09-Mar-2020 10:14 AM
Posted by Prashanth GJ, CEO, Technobind
There was a time when cynics questioned the prospects of technology distribution. Many predicted that traditional IT distribution models will fade away as cloud and other disruptive technologies take center stage. Despite the doubt and drastically changing market dynamics, distribution continued to flourish—still contributing as much as 80 percent of the revenues of most major technology vendors. So distribution models are certainly not under threat. But what distributors should be prepared for instead is “change”. Traditionally, the IT distribution layer has been focusing primarily on aspects like volume and scale, while striving to “sell” as much as possible. That’s clearly changing. Distributors, along with their channel partners, are now expected to ‘solve’ rather than sell. This fundamental shift in the market –something which has been brewing for a few years now—calls for a significant mindset change. Distribution thus needs to go beyond the traditional product focus and emphasize on innovation and new ways of selling.
Enabling the channel for the future
The enterprise channel ecosystem is a highly crowded market today. How does a channel partner stand out from the crowd? This question has been asked over and again to the channel for many years now. And I think the answer lies in ‘how you sell’ rather than ‘what you sell’. Gone are the days when IT decision makers and CIOs bought technology just for the sake of buying it. Conventional sales conversations from the channel typically focused on persuading customers with jargons, tech specifications and the cost.
Two things changed in recent years. The CIO is not a technology procurer anymore. He is a strategic influencer and a business leader. The channel cannot be the quintessential ‘seller’ and the distributor certainly cannot be the ‘order takers’. Their roles have to evolve to focus on solving real problems for their customers. Secondly, the technology buying mechanism within enterprises has completely transformed. Data is at the core of everything an organisation takes up. How that data can be harnessed to arrive at informed decisions---is everybody’s business, and not just the CIO’s. Business leaders are thus very much part of every key technology buying decisions today. While addressing this extended set of technology consumers and buyers within an organisation, channels need to acquire new skills and technical abilities. And that’s where the IT distribution needs to step in.
The traditional definitions of success which is centred largely on volumes and brands need to be rewritten from a distribution point of view. Right from the beginning, this has been our core focus and guiding principle at Technobind. When we first introduced our ‘business use-case’ based approach in the market, the channel fraternity was instantly fascinated. Over the years, we worked with large number of partners to identify specific business pain points of each customer and align technology to address that problem. And together we grew our business and bottom line in a much faster way than what we would have achieved through the traditional distribution approach. In a way, our partners have set a precedent in the market in terms of how technology and the channel in itself can be the problem solver for businesses across verticals. This came out evidently at the recently concluded ISODA (Infotech Software Dealers Association) Tech Summit when we presented the idea to a highly elite audience, which included the top 100+ channel CEOs from the country. The overwhelming response we received for our use-case approach was highly rewarding, to say the least.
Distribution and channel businesses have been going through a sea change in the last one decade. Customers are demanding more from us and will continue to be dynamic in their needs. It’s important to build some unique capabilities to deliver what has been asked from us, while ensuring that all of us remain profitable. In the era of the data-driven enterprise, your ability to add value and address unique pain points across the data lifecycle will help you to be distinctive and sustainable.