Although channel players aren’t known for burying their heads in the sand, it can be easy to get complacent. To avoid this the channel needs to adopt not only emerging technology, but also new and emerging channel business models.
Nick Beaugeard, CompTIA ANZ Channel Community vice chair and CEO and founder of HubOne, said, “It’s important not to get carried away with trending technology but, rather, to cultivate a strong and deep understanding of customer needs. That way, vendors and channel partners can deliver the products and solutions that customers want and need rather than trying to create demand for untested technologies.”
There is much excitement in the industry about new mobile and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, as well as the key emerging trends of blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), drones, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. And, modern go-to-market models seem to include direct selling and non-standard channels.
Nick Beaugeard said, “More and more we’re seeing brand new, well-funded businesses emerge into the Australian and New Zealand technology scene with scant regard for the well-formed channel models. For example, Atlassian, Australia’s ISV unicorn, had a very small partner program until recently. Instead, it relied on creating raving fans of its product set directly, ending up with the channel beating down its door to be a part of it.
“It’s therefore critical that the vendor, not the distributor or partner, needs to create demand for its own products.”
Traditional behemoths, such as Microsoft, Cisco, Citrix and Symantec, have become successful through creating strong demand for their products, with the channel acting to fulfil this demand, which helps the channel play its role successfully.
There are also non-traditional examples of next-generation companies who are using the channel really well, including LiveTiles, Veeam, and Datto. All three have leveraged the traditional channel to fulfil the demand they themselves create through their products.
Nick Beaugeard said, “While it’s easy to become consumed by the latest and greatest innovations, channel businesses need to address customer demand rather than an industry trend. The lesson here for all parts of the channel is to find products that meet a real, tangible customer need. If channel businesses work well with vendors and customers to deliver according to that customer need, then the demand will come and drive value across the channel.”