I’ve been listening to TheInquisitor podcast with Marcus Cauchi of Sandler Training, featuring an excellent discussion with Jay McBain, Principle Analyst, Global Channels at Forrester.

It’s well worth an hour for anyone responsible for setting the strategy of a Vendor, Distributor or Channel Partner (VAR, MSP, ISV etc).

I picked out 2 key messages that people in these roles should research further:

  1. Vendors are moving away from traditional pyramid-shaped channels and adopting complex, unstructured ecosystems that enable them to broaden their reach beyond the IT Department, and into lines of business buyers. Microsoft, AWS and Riverbed were used as examples.
  2. Channel Partners will struggle if they don’t find ways to sell broader than just via the IT or Procurements teams where they have traditionally played. They need to have relationships in Marketing, Finance, HR etc. If they have no track record or value proposition in these areas, they will need to partner with other companies who do. E.g., Digital Agencies, Accountants, Consultancies etc. Effectively, traditional IT companies are now too ‘niche’ to meet all of the demands of their clients.

IQBlade are seeing the first of these trends. We’ve completed a lot more channel research and data projects for Vendors and Distributors.

However, we aren’t yet getting requests from Channel Partners looking for partnerships with other ISV’s, MSP’s etc. As Jay says in the podcast, these forward-thinking strategists are still the “exception rather than the rule”. So perhaps that’s a trend that will start to emerge.

The Shifting Balance from Enterprise to SME

The other trend I would highlight to Channel Partners in the UK, is the shifting balance from Enterprise to the SME sector. There’s been a fundamental shift in economic conditions, with a huge amount of investment (grants, funding etc.) to encourage SME growth (and as a result tech spend growth).

Start-ups and Scale-ups Buy and Consume Tech in a very different way

IQBlade is one such example. We get called every month by inside sales from 2 of the big VAR’s. We politely explain that we run everything in the Cloud, don’t have a server, just a router and laptops, most of which are chosen by the team, not management.

In the past 12 months, our Accountant and our Marketing Agency have influenced our spend, or we’ve bought products that we researched ourselves and bought online. We buy our ERP and Expenses Systems and Digital Marketing Platforms through them, and our comms are provided by the serviced building we’re located in.

Flexibility is crucial to us

We need to be able to scale up and down quickly, with a young team who work varied hours and from locations all over the world, to suit their lifestyle.

The two VARs who keep calling will only get a share of our budget if they partner with our Accountant, Marketing Agency or Landlord – 0r we grow to a size where we need a specialist IT supplier as part of a broader set of suppliers across the business.

Give TheInquisitor podcast a listen. A one-hour time investment could shape your future!


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