The Role of the Partner is Changing
The channel ecosystems and industry continue to grapple with the shifting paradigms brought on by the move to remote work. Partners are working harder than ever to arm their customers with the solutions and services they need to adjust to a changing workforce. This includes adapting to operational (and complicated) compliance mandates and evolving end-user security needs. Simultaneously, they are working to implement the same or similar changes to their own businesses.
Indeed, partner asks and needs have changed, but so have their asks from their vendor partners. Outdated processes that weren’t ideal but were at least functional now have to be readdressed and redefined entirely. Partners are now being forced into a rapid evolution of vital business models and service offerings, whether they’re ready.
The Silver Lining
Despite overwhelming and unpredictable odds, the channel thrived during the pandemic. As end-user service needs rapidly exploded, IT services were in a unique category of their own, acting as “essential businesses” across all categories and industries. However, even with this unexpected industry boom and heightened importance, partners struggle to adjust. In a recent survey conducted by Allbound in conjunction with JS Group, 188 channel professionals provided insights into how the last 24 months have changed the future of work for their organization.
Clients’ Needs vs. New Business
Here’s the rub; It’s pretty tough to focus on growth strategies when employees are struggling to meet existing clients’ needs. There is also the issue of leadership’s focus being pulled in many different (and new) directions – primarily concerning maintaining service levels but not being able to dedicate time to optimizing the business. The risk here is being rendered inefficient and eventually obsolete. Partners who adjust at faster, more efficient rates can easily leave vendor organizations that are slower to pivot in the dust. Even those who have seized the opportunity and are flourishing in the face of adversity are being met with challenges that require a rethinking of business and service operations. So, where are partners struggling, and where could they use help?
New Business Model Pain Points
It all boils down to this: Solution providers need to think ahead, be agile, and evolve their business models quickly in this new hybrid work environment. The issue in these scenarios is the likely discrepancies between sales and revenue. Causing a myriad of problems, primarily that partners are left somewhat in the dark regarding profit margins.
Disappointing results, which cannot be blamed on disappointing revenue, most likely stem from inefficient business and technical processes. These can drag down an organization and thwart profitability, says Carolyn April, senior director of industry analysis at CompTIA. It’s a problem that trips up many companies today and will only get trickier as firms migrate to new business models. Thinking about the sheer volume of businesses that have undergone or are undergoing a high degree of business transformation in recent years, perhaps it’s time to put operational efficiency under a magnifying glass to maximize profits and take full advantage of the emerging digital economy.
Increasing efficiency is something every company should strive for, especially now, as it can be vital in improving company profits. Quite simply, this means you can take less time to do things or can do more within the same amount of time. Greater operational efficiency can help partners maintain margins and keep their customers happy.
Utilizing Automation to Streamline Company Growth
The more automated processes you have, the quicker you can move.
In many organizations, processes are still not automated. Employees juggle complex applications and computers, often manually extracting information from one application and then validating and applying it to another. One key thing that partners are now demanding from vendors is increased API integrations to automate those functions, eliminating the need for back and forth. In the aforementioned survey, partners reported that their organizations implemented several processes and tools to control costs and increase operational efficiencies over the last 20 months.
- Marketing automation (46%)
- Sales automation (34%)
- Increased automation of back-office processes (33%)
- PRM (32%)
- PSA (32%)
The survey also asked what partners wanted to see more of from vendors regarding technology during the last 20 months and found:
- 37% of survey respondents mentioned improved PRM functionality, including deal registration processes
- 25% said enhanced remote monitoring and management (RMM) functionality to manage work-from-anywhere end users
This survey illustrates that partners need additional, robust training and education from vendors, boosted sales and marketing enablement, and technical resources to meet these challenges. This e-book will explore automation and how it equates to operational efficiencies, what channel professionals want from vendor training, providing adequate training for partners/marketing enablement tools, and more.
A few more highlights from the data include:
- Why solution providers need to evolve their business models quickly in terms of automated processes and agility.
- Why proper and seamless partner training is essential.
- Why simple marketing enablement tools are essential from a vendor standpoint.