Vendors Need to Rethink Their Channel Programs

In recent ESG research on data protection personas, methods, and channels, ESG looked at ‘who’ is affecting data protection, including IT operations, DBAs, vAdmins, file/storage admins, non-technical stakeholders, and channel partners.

While data protection has historically been very channel-driven, or at least channel-accelerated, recent data shows that there are disconnects between how IT decision makers use channel partners and how vendors hope that channel partners are being used (e.g., pre-sales advocates of their products/services). 

Topics: Channel Data Protection

Channeling Positive Thoughts at HP's GPC (includes video)

This month (just slightly ahead of the full-force Spring "show season" that hits in April and May), HP gathered its loyal partner base in Vegas at its Global Partner Conference. My colleague, ESG Senior Partnering Consultant Kevin Rhone, and I were on hand and pulled together another "ESG On Location" video to try to capture some of the key take-aways from our perspectives. 

Topics: Channel

ESG Recap of VMworld 2014

The ESG analyst team headed into a VMworld 2014 with a list of vmworld-2014-top-questions-esg-analysts-hope-to-have-answered/index.html" target="_blank">questions and was met with the high energy of the event the moment we all deplaned at SFO. Each of the individual analysts' key takeaways are included below, following these general observations:

Topics: Storage Channel IT Infrastructure Data Protection VMworld Cloud Services & Orchestration

Channel Partner Battle Royale

I’m not talking about the latest UFC event, but the conflict channel partners deal with each day when it comes to solving customer problems – Do I sell a pre-configured integrated computing platform (ICP) like so many of my competitors? Or, do I differentiate my business by creating a Best-of-breed stack on my own that shows unique value to my clients? Our latest research (Channel Partner Transformation: Selling Cloud Services) shows, channel partners are pretty split in between the two options. But they do realize that end-users are responding to vendors' education and outreach about ICP solutions, and 4 of 5 partners believe that over 25% of their revenues will come from ICP solutions within 2 years, if not sooner.

That is good news for vendors like VCE, NetApp, EMC, Cisco, HP, Oracle, IBM, Dell, Microsoft, and VMWare, as they have invested heavily in the development and marketing of joint solutions over the past few years. But partners feel strongly that if the vendor community can enable the community of distributors to provide top notch sales support and technical services around ICP solutions, it would help the channel partner community accelerate their transition to selling these solutions.

Topics: Channel IT Infrastructure Cloud Services & Orchestration

The Age of Extinction or Evolution for Value-added Distributors?

You probably saw my last blog, channel-partner-transformers-the-age-of-extinction/index.html" target="_blank">Channel Partner Transformers: The Age of Extinction, about the drivers channel partners need to evolve their businesses. Well anything that impacts them will impact the community of value-added distributors, as well. In our latest research, Channel Partner Transformation: Selling Cloud Services, we specifically asked channel partners, “How can value-added distributors better assist or augment your organization’s current capabilities as it builds out its Cloud Services portfolio?”

Topics: Channel Cloud Services & Orchestration

Channel Partner Transformers: The Age of Extinction

I was at the movies this weekend and a preview for the upcoming Transformers movie, called the “Age of Extinction,"was shown. In talking with many colleagues in the world of channel partnering, I can’t help but wonder whether the evolving IT consumption model, the growth of non-traditional IT buyers (in line-of-business) purchasing solutions, and the rapid pace at which IT vendors are developing solutions that don’t fit into the traditional model of a one-time transaction will spell “extinction” for a significant portion of the channel partner community.

Our latest research (Channel Partner Transformation: Selling Cloud Services) shows that the drivers for channel partners to transform their businesses include:

  • The amount of customer demand.
  • The fear of missing out and maintaining their “trusted advisor” status.
  • The declining long-term profitability of traditional business models.
  • The vision and commitment by the business owner/leader.
Topics: Channel

Channel Partners: Stuck in Quicksand?…There Is a Way Out

Have you ever been stuck in quicksand? Had the anxiety that you were sinking, and the world was closing in? Well, executives at resellers and other channel organizations in the high-tech world are having these feelings as the IT consumption model is changing, non-traditional IT buyers (in line-of-business) are purchasing solutions, and IT vendors are rapidly developing solutions that don’t fit into the traditional model of a one-time transaction with annual maintenance contracts. But despite these winds of change, ESG research shows that only 1 in 5 channel partners are evolving.

So what is holding channel partners back from reaching out, grabbing that branch, and pulling themselves out of the quicksand? ESG’s latest research (ESG Research, 2013 Channel Transformation Survey, November 2013) shows that channel partners are not evolving their businesses more rapidly because:

Topics: Channel

Video Blog: The Impact of Software-defined Networking (SDN) on the Channel

Topics: Channel IT Infrastructure Networking

Brace yourselves...A seismic shift in IT buying is underway

Recently, ESG completed a research study of Corporate Knowledge workers from small, medium and enterprise companies across North America. One of the key findings of the research was the changes in how applications are purchased by end-users, and the tremendous impact this will have on the way vendors and their partners sell to that new class of buyer. Note: More than 40% of our respondents are now either influencers or decision makers!

Topics: Channel IT Infrastructure Enterprise Mobility