Economic headwinds and changing customer expectations are challenges all technology vendors and distributors are staring down right now—but the savviest among them will find ways to pivot their strategies and find opportunity.
With more organizations investing in cloud migration, monthly consumption and transaction numbers are increasing. At the same time, tech commoditization and tighter budgets have shifted how businesses strategize. Customers are no longer discussing simple cloud migration, but instead value transformation. And the shift toward transformation requires a significant change in mindset for vendors and distributors who rely on channel partners.
For managed service providers, vendors, distributors, and other chain stakeholders it’s time to invest in building and improving a broader ecosystem. The ecosystem model—a more collaborative, less linear approach to the traditional model—means increased collaboration with suppliers, stakeholders, and even competitors within the chain to make decisions that benefit all.
As it stands, the traditional model isn’t as efficient, accurate, or accessible as it could be. Costs compound down the chain, and as end-customers rightfully demand more, it’s a perfect time for the model to shift toward an ecosystem that benefits everyone.
So, how do vendors work with their distributors and channel partners to build a more symbiotic ecosystem? And what benefits do each party stand to gain?
A Channel Ecosystem of Opportunity and Value
A symbiotic ecosystem can serve customers much more effectively than traditional models—and consequently deliver the results vendors, distributors, MSPs, and value-added resellers (VARs) seek. This change in approach is necessary because customers’ buying journeys are no longer linear. Instead, customers routinely explore a wide range of options and solicit recommendations from consulting firms and other experts before reaching a purchasing decision.
Building an effective channel ecosystem that delivers comprehensive and tailored solutions to customers requires vendors to harness the collective intelligence of their channel partners and distributors. And that calls for a new approach to data sharing.
When vendors bolster innovation, it should be a positive for all. But often, the innovation is done in isolation and the benefits aren’t shared as widely or as transparently as they should be.
But by opening up and connecting siloed data streams throughout the channel, there are massive opportunities for increased revenue and slashed transaction costs. Specifically:
Vendors see increased revenue when accurate, real-time information is shared throughout the chain. This feedback loop helps them understand which partners are influencing deals and affecting prices—an extremely valuable source of information. Equally important, access to comprehensive lifecycle data enables vendors to anticipate customer needs based on past purchases and proactively offer tailored solutions. This optimization also helps manufacturers withstand a down economy, as they can more confidently leave the sales work to distributors and resellers.
Distributors who participate in an ecosystem model have the opportunity to transition from a credit and logistics role to a full-fledged influencer that customers can’t do business without. Their unique position between vendors, VARs, and MSPs grants them access to valuable customer insights that, when used effectively, offers a competitive advantage to all involved parties. Through collaboration and data-driven decision-making, distributors enhance their value proposition, foster innovation, and contribute to the delivery of superior solutions that meet evolving customer demands.
VARs and MSPs can become far more agile in an ecosystem model. Rather than waiting for vendors to identify customer growth and renewal opportunities, MSPs in an ecosystem are empowered to play a much larger role in helping an organization plan for its IT future and feel more competitive. Additionally, when mundane parts of their work like quotes and renewals are automated, reps can be more strategic and solution-focused with customers.
An ecosystem elevates the channel as a whole, with each partner enjoying unique opportunities and benefits. You’re already working together in one capacity or another—why not open things up for the most profitable and efficient experience for everyone?
SCOTT FREW is CEO and founder of iasset, a SaaS platform provider.