Archive for September, 2009

The Clouds Begin To Part: Where Do Distributors Fit After The Storm?

A View on the Vendor/Distributor Relationship from the GTDC Annual Summit
By Beth Vanni – Director, Market Intelligence

Top channel support functions that distributors help with to increase ease of doing business for vendors' partners (Amazon Consulting Cost of Complexity Study)
Top channel support functions that distributors help with to increase ease of doing business for vendors’ partners (Amazon Consulting Cost of Complexity Study)

At last year’s Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC) most of the conversation was about access to capital and credit.  The bottom of the recession was looming straight ahead and the fear about IT product demand drying up was very palpable.   Fast forward 12 months.  This year’s event is decidedly more optimistic.  The major distributors have undoubtedly had a tough year, along with their major vendor partners, but by all indications of average selling prices, unit sell-through and pipeline forecasts, the major distributors think we’re all climbing out of the bottom of the trough.
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September 24, 2009 at 11:25 pm Leave a comment

The Texas Titans Gang Up: Perot Systems and Dell Make Enterprise Services Play – Late to the Game

bvanni-printFor me, it’s a pretty simple debrief.  Dell has been increasingly trying to gain relevance in the enterprise, with both servers, storage and services.

They had no real comparable services arm to compete with EDS/HP or IBM G.S.   They are worried about getting further commoditized at the device/PC level and about not having an offsetting high margin services play.   They’re smart enough to know they can only streamline their cost structure so low and become further efficient at commodity PCs as a sustainable business strategy for so long.   They also were last to the game with a meaningful outsourcing services offer.   Lastly, they also needed vertical industry practices to gain more business user relevance (and stop selling on price & feature/function to the IT Director).   So, Perot brings them all of those things, with a stated focus and successful history in a couple of big verticals (gov’t. and healthcare).

It just seems to me like Dell paid a HUGE price for this (60%+ premium over current stock value).   But the clock was ticking.

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September 23, 2009 at 9:40 pm Leave a comment

Channel Complexity – Vendor/Partner Marriage Counseling

By Beth Vanni – Director, Market Intelligencebvanni-print

When psychologists ask most married couples about what creates conflict in their marriage, there is often a classic gender gap in perceptions.  Women will often talk about lack of sharing, communication and having joint goals — those long-term things in a marriage that create meaningful bonds.  Men will often talk about arguments over money and not enough physical intimacy (OK, sex).   The day to day “glue” of a marriage that keep the wheels on the bus.   Not that I’m trying to indict the male species, but this classic gender-based delta in needs feels much like the results from our recent research study focused on Channel Complexity.   Let me explain ….

The goal of our research was to identify what areas of channel programs and processes caused partners the most cost, wasted time and generally infuriated partners  about their leading vendor’s programs.  We then compared those responses to the vendor’s own perception of where they felt they could improve in their ease-of-doing-business quotients.   The results were fascinating – much like a marriage counseling session.   Beyond the one resoundingly common complexity issue of managing training and certification requirements, the wish list of things to simplify seemed quite divergent.

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September 15, 2009 at 1:15 am 1 comment

VMworld 2009: Ahead in the Cloud

Sandra Glaser Cheek

Sandra Glaser Cheek

I spent several days at VMworld 2009 last week where I was one of 12,000+ attendees (roughly, about ¼ of the attendees were partners) gathered to immerse ourselves in all things virtualization. There were a few new product announcements – all ripe with the notion of clouds and an overarching computing paradigm, but there were really no big surprises. A few highlights that stood out for me: (more…)

September 14, 2009 at 8:19 pm Leave a comment

Business and Sales Skills Come of Age: Cisco Partners Increase Investment in “Soft Skills”

Beth Vanni

Beth Vanni

Cisco Gold, Silver and Premium partners are bullish on sales growth this year.  According to the recent Cisco Bi-Annual Talent Survey, they expect sales growth of between 11 – 20% in the coming year.   As a result, maintaining and growing their top talent is a big priority.

A full 78% indicated that they are still hiring technical talent at this time.  Another 84% indicated they are investing heavily in employee development programs.  And their top priority for growing their people’s talent (and their business impact) is solution selling and “soft” business skills.   Despite budgets being tighter, nearly half of these top Cisco partners  (42%) are increasing their investment in their employees’ customer management, selling and business process skills. (more…)

September 8, 2009 at 7:13 pm 1 comment


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