5. Make an educated decision on how to best move into the world of converged technology (voice, data, video and mobility) and define an entry strategy for your business. Given the complexities of converging technologies, the “generalist" model is very difficult to support from a technology training/expertise viewpoint. Traditionally the majority of channel partners sold a series of products that were appropriate across most vertical markets. Today and into the future, convergence and customer demands lead to “customized" solutions to meet each customer’s needs; which in turn lead to the requirement for integration of a variety of hardware and software elements. Few channel partners have the on-staff expertise to provide a “complete" solution involving VoIP, unified communications, collaboration and BYOD support.
6. Choose between “generalist" or “specialist." The former requires an extensive investment in technical training while the latter requires a more focused sales and marketing strategy.
7. Partner, merge or acquire another company? Regardless of the opportunities that your business chooses to pursue or the generalist/specialist model that its selects, the day has passed when a channel partner can “go it alone." A growing number of channel partners have elected to merge or acquire to gain additional expertise, expanded geographic presence and resources. Partnering also can be a good option as a fast, low-cost means to acquire additional expertise and geographic presence, but many remain reluctant primarily for fear of losing account control.
Pam Avila is founder of Sierra Summit Group, a channel consulting firm. She is well known as the founder of CT Pioneers, a group of telecom and IT VARs focused on convergence. Avila is a principal of discussUC.com, a member of the 2012-13 Channel Partners Advisory Board and chairperson for CompTIA's UC Community.
Hear more from Sierra Summit Group's Pam Avila in the session, "Creating a Transformation Road Map," at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, Feb. 27-March 1 in Las Vegas.