By Dan Shapero
It’s February. Do you know where your New Year’s resolutions are? If you’re like most, vows to get more exercise, eat well, save better and travel more shriveled in the cold reality of January. To recharge your resolve, we asked seven top channel thinkers for their insights on new programs, new technologies to drive customer/client innovation, ways to grow revenue and improve margins, tips for business planning and even suggestions for “must-read” books for 2018.
Jay McBain, principal analyst for global channels at Forrester Research, says it’s “do or die time” for smaller resellers and VARs.
“With dropping numbers globally, huge demographic headwinds driving retirements, insolvency numbers creeping up, and a buyer’s market for M&A activity, smaller traditional IT companies will need to transform to survive,” says McBain. We’ll discuss how to get that transformation in gear.
Oh, and don’t think suppliers are off the hook. McBain says the trend toward freezing out those small partners hurts everyone.
“A partner that only comes around once a year to do a deal may still be a loyal partner, and you may enjoy 100 percent wallet share,” he says. “Instead of dumping them, figure out how to manage them less expensively, and when that yearly opportunity starts to take shape, go all-in for the time period required to win.”
Ingram Micro Executive Vice President and Group President of the Americas Paul Bay is focusing his 2018 resolutions on five key areas: connection, convergence, community, expertise and getting back to the basics. For the latter, Bay is a big advocate for focusing on core competencies and advises Ingram’s partners to recommit to operational excellence as an adaptation mechanism.
“Times are changing,” he says. “Maybe you’re doing business in an area where you’re being marginalized. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Reassess, and focus your efforts.”
He advises building peer partnerships in areas where you need help to be competitive.
“Fail fast and move on with a ‘kill it’ mentality if something isn’t working,” he says.
“In 2018, we’ll be celebrating five years since AT&T Partner Exchange launched and remain focused on continuing the momentum to help our solutions providers win in the marketplace,” says Meredith Caram, assistant vice president for market development at AT&T Partner Solutions. “It’s all about growth.”
She says AT&T will continue to put solution providers at …