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Most channel providers are happy to sell analytics applications. But very few of them benefit directly from applying analytics to their own operations.

With that issue in mind, the enterprise application vendor Sage Software has been leveraging big data analytics to help channel partners identify new sales opportunities. Now Sage plans to make that capability available to channel partners over the Web. Previously, Sage channel partners could only get access to Sage analytics in consultation with a Sage representative. Joe Langner, executive vice president and general manager for midmarket solutions at Sage, said the next step will be to allow the company’s partners to directly access that application over the Web as part of a larger effort to help partners raise their overall sales and marketing game.

With the recent appointment of Donald Deshaies as vice president of channel management, Langner said Sage is trying to assist its partners in attaining the expertise to help their customers manage their business better, as opposed to simply being viewed as a supplier of software. The end goal, said Langner, is to teach channel partners to show customers how various applications in the Sage portfolio can be used to either improve their bottom lines or increase revenues.

In effect, Sage is combining analytics with business consulting to create increased demand for its software. Langner said the analytics application that Sage developed for its channel partners has already led to a 40 percent increase in the number of applications being sold to a specific customers and a 15 percent increase in new customers.

At this point, there’s no doubt that analytics will be used to transform sales. It’s not exactly rocket science either. A report, for example, about the construction of a new warehouse indicates that a company is probably expanding. That event should spark a need for all kinds of IT services. With advances in analytics, that event can now be easily discovered, which creates a new opportunity for the lucky channel partner that gets informed about that event first.

The challenge analytics creates for the channel is figuring which vendors are in the lead in applying those capabilities to the benefit of their partners. Channel partners will likely want to stay close to the vendors that master analytics first. The reason? At least until everyone masters this capability, those vendors are going to be the ones generating not only the most leads, but more importantly, the ones that result in an actual sale.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.