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Many IoT Partner Programs Successfully Maturing

Internet-of-Things

Edward GatelyInternet of Things (IoT) partner programs and their member companies increasingly are evolving their IoT offerings, with more than half rating “high” on a maturity grade.

ABI Research's Ryan HarbisonThat’s according to ABI Research’s analysis ranking more than 450 companies on their IoT service capabilities. The IoT partner programs include those from companies focused on assembling end-to-end services around a supplier product portfolio.

The programs streamline the IoT adoption process by fostering collaboration among hardware, software and service providers across different technology sectors to deliver comprehensive IoT services for enterprises, according to ABI.

Ryan Harbison, research analyst at ABI, tells Channel Partners that no one company yet has a “complete grasp on developing end-to-end IoT solutions, so they need to work with partners in order to develop and drive these solutions.”

“Companies need to realize that partner programs are ecosystems that help bridge the gap between suppliers and customers,” he said. “In order for partner-program parents and members to maximize their reach into the market, they need to work together and strategically align themselves with other partners who complement their core business offering. Success within these ecosystems depends upon how effectively and efficiently the partners are able to work together to develop, deliver and collaborate on solutions. Using the analysis, companies can see existing relationships between companies and how they can fit their own partner-program ecosystem into the mix.”{ad}

Dell's Jason ShepherdABI’s analysis features examples of how companies are making the most of their IoT partner programs. Dell, for example, is expanding its partner-program community with its series of IoT gateways, relying on partners like Action Point and Datatrend Technologies. Through a portal, Dell customers can search for partners that best fit their needs, based on a variety of metrics like vertical offerings and location. Dell aims to double its number of program members by the end of 2016.

“The Dell IoT Solutions Partner Program contains a diverse set of technology and services providers, ranging from Fortune 50 companies to startups with offerings spanning vertical domain expertise to analytics, security and connectivity,” Jason Shepherd, Dell’s director of IoT strategy and partnerships, told us. “The program takes the best features from our legacy efforts and has added special considerations to tackle a fragmented market like IoT. Partnerships are actively curated based on …

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… proven ability to address Industrial IoT solutions and partners are organized by how they fit into the overall IoT solution stack and their target use cases such as predictive maintenance, factory optimization, smart infrastructure and energy management.”

Partners often “tell us that they appreciate that we are not simultaneously trying to compete with them for the applications and services that round out a total solution,” he said.

In addition, Intel’s IoT Solution Alliance continues to create interoperable, secure offerings to drive efficiencies and deliver device system-performance insights. Program members like Advantech and relayr help Intel differentiate its devices and the value they provide to end users.{ad}

“Traditionally, the partner-program parents utilized partner programs mainly as a strategic tool used to reduce the cost of sales by moving the sales point to their channel partners,” Harbison said. “In return, partner-program parents need to offer members benefits, such as additional revenue opportunities, specialized training and sales support, certification programs, co-marketing opportunities and networking events. Not all ecosystem members are aware of or utilize the resources at these partner programs though. In order to maximize the benefits of these programs, communication channels need to be improved among partners. The end goal should not be having the biggest partner program, but rather the program that is able to deliver customers the most value.”

Partner programs drive value for parent organizations by expanding their community user base through their member company connections, ABI said. The programs, in turn, drive value for member companies through incremental business opportunities. Finally, enterprises acquiring IoT capabilities enjoy faster time to market and potentially a more integrated offering, it said.


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