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Channel Landscape Changes as Partnering Gets Personal

Job Interview

… move away from the cookie-cutter approach.

What might this look like?

Krakora outlines three scenarios for personalized enablement: enablement by partner as well as by person; the fostering of “community” within a partner ecosystem; and the growth of agent programs.

  • Individualized enablement will focus on the unique needs of partner types — and taking a deeper look, each individual in a partner firm has a unique background, skill set and interest. We will see partner “types” and “tiers” in programs minimized in favor of more individualized engagement blueprints. We’ve always talked about enabling a partner, but as a vendor you really enable people within the partner firm to be successful. Management will be an early challenge.
  • We’ll see more vendors build and foster a “community” within their partner ecosystems or treat their ecosystems more like a community. The individuals in the partner organization will join the communities to learn, share and support prospects and customers. The vendors – and possibly aggregators and distributors – will develop the community forum and stoke it with content and collaboration. It’s individuals connecting with other individuals.
  • We will also see the growth of agent programs from traditional IT vendors — not just the telcos. We’ve seen vendor referral programs for years, where the vendors pay a solution provider a finder’s fee for referring an opportunity that the vendor then closes and provisions on their cloud offering. In 2018, expect to see more true agent programs coming from IT vendors — where the vendor rewards an organization/individual not only for the sale, but the ongoing support and satisfaction/management of the customer. The channel organization (individual) “owns” the relationship with the customer, even if the billing is done directly from the vendor, and the vendor pays the agent monthly, for a significant period of time.

Krakora said that vendors such as Ciena, HPE, IBM, NetApp and SAP, are dipping their toes in the personal partnering waters, as are AWS and Intel, particularly around the community concept.

She noted that the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), will help drive the management of personalized partnering.

“Using data and AI is the only way that vendors will be able to manage the complexities around individuals rather than lumping them into huge groups,” Krakora said. The incorporation of AI will happen beyond 2018, she added.

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