Bred as an Agent of Change
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When Donna Troy was called to take the reins as president and chief executive of Partnerware Inc. in March 2001, her first course of action for the then-fledgling ASP was to change everything and steer the company in a completely different direction. This meant abandoning the badly battered ASP market altogether. And on Troy's command, Partnerware left the ASP industry.
"I'm one decisive soul. Once you've done the analysis and have the data, you need to execute on your decision. That's something that many companies don't do well with," Troy says. She credits much of her assertiveness to her upbringing. Having a former U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel as a father and growing up with four brothers is not for the timid.
Troy led the Austin, Texas--based company away from hosting software to developing it. Partnerware currently develops software for the evolving partner relationship management (PRM) market. A bold move, perhaps, but Troy is no stranger to making bold moves.
While a junior majoring in nuclear physics at North Carolina State University, Troy decided she needed a break from playing with particles. She dropped out of school and worked as a night janitor for her boyfriend's brother's cleaning business (imagine explaining that one to your parents). After a semester of cleaning, Troy realized college was not so bad after all and went back to school with a new major: computer science.
The decision to switch majors paid off: Troy was offered a job right out of college at IBM Corp., where she began custom coding. She stayed at IBM/Tivoli for more than 22 years and held several distinctive positions, such as director of AS/400 marketing, which boasted the country's largest indirect sales channel of systems integrators and consultants.
It was not until Troy switched to IBM's direct sales side that she learned some of her most valuable lessons on the indirect channel. After cultivating IBM's indirect channel for AS/400, Troy launched IBM's first toll-free direct-sales telephone number for customers, which enables them to bypass IBM's systems-integrator partners for buying, service, and support of IBM technology. "That taught me a ton about channel-conflict issues," Troy says.
With her experiences in both direct and indirect sales channels, Troy realized there is a need to improve partner relationships to mitigate many of the channel conflict issues. That's why under her leadership Partnerware is attempting to take CRM to another level. "CRM is focused on direct [sales]. To succeed in PRM, you've got to have a whole set of processes that deal with a tiered structure," Troy says. And Partnerware has bet everything on that idea.
This strategy shift yielded a new set of enterprise software services dubbed Total Channel Experience, which started shipping in February. The Java-based software helps companies select and deselect indirect partners, as well as improve communication with partners.
Name: Donna Troy
Title: President and CEO, Partnerware Inc.
Education: B.S., North Carolina State University
Most Bizarre job: Night janitor
Latest book read: Too Busy Not to Pray, by Bill Hybels
Favorite sports: Football, golf