Technology vendors are making their solutions increasingly easy to deploy for customers. This creates a new challenge for partners, who must differentiate themselves on something other than just basic implementation.
Gone are the days where channel partners were able to simple deploy technology. There is nothing special about installing hardware and software components anymore and technology vendors are making it increasingly easy to deploy their products.
This leaves many customers asking the question: if I can install this myself, what do I need you for?
And the answer is simple: services. But it does require more effort from the partner than just installing technology. Or simply reselling, which is challenged by an overly competitive and flooded market that is dominated by a handful of large companies. You may be able to differentiate yourself in terms of pricing, but without a decent service offering customers don’t really care. And they’re willing to pay more for a solution that is better supported and customised to meet their needs.
Selling services outside of deployment is a new game for many partners, and not one they’re keen to get into given the complexities involved. But from a business perspective selling services makes good sense. For one, this alleviates some of the business pressure associated with reselling physical technology. Margins are very good with services too.
But it does mean having the skills in the company to provide the services, and accurately defining offerings that customers actually need. In this regard the ease of implementation of modern technology solutions is a good thing for partners, because it allows them to get the installation phase out of the way and start delivering services to the customer sooner, showing value more rapidly by doing so.
It is a given that technology will be up and running these days. What customers are more worried about is whether or not they are able to effectively use the infrastructure they buy, that they have made the right decision in buying it, and whether or not the business will extract maximum value from it.
As a provider of technology services surrounding support, training and maintenance, these are needs that partners are able to fulfil for customers. The role of the partner has evolved, and in evolution only the fittest survive.