Shifting Focal Points

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

A new report from Forrester Research breaks down the ISV channel partner programs of Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, IBM and Salesforce.com.

Vendors who focus on Build tend to offer more technical training, certification, hosted sandboxes for development and testing, plus access to technical staff and other support.

Those with a Market focus allow partners to leverage their vendor's marketing infrastructure and expertise to open new markets, Adrian writes in his report. Sell helps ISV partners with demand connections to local sales resources and potentially offers joint sales, terms for revenue sharing, deal registration, technical sales support and solution centers for prospects to visit. The Manage entry point looks at joint vendor/partner planning, and tying program investment to partner results.

The report also looks at the structure of the programs, whether or not there are fees or required certifications attached, which vendors offer different forms of support, deal registration, and other investments, and whether there are minimums for being a part of the program.

For example, the Oracle program is the only one that requires partners to pay a $1,995 fee to join, but other programs may require partners to spend money on certifications. Microsoft's requires that partners pay $1,450 to become certified. Salesforce.com requires $5,000 to publish an application on AppExchange.

Adrian also reports that two vendors provided information about their percentage of indirect revenues, with Microsoft deriving 95 percent of revenue from indirect sales and SAP 20 percent.  Other vendors did not report numbers.

"There's no question that the more any of these vendors expect their revenue streams to come from indirect channels will be affected by how well they recruit and retain partners," Adrian says. "Historically there has been a pendulum swing in a lot of these companies. You invest in partners for a few years, but sustaining that for a long period of time -- it doesn't always get sustained senior management attention."

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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