Changing Channels?By Michael Vizard | Posted 2006-05-09 Email Print
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Opinion:With the ongoing convergence between the channel and the telco world, it's time vendors change their channel management approaches.Given the general move toward services of all types and stripes in the channel, you can't help but wonder if the channel management techniques used by most vendors today are rapidly becoming obsolete.
Vendors have always tended to treat resellers as a breed apart from service providers. This typically resulted in a lot of conflict because resellers would find themselves in competition with service providers, who most often were telcos, that typically wanted to give away the box to gain the ongoing service revenue.
Today, many solution providers have begun to emulate that model with managed services, applications services and, of course, new-fangled hardware-as-a-service models that are also known as leasing.
Given all this, now is the time for vendors to be thinking about reducing their channel management overhead by creating a single unified channel program that ultimately would make sure that there is a more level playing field across all the converging constituencies in the channel.
No doubt this is a big job fraught with all kinds of change that is usually received negatively, but in the long run channel chiefs need to make sure that the channel runs in the most efficient ways possible because otherwise solution providers will find themselves artificially at a disadvantage compared with other routes to market.
None of this has to happen overnight, and maybe the best thing a vendor can do is to throw elements of all its channel constituencies in a room and see what happens. After all, as various channels continue to converge, the best thing to remember is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Michael Vizard is editorial director of Ziff Davis Media's Enterprise Technology group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.