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IT vendors across the spectrum are adjusting their channel programs to be able to better manage solution provider programs on a truly global scale. Case in point is Trend Micro, which late last month announced a new global channel program.

The program is aimed at rationalizing the disparate Trend Micro channel programs that have evolved in different regions over time, according to Partha Panda, vice president of global channels and strategic alliances for Trend Micro. As Trend Micro finds itself going to market more in partnership with other vendors, the company needs to employ a more consistent set of channel programs across the globe, he said.

For solution providers that operate across multiple regions, that’s good news. Trying to navigate channel programs that have nuances that only apply in certain geographies is a major headache. The downside, however, is that it’s now going to be a lot harder to get vendors to create special programs that only apply to a particular region or type of solution provider.

In the age of the cloud, the pressure is on channel chiefs to come up with programs that can scale at a time when customers can more easily access IT offerings that are centrally delivered via a handful of data centers, Panda said.

More often than not, the vendors that Trend Micro partners with on security are going to be delivering IT services out of data centers where Trend Micro security products and services are deployed. After all, if the security application runs in another data center, it will slow to a crawl.

The end result of all this globalization and centralization is going to be a vastly different channel in the years ahead. The upside is the channel as a whole is now a much bigger ecosystem. The bad news is that expansion is likely to come at the cost of some local touch.

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.