The channel is seeing resurgence since the fourth quarter of last year. Service providers are looking to the channel for a number of things that the direct sales force can’t provide.
One thing is a complete solution. Sane service providers know that they can’t be all things to all customers. Also, customers may not want to rip-and-replace pieces of their infrastructure; they may want components added to enhance what they have. Partners are best suited for that.
Migration to the cloud is a many step process. No two projects are the same. Partners can be integral in managing the project of cloud migration to ensure client satisfaction, especially when privacy, security or compliance issues may be involved.
Mobility, cloud and security require flexibility, which direct sales reps may not be able to provide. In most cases, these silos will have hybrid solutions – some in-house, some in cloud, some in public, some in private. That requires selling across product lines and across vendor lines, in a way with which partners are already comfortable.
Sane service providers are realizing that investing in the channel allows the customer base to get the best solution delivered. Not only has the buyer changed in the organization, but so has how and why technology is being purchased. Customers want solutions – really, they want outcomes. Partners are best able to interface with customers to deliver on that.
When the market moves from a commodity product to a complex solution, like it has with telecom becoming a foundation for applications and business needs as never before, partners have a view of the customer that goes beyond the service provider’s product line. Service providers are looking at a piece of the puzzle; partners usually have a view of many more puzzle pieces.
The buying process is changing. The products being sold are if not more complex, then at least require more labor for deployment. For these reasons and others, the channel is back in the good graces with the service provider world.
Peter Radizeski is head of telecom consulting agency RAD-INFO (News - Alert) Inc. (http://rad-info.net/).
Edited by Stefania Viscusi