Cloud Computing To Significantly Impact Vendors’ Partner Programs

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More technology vendors are pushing their partner programs to new levels, thanks to the increasing adoption of cloud computing.

The finding comes from non-profit trade association CompTIA in its “State of IT Channel Partner Programs" report.

The study also notes that most IT solution providers are satisfied with their vendors’ programs, even though many companies changed their benefits, resources and incentives this past year because of the economic recession. Still, of the 400 IT firms in the United States surveyed by CompTIA, 82 percent said they’re satisfied or very satisfied with changes in their partner programs. At the same time, respondents expect cloud computing to have a significant impact on the development and structure of their suppliers’ partner programs. For example, 56 percent said classroom-based technical training will be significantly affected. Other elements solutions providers predict will see an overhaul include 24/7 telesales support, general vendor-partner communications, and the cost of technical and business training.

Finally, partners expect channel companies to push for more specialization.

"Increasingly, vendors are requiring their partners to gain one or more specializations to access additional benefits or ascend tiers in their partner program," said Carolyn April, CompTIA’s director of industry analysis. "Specialization can include vertical industry expertise or skills around groupings of certain products and services, such as unified communications. Vendors want partners with competency in particular areas who can add service and consulting level value to their sales, as opposed to simply filling orders for products."

April forecast that partner programs will see big shifts in 2011 and beyond “as cloud computing, increasing specialization and the emergence from the recession impacts both vendor and solution-provider business models. Partner programs will inevitably morph in new ways as will the decision-making process solution providers will undertake around membership in these programs."

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