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  • Being a VAR in 2018

    Posted by Jacqui Rand February 13, 2018 - Category: News/Updates - 366 views - 0 comments - 0 likes - #Channel  #VAR  #distributor  #MSP  #Reseller  #ISV 

    Delivering what the customer wants is becoming increasingly complicated as the need for specialism increases. Customers expect their supplier to be specialists, but they also prefer to single source their IT solution, often requiring a rich portfolio of different systems. Therefore, how do you build a reseller with that mix of solutions and a range of skills, all in one business, to ensure you can deliver what the customer wants?  This also extends to providing a “global” solution, as the world shrinks, so partners need to be able to demonstrate a global delivery service. 


    The way through this conundrum of specialising to differentiate alongside the need to assimilate the necessary skills to provide the whole solution, across Geos, is to partner. Building valuable business partner to partner relationships.


    However, there is still a massive gap in the ability of many partners to be able to effectively partner.  Only 27% of IT partners inform their customers that some of their services are being delivered by partners, revealed Trevor Treharne in his CRN report - here on 6th Feb 2018.  His research findings were from Agilitas and suggest that there is a lack of trust between partners and also between partner and customer.


    This is borne out by our own Channeliser Partnership survey which discovered that “Trust” is the most influential factor in building partnerships.  In our survey results it was discovered that almost two thirds of respondents (both ISVs and VARS), felt that trust was the most important part of partner-to-partner collaboration.


    But how do you build that trust with other partners?  There are best-practice guidelines and examples of how to mitigate against the partner relationship going wrong in our “P2P White Paper” here and both IDC and IAMCP have more detailed methodologies.  In practical terms, it’s like any relationship; go in with your eyes wide open, document everything and keep talking.  And as for the trust between customer and partner – having some useful data points about why “partnering” is thriving and a good thing for the customer can turn it into a positive asset, as you have brought together all the key skills, rather than believing it to be a weakness that you didn’t have the resources internally.


    Demand for partnering is undoubtedly growing, with almost all IT companies actively looking for new partners (our research put the number at 85% expecting to find new

    partners within the next two years and > 60% looking for new partners in the next six months).  Further research from OnePoll endorses these numbers with nearly two thirds of channel businesses looking for new companies to partner with between now and 2020.


    This growth in the need for partnering is being fuelled by increasingly complex customer requirements alongside the need for suppliers to be specialists. Resellers these days need to be specialists in technology, vertical industries, integration, business and consulting.  These specialist skills become increasingly difficult to accumulate in one partner and so customer demands are driving the need to find new products and partners.


    This backdrop for resellers to differentiate is referenced in a key article from Forrester’s Jay McBain in his 2018 Predictions #2 here .  It’s a tough job right now for resellers to try and strike the right balance!


    Shaun Lynn, CEO of Agilitas was quoted in Trevor’s CRN piece endorsing the need for specialising; “…it's always best for companies to focus on developing their core skills, … and a strong channel partnership will always prove more beneficial for the end-user customer."


    The simple truth is that one reseller cannot be a Specialists at everything and they have to partner and take combined solutions to market. However, finding those partnerships is hard when complex searches in Google or LinkedIn simply don’t work, so at Channeliser we make those searches easier, using standard industry terminology.  Partner communities or partner ecosystems are required to bring together partners and enable them to skills match. This is endorsed by Jay McBain’s prediction #7.  We are big fans of Jay’s work as it underpins the need for partner communities and a flatter channel structure.


    For VARS in 2018, it’s back to basics and being that “Trusted Advisor” who can pull together the necessary solutions and skills to deliver.  For which VARS need to be the ones driving the partnering; finding not just the solutions, but the right distribution partner that provides the right services that plugs any gaps and the right complimentary partners who provide necessary skills.  VARS need to be the brokers.


    There is no lack of business to be “had” especially in the new arena of downstream revenue provided by Cloud and other complex technologies. Teaming up with an integration partner will help secure more deals and enable a faster deployment turnaround. Or, teaming up with a security specialist or compliance expert widens the project scope so you can deliver bigger deals.  Basically, teaming up with other partners is driving more business. But to offer all of these services, partners should not be afraid of working with other partners. Each partner is different, and so, each offers different value.  Partners who are flexible and responsive to the changes afoot will be the ones who will succeed. 


    Forrester’s Jay McBain in his 2018 Predictions here