Partners Dissatisfied with Manufacturer, Vendor Communication

A new study from ZS Associates found that only about half of channel partners surveyed are satisfied with how well manufacturers solicit their ideas and communicate changes.

Manufacturers of hardware and software will lose big sales opportunities if they fail to adapt to changes in the sales channel and improve communication with the partners they rely on to sell, customize and manage the installation of their products, the study said.

As enterprise hardware and software become increasingly commoditized, many manufacturers have launched initiatives called Voice of Partner (VoP) programs to improve communication with value-added resellers, managed service providers and independent software vendors.

The study found that about two-thirds of traditional VARs and MSPs are satisfied with the way vendors gather and act on their feedback, but less than half of the VARs focused on cloud services are equally satisfied.

“This gap – almost 20 percentage points – demonstrates a lag in how well high-tech manufacturers are keeping up with trends,” ZS principal Erik Long said. “Too many hardware and software makers have not adapted their VoP programs to serve less-traditional IT channel partners, like cloud VARs. These cloud VARs often are far younger than traditional VARs. They also deploy new business models, grow faster and are more eager to engage with their technology vendors.”

ZS noted similar levels of dissatisfaction among ISVs, who were more critical of VoP programs than any other channel-partner class surveyed. The majority of ISVs do not believe that vendors value their feedback, address their concerns or keep their interests in mind when updating programs.

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