Posts tagged ‘solution provider’

Where Solution Providers Can Turn for Financing

by Tim Lowe – Director, Consulting

Channel financing issues can be at the core of a solution provider’s mobility or the reason why you keep hitting roadblocks. For solution providers in today’s economic environment, credit is no longer readily available. Several credit facilities that were options five years ago no longer exist today. Finding sources of short-term financing for large deals in particular is more challenging and more time-consuming than it was in the past.

But credit for solution providers is just as important in an up economy as in a down economy. My experience has been that if you don’t plan for success and line up avenues of credit before you need them, then you will limit your ability to prosper in any economy. If you plan on growing, it’s better to solve these issues before you need the credit.

So where can solution providers turn for financing? The fact is that vendors and distributors are places where solution providers can seek financing for their own businesses.



December 7, 2011 at 6:11 pm Leave a comment

The New “VAR”

By Diane Krakora, CEO

You are probably thinking “Diane, the ‘VAR’ label, is so passé – get with the times, girl.” And you’re right. We transitioned off the ‘VAR’ label to ‘Solution Provider’ years ago, as reselling took a back seat to providing the customer with a full solution to their business needs. If you’ve been paying attention to our briefs and blogs over the last couple of years, you’ve seen us postulate completely moving off labels as ‘nouns’ to the use of ‘verbs’ for the indirect channels. What do the partners do – resell, refer, influence, bundle, service?  Instead of Reseller – they resell. Instead of MSP –they provide managed services. Instead of Consultant – they refer business.  So why am I now promoting a new “VAR?”

In the world of the cloud, the value of the indirect channel to the customer is in their relationship – the services they provide outside of the purchase of the “product” (which is likely also purchased as a ‘service’).  The product evaluation and selection is still an important role for the partner – however their new services are cloud integration, orchestration and management. Thus it is the relationship with the customer that matters in the cloud world. The partners’ future role will be consulting, advice, suggestions, business process recommendations, transition planning and immediate response when something goes amiss (and it does!).

The vendor side of this equation also values the relationship the partner has with their customer. In a SaaS or cloud model, the vendor isn’t looking for partners to install and configure a solution. They need partners that can sell the solution, drive customer satisfaction and ensure the renewal.  Thus we see the “traditional” VARs – focused on adding value to the reselling motions with design, installation and configuration services – transitioning to a new “VAR” – one focused on the value they foster in their relationships.

November 14, 2011 at 6:03 pm Leave a comment

Pre-sales Prospecting: The New Channel Competency Imperative

Beth Vanni, Vice President
For as long as there have been indirect channels for IT products and services, vendors have sought the attention, investment and loyalty of channel partners for one primary reason — to expand their market reach. The promise of new projects and new customers has been not the only driver in forging vendor/channel partnerships, but it has been a key one. But what combination of competencies makes a solution provider most adept at driving new business, especially for emerging technologies? (more…)

May 11, 2011 at 4:51 pm Leave a comment

Autodesk’s Value-Based Program Comes of Age

Certifications, Specializations and Customer Satisfaction Added to Global Framework

 By Beth Vanni

Autodesk is a company who has fundamentally gone to market through traditional resellers for 30 years — literally.  Case in point, they have nearly 60 partners coming up next quarter who have been authorized resellers for their leading 3D design and engineering software for 25 years or more. Quite an accomplishment in the fast-paced and highly competitive IT market.  Autodesk has achieved as close to a “franchise” model of channel partner as can be, where many of their partners tout them as their primary software platform and singularly focus on selling to the CAE and engineering markets. And, now this $2b software market leader is standardizing their global program structure to provide the consistent, simplified support and enablement resources these some 1,900 partners need to continue to keep pace with the company’s overall growth and portfolio expansion. (more…)

April 15, 2011 at 11:30 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

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

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