Channel businesses are adapting to new paradigms
The introduction of a new format of channel programme by a major IT vendor demonstrates a need to keep adapting to evolving channel structures.
"The customer is king" is an old business maxim, yet this timeless truth continues to be relevant even in the face of relentless technological advancement.
The IT channel makes no exception to this sentiment. In the interests of business survival, channel partners are reacting to a changing IT landscape by evolving according to their customers' technology needs.
The rise of cloud, managed service providers, software as a service and electronic software downloads are all factors which are making channel partners adapt their own business models to accommodate these new technologies.
Riverbed Rise: aligning with a changing IT landscape
A great example of this is the launch of Riverbed Rise, an innovative new channel partner programme which is said to align with the changing IT landscape.
With the new programme, Riverbed is moving away from a traditional, compliance-based programme with rewards tied to certifications and revenue that needed heavy up-front and ongoing investment by partners to maintain compliance and tier status, and shifting to a new performance-based programme that is designed to reward all types of partners, business models and various customer technology consumption preferences.
Riverbed is moving away from a traditional, compliance-based programme, and shifting to a new performance-based programme.
The Riverbed partner programme is said to be aligned to its new sales strategy, and will work more closely with partners to acquire new customers, and drive account penetration with new technologies and flexible consumption models.
According to Bridget Bisnette, Vice President, Global Channels and Commercial Sales at Riverbed, "The transformation in the IT industry is being affected by changing customer expectations. Business models, sales processes and certification models, among many other things, are being impacted. This is going to be a very good thing for our industry because it shifts the focus to customer success and customer lifetime value."
The rise of hyperscale cloud providers
One of the major factors in the channel industry transformation currently is the rise of hyperscale cloud providers, like AWS and Azure. In an interview with Jeff von Deylen, the CEO of Ensono, mentioned that AWS and Microsoft's success in providing very high-quality infrastructure solutions has been reflected in the number companies using services like those to take advantage of agility and financial flexibility.
This has in turn had a knock-on effect on the channel, as VADs and VARs scramble to accommodate these new paradigms within their existing distribution models. New business models like cloud service brokerages have sprung up as distributors attempt to play to their strengths, aggregating their existing vendor agreements and tapping their extensive distribution networks.
VADs and VARs are scrambling to accommodate new channel paradigms within their existing business models.
Specialist businesses too are muscling in on traditional distributor business areas. Managed service providers are identifying business niches and offering highly targeted products and services with real customer appeal. Their small size allows them to adapt to not only over-arching business trends, but to the needs of their customers as well.
As a recent ChannelWatch survey revealed, the channel is going through changes currently. The introduction of Riverbed's new channel partner programme is a welcome sign from a world-leading vendor that it is willing to change with it. Channel partners would do well to take note, and relook their existing channel programmes accordingly.