The average small reseller does no real research. That's why CompTIA brought Tim Herbert over from the CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) to be the association’s vice president of research. During CompTIA Breakaway 2010 in San Antonio, Texas, this week, Herbert answered some questions about the channel and the association’s efforts to help resellers build knowledge and be more effective.
ChannelPro-SMB: What pleased you most about jumping into the reseller world from the consumer world?
Herbert: That the reseller world is doing well, generally, and the symbiotic relationship between vendors and their channel partners. Both groups seem genuinely interested in working together in performing research that can help their bottom lines. They're looking for the best way to train end users and attach opportunities effectively when they come up. We like to tackle research questions from both the end user and reseller points of view.
ChannelPro-SMB: What has disappointed you?
Herbert: The focus on the short term, particularly the big businesses. You have to lay the groundwork today for new products that arrive in two years, and there's little time to invest in new research on product development.
ChannelPro-SMB: How big is the channel today?
Herbert: That easy question is hard to answer. Some people say 200,000 resellers. We say around 100,000, of which about 50 percent or a more have employees on board.
ChannelPro-SMB: Is it hard to get a grip on resellers?
Herbert: Absolutely. Many do hardware, software, services, and have some managed service customers. What percentage of revenue should managed services be before we consider them a managed services provider? How much revenue should come from a vertical to slot that reseller as primarily in that vertical?
ChannelPro-SMB: What do CompTIA members get from your research department?
Herbert: A better breadth of research. We explore topics that are difficult to research, like the legal services market. No sponsorship dollars directly for research are accepted, although we tap the intelligence of our reseller and vendor members. We're a resource for resellers that will help them build knowledge and be more effective.