A new breed of channel player is emerging to help open doors for overseas vendors whose EMEA expansion plans have been stymied by the recession.
The last six months has witnessed the emergence of several matchmaking outfits – headed up by industry veterans – promising to build bridges between start-up manufacturers and the European channel.
The most recent addition to the fray is IT Euro Partners, a France-based set-up backed by two former EMC channel executives that aims to help US and Asian vendors without the resources to set up a direct presence.
Gill Borniche, marketing director at IT Euro Partners, said the company is currently in discussions with six vendors interested in using its services to establish go-to-market strategies in EMEA. She said: “Few EMEA resellers would know much about some of the vendor prospects we are in discussions with.”
Kay Bruen, formerly the boss of distributor Westcon Security, offers a similar line of services at her consultancy firm, Clipsham IT. She said: “There is a growing appetite from resellers for emerging technologies and that has created a market for firms that can help vendors bridge gaps in the supply chain caused by the recession.”
Launchpad Europe, a matchmaker focusing on launching overseas vendor in Europe, recently announced that it was concentrating its efforts on helping US vendors crack the UK market.
The move, said Launchpad, was taken to help boost levels of “technical innovation” between America and the UK.
John Toal, president of distribution giant Bell Micro, said, despite the recession, UK resellers are always interested in finding out more about new products.
He said: "Resellers are understandably more risk-adverse these days, if they can identify a new product which they can sell to their existing customers - or improve their own service offering with - they’ll always be open to finding out more."
Antony Young, director of IT consultancy Demuto, expressed concerns about the quality of connections forged between overseas vendors and resellers that employ the channel “matchmaker” approach.
He said: “It is important that these companies do not employ a ‘jobs for the boys’ approach by making sure the vendors and resellers they match up are a good fit for each other.”
Keith Humphreys, managing consultant at EuroLAN, added: “There are a lot of clever channel people who have been laid off, looking to put their skills to good use. But what will happen to the vendors when the market recovers and jobs open up in the channel again?”
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