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In some ways, the complexity of managing a consistent set of channel programs and practices across a heterogeneous channel is mitigated by the fact that different types of partners tend to focus on different types of products and solutions. SMB Channel partner (VARs, SIs, SPs, MSPs, IT Consultants) data shows that IT vendors require multiple types of channels to successfully reach all potential SMB buyers.

However, with an increasing overlap between solution categories (cloud, mobility, virtualization, managed services, converged infrastructure) there will be increased program management complexity for both IT companies and channels. The basis of channel differentiation will increasingly be tied to customers and value propositions. Data also shows that that there are quantitative, meaningful and actionable differences between channel partners who are successful in the business of selling in each of the different solution areas and those that have not developed successful practices. 

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