The Often Overlooked Key to Partner Experience Success - Partner IAM

Oren Harel
July 14, 2021

“Partner experience is the new customer experience.”

That’s how Gartner sums up the importance of providing a positive experience to the end users that partner with your business. And while it may seem like a bold statement to place partner experience on par with customer experience, it’s a wise point to bear in mind for any business that works with a partner network.

After all, the partner experience, or PX, impacts business outcomes in several crucial ways:

  • Happy Partners engage more, increasing revenue.
  • Partner churn rates: Partner churn can destabilize the business by making it difficult to maintain a supply chain, hamper sales and harm the business’s reputation.
  • Attracting further partners: Partners help bring other partners and sales to your business. If it’s hard for partners to work with you due to a poor partner experience, not only will you miss out on their revenue if they leave, you’ll also miss out on new additional revenue.
  • Competition: As Channel Mechanics notes in a piece on partner retention, “Ease of doing business has never been more important because everything must be “Apple Easy.” In other words, partners increasingly expect a better user experience. If you don’t deliver it, they’re more likely to work with your competitors.

Providing a great partner experience, then, is about more than just pleasing your partners. It’s an essential ingredient in business success.

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Partner IAM as the key to positive PX

How do you actually ensure a positive partner experience?

Many companies invest heavily in digital transformation, creating partner portals where their partners can go and collaborate in a self-service manner. But this positive transformation movement will not be completed without implementing a Partner IAM, sometimes known as B2B IAM.  

Partner IAM is a solution that provides the processes to manage the identities and access of the employees of your business partners (such as suppliers, distributors, agencies, and brokers) to your digital resources (such as partner portals). Though Partner IAM solutions provide the foundation for positive PX, in many events these processes are overlooked.

To illustrate this, imagine that your partner portal is a theme park, and your business partners are the visitors who want to access it.theme park partner experience

It doesn’t matter how great your theme park looks, or how exciting the rides are, if no one can actually visit it because it takes weeks for you to process their requests for admissions tickets, or (worse) they don’t know where to submit tickets in the first place. This is the type of experience your partners will have when you have a slow, confusing, ad hoc process for onboarding new users to your portal.

Or, maybe you do have a process to grant your partners’ users access , but it’s prone to errors. To continue the theme park analogy, think of visitors that buy tickets for adult rides, only to find after entering that they have access to children’s rides instead. Top it off with the fact that those visitors have to wait 4 days for the park’s helpdesk to give them the right tickets.

Chances are slim that you will ever see those visitors at your park again

Some companies are trying to go around these challenges by implementing a “one-size-fits-all” approach. But that approach will result in poor partner experience. It’s the equivalent of offering only one type of ticket to your theme park, leaving no possibility for visitors to customize their tickets based on what they actually want to access. You can’t tailor their experience to their preferred types of rides, or minimize your risks by ensuring that only visitors who should be able to go on a certain ride have tickets that allow them access to it.

So what do visitors actually want when going to your theme park? 

winning partner experience

They want to be able to get in when they want, go on the rides they want and do it all in a self-service manner. Being able to deliver that will improve the experience and encourage them to come back again and again. 


You wouldn’t want to run a theme park with access issues like these, and you shouldn’t manage a partner network with these sorts of problems, either.

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Eliminating the primary pain points contributing to negative PX 

Taking the analogy away from the theme park to your actual partner portal. Where are the main pain points causing a poor PX?

What issues arise along the typical user journey?

  1. Gaining initial access (onboarding) is one of the most common pain points along the partner journey. If a partner can’t access one of your digital platforms because your IT department hasn’t yet created an account for their company or a specific identity for a user, for example, you create a great deal of friction within the partner journey. The end users may become frustrated, have a poor PX and decide to stop working with you.
  2. Updating access rights for existing users is another common source of friction. An employee within a partner business may need new access rights within your systems following a promotion, for instance. If you can’t update access controls quickly, you hamper the partner experience.
  3. Support turnaround time: password resets or access requests are often the commonest issues. It shouldn’t take 82 hours for a password reset to occur, yet it often does due to IT being overwhelmed by the need to support the partner community.

If the partner experience is poor even before they actually start performing business activities in your portal, then the general partner experience will be poor, meaning lower engagement and lower revenues.

That is exactly what a Partner IAM solution is designed to achieve

Optimizing the partner experience with PlainID’s Partner IAM

PlainID’s Partner Manager is a Partner IAM solution designed to eliminate pain points like these by giving the ability to delegate the identity and access management of users to the partners with an easy to use delegated admin console.

PlainID's Partner Portal

The above is a screenshot of the centralized platform that a delegated admin can see. The delegated admin can add a new user easily and allocate which users can see which parts of the portal. PlainID Partner Manager makes it easy to deliver an optimal partner experience. By providing a platform where partners can self-service their own access requests, as well as monitor access rights,

The delegated model introduced by Partner Manager guarantees a great PX throughout the lifecycle stages:

  1. Gaining initial access (onboarding) - With PlainID’s Partner Manager delegated admins can onboard new users in a self-service completely independent manner. That means that your IT team is no longer a bottle neck. On top, your partner knows best what access their users need so they can make sure that a new user has the right access.
  2. Updating access rights for existing users - Just as with onboarding new users, partners have the ability to manage their users’ access in a continuous way based on dynamic business needs.
  3. Support turnaround time - Instead of having to figure out who to contact when they need access, reset their password or update personal details, delegated admins can provide support for their own users. As 30% to 50% of helpdesk tickets are related to a password reset or access requests, the ability to delegate administration capabilities will result in a shorter turnaround time for support issues resolution.

The result is a partner journey that is as friction-free as possible.

In short, by providing a better partner experience through a delegated self service platform, you not only keep your partners happy, but ultimately drive more sales, increase partner retention and improve your bottom line. You also keep partners within your network and away from the competition.

PlainID puts partners in the driver’s seat and removes the friction that hinders the conventional partner journey. For you and your partners alike, it’s the best of both worlds: No more waiting on IT to fulfill requests, no more overwhelmed IT departments and a superior partner experience for all.

To see for yourself how PlainID’s Partner Manager simplifies B2B partner onboarding and management, request a free trial or watch an overview of our platform.

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