Channel organisations must start changing their businesses to take advantage of the internet and emerging technologies or face extinction within two years.
The channel was criticised by a panel of speakers at a Comdef forum held recently for its complacency in adapting to industry advances and the needs of customers.
Rob Wirsycz, director of alliances at EDS, said: 'The channel has been allowed to be complacent because there has been no significant industry change thus far. But that change will happen soon and channel organisations must be prepared to kill off any parts of their business that cannot adapt.'
Stephen Woodland, chief executive of Claremont Capital, indicated that the channel lacked maturity in developing shrewd business strategies: 'Resellers need to work out what they need to do to drive their business forward. That means examining how and why the business was started and what needs to be done to preserve that charter.'
Woodland reasoned that a migration to services-based business models would necessitate a change in mindset for channel organisations. He told forum delegates: 'Selling services is not like selling products because it involves selling time. That's a difficult thing to do when most companies have never been given the knowledge to do so.'
David Hurley, managing director of Anglia Business Computers, said the majority of Vars were using outdated technologies in their business.
The forum also suggested that channel businesses should focus on niche competencies, rather than trying to provide complete systems.
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