So often, managing directors will say their firms are 'focusing on core business, going back to basics or exploiting core competence'.
It all means the same thing - they're getting rid of the parts of their organisations that don't work or don't make money.
Whether it's Hanson Industries, Granada, NatWest or Barclays, some of the biggest firms in the country have been doing it. In the IT sector, we've seen P&P selling off its PC division, SCC selling its loss-making superstore chain to Dixons Stores Group and SHL moving out of box shifting.
So what's my point? Well, from an IT channel perspective, these are signs of the industry growing up and realising that every reseller, dealer and Var just cannot be a Jack of all trades. The IT sector is so diverse that resellers can't hope to cover all the different hardware and software technologies - let alone all the supporting services that surround them.
During my time in the channel, I have seen resellers consistently trying to be all things to all people. But perhaps the time has come to recognise that, bar a few exceptions, resellers need to get niche, rather than racing to get big, or face the embarrassment of being out.
But getting niche doesn't mean you have to miss out on opportunities that you would traditionally capitalise on. It's just a matter of selecting your service partners carefully and providing robust project management skills to pull all the elements together.
It seems partnering is the way forward and the engagements we've made to date have all proved it's a viable proposition. Yes, it does take a little thought and planning, but it doesn't require 40-page legal agreements drawn up by corporate lawyers at #200 an hour. Inevitably, the three parties (customer, reseller and partner) are aiming for a win-win outcome and it's surprisingly easy to achieve. In fact, you've probably been doing something like it successfully for years in other areas of your organisation like courier deliveries, office cleaning, security and catering.
So, pick some other areas of your business where you're weak or you don't have the time to develop specific skills and go on the hunt for a partner who can help you improve your customer service. A classic example of this is in the area of software development. Let's face it, there aren't many corporate IT resellers that know a great deal about it. This may be that in the past it was always an area populated with fallouts from Wayne's World and whose idea of bad language was missing a semicolon from a line of program code.
But things have changed. There are still those who carry superfluous writing implements in their top pockets, but with custom software development being made increasingly easy, it's no longer the sole preserve of propeller man or Brainus Maximus, to give them their proper Latin name.
Another area we have recognised is that of the Web. It seems everyone has, or is in the process of getting, a Website, but what are they doing with it? The chances are, not a lot. It's probably a repository for some fairly standard, in other words dull, information.
We realised we didn't have a lot of experience of developing Websites into really useful business tools - something which our customers were wanting - so we went looking for a company that did, and found one.
Now we've got a network of partners with complementary skills that vastly increase our service offering while improving our customer control and penetration. The reaction from customers has been superb. They like the idea of us bringing in additional specialists and are only concerned with their project specifications being met on time and within budget - something IT hasn't got a good name for - but that's another story.
Tim Hall is marketing director of Bytes Technology Group.
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