By Sergio Farache, Tech Data
Knowledge is quickly becoming the most valued service for channel partners — even more so than an extensive catalog of quality products. End customers want channel partners to understand the intricacies of their specialized technology deployments while delivering the ability to save time and resources in solving their business problems.
This is why IT channel partners and ISVs increasingly are creating specialized solution practices. At a time of greater margin pressures and technology commoditization, offering highly specialized skills and expertise in next-generation technologies is what can differentiate a true partner from a simple product pusher.
Here are four key reasons why technology channel partners and ISVs should create specialized solution practices to better serve their customers.
1. Keep up with the pace of innovation — While the traditional IT market may be slowing, the pace of disruptive innovation in new technologies has never been more blinding. Constant change is the norm in cloud, cognitive computing, data analytics, mobility, security, the Internet of Things (IoT) and other emerging technologies. Business conditions and IT consumption can turn on a dime.
While a channel partner may have expertise in one particular area, innovation is dynamic and constantly evolving. Increasingly, solutions involve multiple technologies. Developing a specialized solutions practice gives channel partners the financial and personnel resources to invest in staying on the cusp of innovation. They also excel at developing the unique proprietary tools, services and sales support customers can lean on for success.
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2. Deliver better business outcomes — Customers that require next-generation technologies need a partner that understands their business needs as well as the technological requirements. Specialized solutions practices combine a business solutions mindset with deep technical expertise.
Specialization gives such partners a better understanding of the drivers of their customers’ business. Some customers are driven by reducing costs or improving operational efficiencies, for example. Others may be more concerned with attracting and retaining customers. And for some, establishing a clear differentiated offering from their competitors is the main driver. Specialized solution practices are uniquely developed to understand these business drivers and develop solutions that support the end users’ needs and the technologies and services that support them.
3. Reduce risk — The economic value proposition that specialized solutions practices offer is the ability to accelerate return on investment while minimizing risks in deploying new solutions. By creating specialized solutions practices, knowledgeable and experienced staff can understand the potential challenges faced through an installation and increase the rate of success. Through a close partnership with distributors, channel partners can remediate additional risk by …