"The channel" remains a crucial connection between the vendor and user communities, but like everything else in IT, it has evolved. In this discussion, part of ESG's 360 Video Series, Kevin Rhone considers some of the key changes for channel partners in recent years. These organizations have a tremendous influence over much of what is sold to, and used by, IT organizations. With a direct, vendor-owned sales force being such an expensive option, it is typically reserved for only the largest customers and/or the big-ticket items. Everything else normally flows through the channel ecosystem, which has gradually shifted from being essentially a product fulfillment operation to provide far more of an advisory status. Kevin delves into why this change is underway, and addresses whom it is good for.