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Beware - Change Ahead! - 2 things transforming tech channels

For the past couple of commutes, I have been listening to an excellent podcast discussion between Marcus Cauchi of Sandler Training and Jay McBain, Principle Analyst, Global Channels at Forrester.

It’s well worth an hour for anyone who is responsible for setting the strategy of a Vendor, Distributor or Channel Partner (VAR, MSP, ISV etc).

I picked out 2 key messages that people doing these roles should hear and research further…

Vendors are starting to move away from traditional pyramid shaped channels and are adopting complex, unstructured ecosystems that enable them to broaden their reach beyond the IT Department and into lines of business buyers. Microsoft, AWS and Riverbed were used as examples.

Channel Partners will struggle if they don’t find ways to sell broader than just via the IT or Procurements teams where they have traditionally played. They need to have relationships in Marketing, Finance, HR etc and if they have no track record or value proposition in these areas, they will need to partner with other companies who do, e.g. Digital Agencies, Accountants, Consultancies etc. Effectively, traditional IT companies are now too ‘niche’ to meet all of the demands of their clients.

We (IQBlade) are also seeing the first of these trends, and have completed a lot more channel research and data projects for Vendors and Distributors in the back half of 2018 and into 2019 than in the preceding 12 months.

However, we aren’t yet getting requests from Channel Partners who are looking for partnerships with other ISV’s, MSP’s etc. As Jay says in the podcast, these forward-thinking strategists are still the “exception rather than the rule” so perhaps that’s a trend we’ll start to see later in the year.

The other trend that I would highlight to Channel Partners in the UK, is the shifting balance from Enterprise to the SME sector. People have different (work v life, corporate structure v creative) ambitions in 2019, there has been a fundamental shift in economic conditions, and there is a huge amount of investment (grants, funding etc) to encourage SME growth (and as a result tech spend growth).

Start-ups and Scale-ups buy and consume Tech in a very different way.

IQBlade is one such example. We get called every month by inside sales from 2 of the big VAR’s. We politely explain that we run everything in the Cloud, don’t have a server, just 1 router and a load of laptops, most of which are chosen by the team, not management.

In the past 12 months our Accountant and our Marketing Agency have influenced where we have spent money, or we have bought products that we researched ourselves and bought online. We buy our ERP and Expenses Systems and Digital Marketing Platforms through them and our comms are provided by the serviced building that we are located in.

Flexibility is crucial to us. We need to be able to scale up and down quickly and we have a young team who work varied hours and from locations all over the world, to suit their lifestyle.

The 2 VAR’s who keep calling will only get a share of wallet if they partner with our Accountant, Marketing Agency or Landlord OR we grow to a size where we need a specialist IT supplier, as part of a broader set of suppliers across the business.

Give theinquisitor podcast released on 19th January 2019 a try. A one-hour time investment could shape your future!



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