who are interested in growing their business--even if that means leaving the world of independence behind.
I can't spot those yet, can you?
And are those initiatives really all that bad? Because regardless of the drive behind it, it is meeting those organizations' needs. It all means different things to different companies as long as both share a common goal.
Maybe the sharing of all this proprietary knowledge is what it's all about. Organizations and the people who run them are always trying to increase the knowledge of the industry and, in turn, increase their market share. The more you know, the larger chance you have of succeeding.
Look at instances when other companies with the bulk of its experience in other markets, such as telecommunications and IT, try to make the move into the security space. It seems as though those companies' chances of succeeding greatly increases if they have partnered up along the way--either through hiring someone with experience, which telecom CenturyTel did when it hired industry veteran Jim Stevens to head up its dealer program, or getting together with someone, somebody or some organization that understands what the common goal is.
Regardless of the meaning behind it, partnerships are always moving something or someone forward.
So, go ahead, partner up.