Decoding the Timeline and Strategies for Optimizing GSI Onboarding in Strategic Partnerships

Decoding the Timeline and Strategies for Optimizing GSI Onboarding in Strategic Partnerships

Understanding the nuances of onboarding, enablement, and acceleration is key to establishing successful strategic partnerships with GSIs.

Understanding the nuances of onboarding, enablement, and acceleration is key to establishing successful strategic partnerships with GSIs.

This conversation among industry pros Tessa Jones, Manager for Agency Partnerships at Amazon, Katrina Penny, Partner Operations Manager at Stenn Technology, Anuj Joshi, CEO at, Heather Roth, Director of Digital Strategy at Slalom, and Chris Samila, Co-founder and Chief Partner Officer at Partnership Leaders offers valuable insights for companies looking to navigate GSI onboarding and setting them on a path toward successful and enduring partnerships.

Setting Realistic Expectations: The Onboarding Timeline

A crucial aspect of forging GSI partnerships is setting a realistic timeline. Jones kickstarts this discussion with her quest for data-driven insights on the typical timeframe for onboarding GSIs. 

This is a complex question. 

As Katrina Penny points out, “It really depends on how well organized your company is and what things you already have in place.” 

Penny elaborates that there are factors that significantly influence this timeline, such as:

  • Robust accreditation program
  • Efficient API integration
  • Proactive marketing strategies
  • Clear go-to-market (GTM) activities

In well-prepared organizations, a 90-day period might suffice, but for those starting from scratch, it could extend from 6 to 18 months.

Influential Factors in GSI Motion

Joshi adds another layer to this conversation by highlighting the multifaceted nature of GSI engagement. 

According to him, the success and speed of GSI onboarding depend on the internal strength of the GSI’s Business Unit, the size of the Total Addressable Market (TAM), and the technological edge. 

He shares from his experience that “GSI motion can be anywhere between 6 to 12 months,” emphasizing the importance of aligning your product with the strategic vision of the GSI.

Strategies for Accelerating GSI Partnerships

Heather Roth from Slalom brings a strategy-oriented perspective, focusing on what accelerates strategic partnerships with emerging ISVs.

She advises on several accelerators like:

  • Ensuring the product space is trending 
  • Creating partner-friendly environments 
  • Accessible partner enablement
  • Fostering effective co-delivery models 
Four accelerators of GSI strategic partnerships

Roth’s approach underscores the importance of quick wins and collaborations with established partners at the GSI.

Chris Samila from Partnership Leaders also emphasized the significance of shared learning and collaboration in enhancing GSI relationships. 

He mentions a Partnership Leaders members-only event featuring Heather and Deven Ravel, emphasizing the benefits of shared experiences and networking in GSI onboarding. Such initiatives are about knowledge sharing and creating a community where best practices and challenges can be openly discussed.

Adapting to Market Dynamics and Partner Expectations

Understanding and adapting to the evolving market dynamics is critical in the timeline of GSI onboarding. 

Jones’s observation about the 90-day timeline being ambitious highlights the need for agility and responsiveness in today’s fast-paced business environment. 

The readiness to adapt to technological trends or market demands is pivotal in how swiftly a partnership can move from initiation to fruition.

Building a Strong Foundation for Long-Term Success

The insights from these industry leaders point towards a fundamental truth – the success of a GSI partnership hinges on a strong foundation. 

This includes the technical and operational aspects and a cultural alignment between the partnering organizations. A shared vision, mutual trust, and a commitment to common goals are as important as the strategic and tactical elements.

Navigating Challenges and Leveraging Opportunities

While onboarding a GSI partner involves navigating challenges, it also presents numerous opportunities. As Penny suggests, the readiness of your organization in terms of infrastructure and strategy can turn these challenges into stepping stones for a successful partnership. 

Roth’s emphasis on intuitive and meaningful partner enablement speaks volumes about the importance of creating an ecosystem that supports and nurtures the partnership.


Forging strategic partnerships with GSIs is a multifaceted endeavor that requires a deep understanding of various factors. From organizational preparedness to market readiness and technological advancements to cultural alignments, each element plays a crucial role in determining the success of these partnerships.

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