Menu
Enter the age of the warm, fuzzy IT integrator

Enter the age of the warm, fuzzy IT integrator

Your technology integrators want to know what keeps you awake at night. Don't worry; they're not going to offer to sing something soft and soothing over your plain old telephone service line at 3am. But many are taking their consultative capabilities to a whole new level.

Value-added resellers, integrators and others in the indirect sales channel are beginning to get much more in tune with the actual business issues their customers face, as opposed to merely touting the benefits of a particular product to their overall customer base. The reason is this: as technologies become more complex and more tightly interwoven, changes tend to have more far-reaching effects on networks than ever. Thus, getting it right the first time requires a detailed knowledge of how all that technology will be used in the context of a customer's business.

Ultimately, technology is about solving problems. And if I'm going to solve a problem, I need to have a really good idea of what that problem is. So don't be surprised if the sales rep starts asking a lot of nosy questions about how your company does whatever it does, or if the rep wants to talk to other people in your company about how they do particular tasks. By getting this information first, they're trying to do the right thing.

In fairness to my brothers and sisters in the channel, technology has never been something that could be successfully sold in a vacuum without regard for a customer's needs -- at least not by salespeople who cared about their reputations and wanted to build long-term customer relationships.

But the necessity to understand a customer's business needs is quickly rising, and this is a good thing. Differentiation is getting harder and harder to achieve at the lower end of the Open Systems Interconnection stack. And while technology has always been about delivering the application, that's truer than ever. Adding value is increasingly vertical. It's about what you do and how you do it.

For example, not long ago, going to work meant travelling to an office. Next, remote access was a good idea for most people, but we had to plug in a lot of stuff -- open software and so on. Now, I walk into my home office with a cup of coffee, press one button and everything pretty much comes up dynamically. So, how is anybody supposed to offer me anything useful without knowing what I do and how I do it?

The flip side of all this from an owner's or manager's point of view means determining what information and practices you're willing to share, and with whom. Evaluate this in advance. Discuss it with different people in your organization. But recognize that the more information is held close to the vest means an integrator has less opportunity to leverage technology to keep you competitive over time. So to adapt an old cliche that used to pertain to routing and switching: share what you can; protect what you have to.

Ken Presti is research director of IDC's network channels and alliances service


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments