It’s been a minute or so since I returned from TSW and I have to say, Anne McClelland’s inaugural track on Emerging Channel Optimization Challenges in XaaS was on fire. Channel Impact was proud to be immersed in the track and all things channel – on stage and on the show floor. We spent our time connecting like-minded leaders, offering guidance on navigating the changing market, and helping set the tone for what we can expect to see in the channel of the future.
The overall TSW vibe was electric. All the notable channel discussions we described last month went off as planned, and the conversations they generated were even better than anticipated as a highly engaged group of channel leaders came together. Everyone was on the same page with regard to the service-driven economy, the essential role of today’s empowered partners, and the requirement for vendors to bring their partners along on the journey to ensure customer success.
Anne’s track couldn’t have come at a better time. A recent Forbes article underscores the importance of partners, quoting Forrester as saying that “upward of 70% of global revenue comes from third-party channels,” with partners playing a key role in shaping the customer experience. The article goes on to say that most organizations “have been slow to make the link between partner experience and customer experience.” But that is changing, thanks to next-generation channel leaders who are prioritizing the partner like never before. I had the opportunity to catch up with a few of these leaders after TSW and here’s what they had to say:
- Roger Farnsworth, Global Lead, Device as a Service (DaaS), HP: On the heels of winning the 2019 TSIA STAR award for “Innovation in Customer Success” at TSW, Roger noted the importance of uniting together as an industry to make partner transformation possible. “Transformation isn’t going to happen overnight. It was good to see so many of our channel peers at TSW – the show of force in Anne’s track in particular was outstanding. At HP, we’re focused on giving our partners a strong foundation and creating a methodology that will enable them to better navigate business model change as they move forward in the XaaS world. Our efforts are paying off and we were proud to share our strategies and play a role in Anne’s track.”
- Rui Teixeira, Global Director, Partner Model, Customer Experience, Cisco: Cisco’s STAR-power is well known, with the company earning more than 30 wins since the STAR Awards inception in 1990, including this year’s award for “Enabling Customer Outcomes – Professional Services.” Rui noted that the Channel Optimization track was a powerful proof point that the channel community is transforming right before our eyes. “It was invigorating to see so many channel-focused leaders all in one place, sharing their passion for partner success and customer experience (CX). As Cisco has led the way with putting our customers at the heart of everything we do with our partners, it is gratifying to see the entire industry move toward adapting their business models in line with the changing market. As we all know, together we win when CX and lifecycle are a top priority,” he said.
- Eileen Gibson, VP, Market Management & Strategy, Tech Data: Like all of us, Eileen agreed that Anne’s track was on point and a very welcome addition to TSW. She commented to me that “the big topic of discussion was that a massive transformation needs to take place across the partner landscape. The way I see it, scaling the behavior of a channel comprised of a very diverse set of multi-branded solution providers – all evolving at a different pace – is one of our biggest challenges. You can’t take a one-size- fits-all approach. That’s where distribution companies like Tech Data come in: we’re all about scale and resources. My proposition to vendors is to re-think how they engage their distribution partners in light of our ability to support solution providers and accelerate their transformation.”
The icing on the cake was my talk with nVision Consulting Group Founder and Managing Director Robert Saxe, which was well attended even at 8:30a.m. on the final day – ouch! It felt more like a gathering of close friends and colleagues than a presentation. We covered how top vendors are reimagining and modernizing their business, operational, and go-to-market models – adopting a full lifecycle strategy and engagement framework that puts partners at the forefront to set the stage for their success.
New TSIA Vendor Research on Partner Priorities Now Available
As we closed the door on another TSW, I left feeling energized about new channel friendships and excited about what’s next in channel optimization and transformation. Anne McClelland already has her crystal ball in motion. She has new research that shows that although XaaS through partners is now low, vendors who overcome these top challenges will see it grow:
- A need for greater clarity in the roles owned by vendors vs. partners
- Clear rules of engagement so that partners can understand where their value can be optimized with customers
- Knowing how and when to recruit new XaaS partners, or enable and transform the ones they already have
- Building partner profit and value into offers to streamline partner success
Go here for a sampling of the research and find out how your partner initiatives stack up. If you’d like to discuss the full survey and get more information on Anne’s practice, you can reach her via email here.
This is just the beginning and we’re all looking forward to taking all of the new relationships we made at TSW to the next level. If you were at the event, or even if you weren’t, ping me if you’d like to chat about what’s next in channel transformation.