Building a Lifecycle Approach to GSI Alliance Strategy

Building a Lifecycle Approach to GSI (Global Systems Integrator) Alliance Strategy

Over the nearly 30 years TBR has been in business, we have had the opportunity to advise hundreds of clients on their ecosystem strategy. All of our clients, which principally include the telecommunications industry’s largest vendors across technology product and services domains, participate in ecosystems. We author hundreds of vendor-specific reports, industry benchmarks, market landscapes and market forecasts each year.


While our research and services are often used for competitive intelligence and market intelligence, an equally active and fast-growing use case for our research is ecosystem intelligence — understanding the performance and strategies of current and/or prospective partners.


One partnership area where this is particularly true is among global systems integrator (GSI) alliances. TBR deeply tracks the GSI space through both our Professional Services and Cloud research teams, who collectively author vendor-specific reports and/or benchmarks on the financial performance and business strategies of 40-plus of the largest commercial and federal systems integrators. Our research subscriber base includes more than 20 of the world’s largest GSIs, representing more than 5,000 decision makers who are responsible for crafting corporate and business strategies, including those related to alliances.


In this special report, TBR uses this experience to dig into the trends driving GSI alliances and provide our recommendations to technology partners on how to approach building a GSI alliance strategy.

What Is a Global Systems Integrator Alliance?

To answer that question, we must first define “strategic alliance.” TBR partner the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (ASAP) describes it as:


“A close and collaborative relationship between two or more entities that share assets, strengths, risks, rewards and control. Typically, strategic alliances have a broad and long-term impact on corporate performance and valuation. Often, strategic alliances are formed to create competitive advantage and greater value for the partners than they would be able to achieve independently.”


Building on that definition, GSI alliances are simply a subtype of strategic alliance, as defined by ASAP, held between a technology vendor and a global systems integrator.

What Is a GSI?

While definitions vary, generally a GSI is a large and established professional services vendor that can operate multinationally with a global delivery model supported by hundreds of thousands of employees, serve large enterprises with a complete life cycle of services, and build a multimillion-dollar business around a particular software alliance. Examples of GSIs include Accenture, Atos, Capgemini, Deloitte, DXC Technology, Infosys, Cognizant, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Wipro.

Why Should Technology Vendors Care About GSIs?

Ecosystems Are the Future of Technology GTM Strategies

GSIs are part of an underlying trend in the technology industry in which buyers are moving toward the consumption of products and services via ecosystems rather than traditional direct sales or channel models. Ecosystems are already responsible for just under two-thirds of all technology and telecom industry spending, according to Analyst Jay McBain at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo. McBain believes in the next decade well over 90% of technology sales will be “channel-assisted,” meaning that partners influence the purchase, even if they are not the ultimate source of the transaction. This overall market trajectory underpins the importance of all types of ecosystem partners, including GSIs.