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A new channel has emerged, but are you in it?

James Henderson | June 13, 2017
Non-traditional vendors and partners have established a beachhead in the market, threatening the status quo of the ecosystem.

And there's truth to it, with Redmond's soaring number of partners now offering extraordinary presence in the global market, creating almost automatic demand.

"There is a second lesson here as well," Utzinger added. "Dell also lost its market leadership because they simply lost track of innovation.

"Because of their sales strategy, they didn't understand their need for innovation. Without channel partners and their feedback, Dell had become disconnected from the market."

New channel

Fast forward 60 years on from Getty's heyday and the value of selling partnerships once again carries weight in the context of the channel in 2017.

Today, and according to World Trade Organisation figures, about 75 per cent of all world trade flows through indirect channels, with as many as 20 to 50 million reselling businesses worldwide.

Why? Because indirect selling is back in vogue, as manufacturers realise that Rome wasn't built in a day.

Instead, and as the age-old adage attests, they were laying bricks every hour, with such a sentiment playing out in the technology numbers today.

According to Global Technology Distribution Council research, 61.8 per cent of vendor channel executives believe indirect sales will grow more rapidly than direct within the next 12 months.

In surveying over 70 leading chiefs across the technology industry, 12.7 per cent of vendors align with being 100 per cent indirect, "with no plans on going direct".

But while the channel remains strong, it's not the conventional channel that the industry created.

"The channel is at an inflection point," CompTIA senior vice president of research and market intelligence Tim Herbert observed. "New business models and alternative routes to market for technology are proliferating.

"And a growing number of non-IT line-of-business buyers are flexing their spending muscle and forcing the channel to rethink sales and marketing messaging and shift how they do business - and in many cases, with whom."

Outlined in CompTIA's 2017 IT Industry Outlook report, Herbert said new faces in the channel are testing traditional go-to-market approaches, as the ecosystem across the world evolves at a rapid rate.

Triggered by the rise of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), emerging technologies and changing business models, the channel is on the move to a new world, a world defined by different rules.

"And let's not stop there," he added. "Last year ushered in the rise of non-traditional partner types such as digital marketing agencies and an army of SaaS-based resellers.

"These companies are establishing their own beachhead in the channel and quickly expanding the competitive landscape."

Despite exact numbers remaining elusive at present, Herbert considered alone that more than 100,000 SaaS partners attended Salesforce's Dreamforce conference in 2016 - "you get the picture."


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