4 Changing Trends In IT Channel Business

The IT channel has undergone a sea change. The transition is eminent with the channel previously being largely box pushers about four decades ago to a complete solution provider and organised retail model. With the changes in consumer’s choice and requirements, the emphasis is not just on buying any product or solution but the one that supports their changing mode of business in terms of increased capacity, upgradeability, contemporary viability and mobility.

1. Box Pushing is Archaic:
The time is gone when vendors addressed customer’s requirement by themselves. With the rapidly changing technology, customer’s need has become diversified. Today, it is largely an era of outsourcing. IT companies has found a way of expanding their business through the Channel Partner, an umbrella word for solution providers, consultants, system integrators, cloud aggregators, carriers, resellers and other nomenclature we know them of.

On the rear side partners has a diversified offering to cater to their client and role in the IT business is ever expanding. However, resale has become obsolete. The continued shift to on-demand or subscription-based consumption models has a profound impact on the channels that define, develop and deliver solutions to end customers.

2. Channel Partners are more empowered:
The on-demand consumption model brings new challenges for both vendors and partners. Partners need significant support such as sales and technical training; certifications and specializations; Marketing to, with and through; deal registration and incentives; Pre- and post-sales support programs; Partner-to-partner initiatives. Most vendors are going the extra mile to deliver it.

Partners have become imperative in developing profitable and sustainable businesses that not only adopt but also highly leverage cloud computing technologies. Vendors require Partners in every vertical markets such as health care, retail and finance, or departmental solutions such as marketing analytics, customer management and support enablement. Solutions developed around specific technologies, like network management and disaster recovery are on way.

3. Different Levels of Partnership: 
We now witness a more cluster model where everyone is selling to each other. The role of partners at every level cannot be clearly demarcated. Distributors have decades of deep relationships with solution providers and are the source to extend support to vendors who can offer partners at scale.

Still in today’s scenario, distribution partners are offering services directly to end-customers. If the distributors fail to provide these capabilities head on to their solution provider customers, they may find another base of partners.

4. Customers demand new age solutions:
As businesses are migrating to a SaaS model, and the advent of IoT, the challenge for channel partners is to develop solutions which can be upgraded and is robust. Throughout the world many micro-segments have evolved. Their uniqueness and differentiation will further advance over the coming decade as channel partners design more solutions specific to customer’s needs.

According to a State of Partnering study, those times are no more where the traditional needs of warehousing, breaking palettes, packing orders and maintaining credit terms. Solution providers of the future will not need a warehouse or a bank to be successful and profitable. All they would require is handholding for configuring products that go together and offer to best customised solution with approvals, visions and facilities.

Increasingly, IT firms are moving towards partnerships and signing agreements with local as well as global partners, who provide outsourced services in the respective market and help in expanding the business of their clients.

On the contrary, in the new customer life cycle that emerges with on-demand consumption models, third-party perspectives and trusted advisers play a very significant important role. Thus, the task at hand of the channel partners has evolved emphatically. For sure with the coming days with changing business models it will witness even more major flux.

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