Archive for July, 2010

All-in with the Cloud

Diane Krakora – CEO, Amazon Consulting

Microsoft jumped on the cloud bandwagon (albeit 18 months later than most other software companies) in a big way at WPC. There were a couple of different messages at the show… Infinite Possiblities” was the main theme, and the Window’s 7 team is promoting “We Win with Partners” but the clear rally cry wase “All In” – Microsoft is all in the cloud.

See Also: Event Analysis – Microsoft WW Partner Conference

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July 21, 2010 at 6:12 pm Leave a comment

Sharing IP is Only Part of Services Success

Partner willingness to adopt vendor’s methodologies and IP is not a “one size fits all” strategy

Beth Vanni – Director, Market Intelligence

In our recent research focused on the hot topic of engaging the next generation of services-centric partners, we found some interesting results in the area of partner enablement, which forced some reading between the lines.

Vendors say that sharing their service delivery methodologies and IP is their fourth biggest challenge (36%) when it comes to channel engagement. The partners we surveyed didn’t list it as a challenge (getting vendors’ IP) at all. (more…)

July 20, 2010 at 9:43 pm Leave a comment

Microsoft WPC 2010

You’ve come a long way, baby

As Allison Watson bid farewell to the Microsoft worldwide partner community today, I can’t help but be a little nostalgic about her 8 years at the helm of WPC and the partner program. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen the changes she’s been through in the last 8 years, or maybe it’s because we’re in Washington DC this year and I spent the day at the American History Museum yesterday, hiding from the steamy afternoon.

See Also: Event Analysis – Microsoft WW Partner Conference

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July 16, 2010 at 5:50 pm Leave a comment

Engagement Models Pose Biggest Challenge in the Services Market

Lack of clarity and alignment between vendor and solution provider pose roadblocks

Beth Vanni – Director, Market Intelligence

Because “services” is such a broad category, successful solution providers most effective in delivering professional, managed and support services have distinct and separate business models. At the same time, a good segmentation model with clearly defined partner profiles and performance metrics is critical for vendors. But, in our recent research focused on vendor/partner engagement models around services, we discovered a lack of clarity by the solution providers about the very core of their execution around services – namely, vendor field engagement models. We think this is still contributing to relatively widespread conflict and confusion in vendor channel relationships.

Field engagement has always been the critical “last mile” of harmonious vendor/channel engagement around services. As the saying goes, “all politics are local.” However, our research results are alarming about how ineffectively this field engagement is currently working. Over half (57%) of vendors indicated that they don’t think their own channel partners understand their own rules of engagement, and another other 50% say their partners have reported a poor experience in engaging with their direct services teams in the past. From the partner side, (leave as-is) of the respondents themselves indicate they are unclear on the vendor’s rules of engagement and have experienced channel conflict (39%) around services delivery

Despite the fact that vendor’s sales policies don’t always make solution providers happy, this type of widespread lack of clarity is very counterproductive to channel growth and delays solution providers’ investments in vendor’s channel services programs. Solution providers need the clarity and consistency of vendor field execution, even more so than many other more specialized channel incentive and support programs.  Predictable behavior around roles, rates and customer teaming processes is the glue that allows solution providers to build a meaningful and financially viable services practice. It can also be the factor which either instills confidence or deteriorates trust and satisfaction in end-user relationships.

The most common process deployed in the field to manage direct/indirect channel relationships is deferring services to the incumbent partner in an account, which got a 39% response rate from partners and a 43% response from vendors. Of course, solution providers prefer this method and expect vendors to leverage their insights and existing customer relationships when trying to further penetrate an account. Also, more than one-third of both vendors and solution providers felt they clearly segment which customers would receive vendor direct vs. partner-led services (41% and 38% response, respectively).

These “hard decks” are becoming increasingly common. However, as it relates to services delivery they seem to be less absolute and harder for vendors to consistently execute due to the need to keep services teams at maximum utilization and drive higher-margin services revenue during softer financial periods.

Lastly, the solution providers indicate they are using a co-sell and co-delivery model in key accounts based on vendor/partner complementary skills less frequently (39%) than the vendors felt that model was being used (57%). This co-selling model can be a very effective one for mentoring and helping solution providers apply technical skills, but is an expensive one for many vendors and doesn’t scale very well. Solution providers usually welcome the support, but are eager to get the vendor disconnected from the account so they can continue to promote overall multi-vendor solution and ultimate find their own unique and differentiated services delivery models.

For the full study, visit the Amazon Consulting Resource Center.

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July 9, 2010 at 11:34 pm Leave a comment

The Untold Story: Solution Provider’s Cloud Computing Concerns

Beth Vanni – Director, Market Intelligence

Half of the top channel enablement priorities for vendors in 2010 relate to improving their solution providers’ services capabilities. However, in our recent study conducted with Integrated entitled “Engaging the Services Partner” solution providers expressed concerns about the real services opportunity and margins represented by the cloud. In fact, many solution providers are still thinking about resale only of cloud offerings.

Infrastructure providers like Rackspace and enterprise software vendors like VMware, Oracle and Microsoft are aggressively pushing solution providers to dip their toe in cloud services by simply reselling their offerings or those of their larger service providers.

However, most solution providers are smart enough to see that there’s not a sustainable business model to be had in acting as only a sales agent for someone else’s managed or cloud service. And, the #1 cloud computing concern for 2010 expressed by our solution provider respondents is around inadequate margins for reselling cloud services or applications. (more…)

July 6, 2010 at 4:14 pm Leave a comment

OPN Specialized: The First Step to a Value-Based Channel Program?

Beth Vanni – Director, Market Intelligence

Oracle has a lot to talk about these days – six new acquisitions completed or pending since the beginning of 2010, details about the Sun integration rolling-out, and their FY10 financial results which include a 20% increase in partner transactions year-over-year. The Redwood Shores giant is, no doubt, a global industry leader with a massive portfolio and influence to match.

But the news yesterday on the kick-off of their new OPN Specialized program was a tad less groundbreaking. Of course, Judson Althoff’s Worldwide Partner organization produced a very thorough, professional web event, with endorsements about the value of the channel to Oracle’s success and how critical partners’ investment in certifications is. Everyone chimed in — all four major executives, training people, product people, and partners themselves. The main message was that because of the breadth of the Oracle portfolio (10,000 products), it’s more critical than ever for partners to become specialized in their product or services expertise. Charles Phillip’s quote was “we don’t need a bunch of generalists.” (it’s on eChannelLine today) (more…)

July 1, 2010 at 4:22 pm Leave a comment

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