Archive for November, 2008

What Channel Challenges are Keeping You Up at Night?

Diane Krakora

Diane Krakora

Amazon Consulting recently gathered 30 people in our semi-annual channel executive round table.  We met to discuss channel trends, find best practices for common challenges and network with industry peers.  Here are some highlights of the discussion.

Coping With Economic Realities
The first issue on everyone’s mind was the economic downturn and possible recession, so we opened with that topic.  Most of the vendors felt  that effectively leveraging partners is even more important as the economy softened.  Most of the attendees were looking to boost revenues and profitability by expanding channels, not contracting them. The smaller vendors felt pressure to quickly open up the channels and engage faster to hit revenue goals.  They were all feeling the pressure to manage their fixed costs (i.e. headcount) and “produce more with less” – which seems to be the current battle cry for effectively leveraging partners. The larger vendors were also experiencing increasing conflict in the channel as more partners pursue fewer deals, and large customers start requiring the vendors to also have “skin in the game.”

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November 26, 2008 at 10:13 pm Leave a comment

IBM and Radical Simplicity? Real Change for Big Blue’s Mid-Market Strategy

Observations form the IBM Influence Summit – Greenwich, CT (Nov 5-6)

Beth Vanni

Beth Vanni

Can it really be true? More than five IBM executives sharing a common vision of the mid-market opportunity? Everyone’s slides truly aligned on the their view of the market and how they’re investing? Multiple real-life examples of IBM acting in a highly personalized, solutions oriented way with small to mid-size businesses? A common fervor across the business units and geographies for becoming “radically simple” to do business with?  I could almost not believe my ears!

Yes, we’ve heard it before as a statement of intent. For years. And, no doubt, IBM has had many initiatives in the past focused on the non-enterprise markets. In fact, at this past Spring’s Leadership Conference in Los Angeles, Rich Hume, then two days in the job as GM of the company’s business partner community, declared his plan to apply significant resources to partner engagement in the mid-market.  At the same event, the Lotus Foundations bundle was announced as well.  But, as I sat at the IBM Influence Event in Greenwich, Connecticut, two things hit me right between the eyes: IBM has been really listening to customer and partners and they’ve got new fire in the belly about how to succeed in the mid-market and growth markets.

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November 24, 2008 at 10:47 pm Leave a comment

The Good News in Bad Numbers

Bob Winter

Bob Winer

Even for a closet nerd like me, the amount of data we have been fed over the last few months has been overwhelming. The fact that 95% of it is depressing doesn’t help either.

That’s why I was tickled to come across this factoid:

“According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, through September the overall economy has lost 760,00 jobs, while the IT sector has added 100,000.”

That data point, plus the 75,397 tech jobs posted on Dice.com this morning, underscores the fact that while other industries are suffering job loss, we have a talent shortage in IT.  To validate the IT talent availability situation and to determine the impact it is having on the channel, we made it the focus of our latest Amazon Consulting PartnerG2 Report:  “The 2008 North American Talent Shortage Survey – How current and future talent shortages will affect the high technology channel.”

Here’s the problem
One third of the channel partners we surveyed said the talent shortage was having a serious or critical impact on their businesses, with the most noticeable shortages being in professional and technical services. These two job categories show up as having the biggest talent gaps and the biggest negative impact.

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November 3, 2008 at 8:11 pm Leave a comment


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