Summary:Subramaniyam envisioned a holistic partner relationship management (PRM) strategy which helps UAE-based Etisalat to manage its partners including distributors, dealers, and retailers.Highlights:One of the most important, yet least well-orchestrated partner process is the provision of sales leads.Reader ROI:How a well-planned strategy can leverage a business venture into a new marketThe Organization:According to one estimate the number of telecom subscribers in India will grow from the existing 860 million to 1.2 billion by 2017, offering telecom players vast avenues for growth. Lured by this potential, UAE-based Etisalat, resolved to direct investment in India. Today the company, which is a JV between Etisalat and DB Group, currently operates in 15 circles under the brand name, Cheers.The Business Case: As it attempts to play catch up, Etisalat is banking part of its success on how well it manages its partners including distributors, dealers, and retailers. \u201cThe top contenders will be those who engineer their processes and systems based on a well-executed holistic partner relationship management (PRM) strategy,\u201d says Badri N. Subramaniyan, CIO, Etisalat DB Telecom. \u201cThe telecom sector in India is moving from a primary sales structure to a channel-based one. We see the fostering of an FMCG-like model which means that the company has to efficiently manage its entire channel ecosystem.\u201d It\u2019s an important opportunity that no other telecom player in India, Subramaniyan says, has tried to leverage. If Etisalat could understand its retailers and dealers better, it could engage them better, create more loyalty\u2014and ultimately entice them to push Etisalat products.\u00a0 The Project: \u201cWe formulated a PRM solution that acknowledged the existence of a partner eco-system\u2014an often complex network of inter-dependent entities collaborating with the end-customer,\u201d says Subramaniyan. The system enables Etisalat to view its partners comprehensively and with accurate data. \u201cPlacing accurate partner data within a single master data repository provides us with the means to formulate a cohesive partner program that fully leverages the capabilities of our partners and help them deliver their business goals.The Indian telecom sector is moving from a primary sales structure to a channel-based one.That sort of \u2018partner intelligence\u2019 also facilitates dramatic improvements in the quality, relevance, and timeliness of partner communication,\u201d says Subramaniyan.\u00a0PRM also enables Etisalat to analyze the true value of its partners based on both qualitative and quantitative measures. This, combined with analytical and score-carding processes, enables Etisalat to assess the strategic status of its partner, and which ones they really want to invest in.The Benefits: The PRM solution has revolutionized partner development at Etisalat. Today, armed with a deeper understanding of its partners, Etisalat can tailor training curriculum to specific profiles, says Subramaniyan. For partners, the PRM ensures that incentives are more accurate and more timely, improving partner \u2018buy in\u2019 and increasing loyalty. \u201cOne of the most important, yet least well-orchestrated partner process is the provision of sales leads. Lead management programs can help to ensure that properly qualified leads are directed to the partners best able to close them. Automation through PRM ensures that the right leads get to the right people in a timely fashion,\u201d says Subramaniyan.The Indian telecom sector is moving from a primary sales structure to a channel-based one.