In business, they say, 'it's not what you know, it's who you know'. That may be good for personal advancement but it is no longer true for IT companies in this fast-moving industry. Limiting yourself to who you know can restrict the possibilities of finding new and innovative technologies. Yet, according to recent research from Channeliser, that's exactly the approach many IT companies are still taking.
We live in an increasingly connected world. Today's business success is about collaboration and co-operation as much as competition. The Channeliser IT Partnership Survey 2017 set out to examine the current state of partnering in the IT industry.
We wanted to examine key challenges that companies were facing with partnering and how they were meeting those challenges.
The top-level results were, perhaps, as we would have expected. Of those surveyed, 85 per cent were looking to work with new partners within the next two years. For 60 per cent of respondents, that timescale was sooner, in under six months. The issues really started when we looked at how IT companies went about identifying and recruiting new partners.
The results were remarkably similar in the IT vendor and IT reseller communities. In both cases, the primary approaches were to use their own existing business networks and word of mouth.
The survey also found that trust was, by far, the most important factor for respondents when it came to building partner-to-partner relationships. So staying within your own tried and tested communities may seem like a natural approach. However, for companies that need agility and flexibility to seize new market opportunities, it is potentially limiting.
The purpose of modern partnerships is to build capabilities - whether new technical skills, complementary solutions, new market experience or geographical reach. It is clear that in many of those cases, your own network can easily become an echo chamber populated by companies with very similar experiences and contacts.
IT companies need a way to quickly and cost-effectively locate and engage with partners. IT resellers responded that many of their customer requirements necessitate that they partner with complementary companies to provide the total solution.
The survey highlighted that most vendor portals are failing to meet this challenge as they are old fashioned; with only 20 per cent of vendors reporting that they were completely satisfied with the capabilities of their portals. It was also noted that proprietary portals do not provide an independent view of all the solutions available within a global IT industry.
Jacqui Rand is director of Channeliser
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