Channel IntelligenceBy Michael Vizard | Posted 2006-04-04 Email Print
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Opinion: Channel companies and vendor partners must approach deal registration much like commanders handle intelligence during a war.Any commander will tell you that the secret to winning any war is to have better intelligence about the battles than your enemy. To do that, you have to have better tools for gathering that intelligence, and in the channel one of those tools is deal registration.
Deal registration is one of those things that everybody acknowledges is for the general good. But because the deal registration process might be abused by overly aggressive inside salespeople or other solution providers seeking to freeze rivals out of accounts, the whole idea of deal registration still gives some people pause.
To alleviate some of those concerns, some vendors have turned to third-party application service providers such as Blue Roads to try to help mitigate some of the perceived trust issues associated with vendors trying to guard the proverbial channel hen house.
For instance, IBM's data on new server deals and Cisco's data on new switch deals could be mutually beneficial to both companies and their partners. It would also help the customer because it would create a source of information that allowed solution providers to be a lot more proactive when it comes to lead generation.
Of course, there are significant boundaries that need to be overcome before companies in the channel can work in concert at this level. And some would even go so far as to say it might never happen given the inherent communications challenges.
But that said, this is one area where the potential of the distribution model remains largely untapped. And in the meantime, Dell and its partners are working toward developing this very type of capability. So if the channel writ large can't find the mechanisms to respond, then Dell is going to increasingly have more intelligence about forthcoming business opportunities than rival solution providers.
Given that, it just might be in the best interest of all concerned for vendors, distributors and solution providers to begin talking about creating their own rival intelligence network because as history shows, it's not the superior force that wins the battle but rather the smarter force.
Michael Vizard is editorial director of Ziff Davis Media's Enterprise Technology group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.