CXOs need partners for technology, not vendors

by p b    Jun 08, 2011

Anurag Agrawal

Dear Friends,
CXOToday will bring experts and experienced professionals who will write regular columns and share their perspective on technology and how it impacts their business. We introduce Anurag Agrawal, a veteran industry analyst and market research professional for the technology industry. He will share his research insights in “Anurag’s Corner” on the intersection of business and technology. Enjoy reading and please share your feedback.


Cloud Computing, Mobility and Managed Services solutions are redefining how different businesses consume technology! Channel partners cater to those needs. CXOs are increasingly adopting these three technologies, combined with applications that allow work from anywhere and anytime.

Why should CXOs focus on channels rather than technologies? The answer is really very simple. CXOs of SMBs and Enterprises mostly want integrated solutions to limit complexity both in type of solution and management of multiple vendors and partners. They therefore are seeking channel partners that are capable of such deliverables. Unfortunately very few channel partners currently do so – both in emerging markets and established markets - as they are all camped in either one or two solution corners and few seem to embrace a holistic solution view.

SMBs are getting unsure of overall benefits and desire to spend. ROI (return on investment)) and TCO (total cost of ownership) terminologies get talked about but vendors and channels really do not have a very practical model for justification in mobile and cloud applications. Both the technologies are very nascent in their adoption.

Broad/solution IT vendors with large partner networks such as Cisco, HP, IBM, Dell, SAP and others should evaluate their partners, seek and cluster partners based on where they are with regards to capabilities of delivering complete solutions and introduce programs to support development.

On the other hand single product vendors should identify the most complementary niche solution deployments and target to build strategic partnerships at program level to deliver holistic and easy competence and products.

Especially in the India market where channels are evolving rapidly, resellers should look at their core skills, financial muscle and assets to check if they are capable of developing a market accepted value proposition encompassing all three key areas or seek collaborative relationships with other partners in areas they are weak. Here, vendors can also help in partnerships.

Interesting times bring interesting challenges for CXOs. Value added resellers or VARs, independent software vendors or ISVs and Service Providers are going gung ho in providing Cloud Computing solutions but are specializing in different areas. ISVs are largely focusing on delivering hosted software platforms while VARs and service providers tend to focus on infrastructure and business productivity services such as storage, security, backup and CRM (customer relationship management), reflecting current nascent demand for Cloud Computing. And the problem is that a CXO with limited manpower and expertise has to deal with different partners for different solutions that mostly do not “integrate” with each other creating unnecessary IT overheads.

Additionally, CXOs want relevancy demanding that their channel partners grow in scale focus on delivering Cloud based solutions that are related to their vertical industry solutions. In order to accomplish this, VARs need to go beyond technology and understand the dynamics of industries their customers are part of. They need to become industry subject matter experts. The only course for channel partners and vendors is to find the optimal intersection of the three services that will define the next channel landscape for today’s CXO.

Anurag Agrawal

Anurag Agrawal is the CEO of Techaisle, a global market research and consulting company focused on SMBs and Channels. Prior to Techaisle, Anurag headed Gartner’s Worldwide Research Operations and before that was with IDC.