It professionals may not have fully embraced social networking sites to generate business leads or market their services, but using IT-specific networking sites to find other partners seems to be gaining a foothold in the broader channel.
Last year, for example, Ingram Micro introduced The Zone, four business-to- business networking sites to help the distributor's solution providers find other Ingram Micro partners. More recently, Tech Data has done the same by enhancing its partner portal to facilitate partnership opportunities.
Now Foster MacCallum International, a British company that provides channel development consulting services, has launched Score, a global online "dating" service--in the form of a Web-based portal--for IT and communications VARs, ISVs, integrators, consultants, and distributors.
"We recognized the need for companies to promote themselves and find each other for the development of their businesses using cost-effective social networking concepts," says George Dziedzic, CEO of Foster MacCallum. "As companies develop and grow, finding partners to increase their geographic coverage or address gaps in technology offerings on a short- or longer-term basis becomes ever more important."
When IT companies sign larger contracts, they often struggle to fulfill part of the deal themselves, whether on the technology side or because of their geographic location, says Dziedzic. "Vendor-partner ecosystems are limited because they only allow their partner companies to find other companies within that vendor's ecosystem, and not companies with alternative skills related to other vendors," he says. "This service is totally independent and covers the spectrum of products and services, and the companies that supply them."
Score membership is free, although there is a $350 charge to download a company profile. Or, you can purchase a membership service, which costs $2,000 a year for 20 company profile downloads. For more information, go to www.score-fm.com.