‘What do you get for the man that has everything?,' runs the truistic rhetorical question. The men (and women) of the channel may be known as a fairly well-heeled bunch, but surely that doesn't mean they don't long to open a lovingly chosen gift on Christmas morning that they didn't even realise how much they wanted?
We wanted to find out exactly what a range of channel executives want for both themselves and their businesses this festive season. Read some of their responses below.
Robert Rutherford, managing director of support and services firm QuoStar Solutions, feels the channel could benefit from more c-level executives cultivating a better grasp of technology.
"Board rooms are full of extremely capable people with an in-depth knowledge of finance, sales, operations and marketing, but surprisingly empty of knowledge about the beating heart of their business - the technology, processes and systems," he said. "It's a pretty scandalous situation. My life would certainly be made a lot easier if IT education at board level was taken seriously."
And the QuoStar boss doesn't ask for much in his Christmas stocking this year.
"What I'd really like for Christmas is to stop seeing phrases like ‘BYOD' and ‘big data' scattered over every communication I receive," he explained.
Robert - we can assure you you're not the only one.
Kimberly King, vice President, global partners and channels at Progress Software, wants the IT industry as a whole to get used to the fact that the old-school reseller model is on the way out.
"I would like the industry and other channel executives to realise that the market has shifted," she said. "We need to drive programmes around the new channel model. Long gone are the days of straight up resellers. SPs and ISVs are the new dimension, and the faster we can all move in that direction, the better off we all will be."
And the channel chief has a practical request for what she wants to find under the tree come the 25th.
"I would like a new set of Tumi luggage for all the traveling I do visiting partners around the globe," she said.
Kevin Percy, UK business development manager at data encryption vendor DESlock, believes that the channel can expect a better year next time after "an indifferent 2012 for everyone". In a stirring mental image, Percy calls on channel leaders to be "Spartans" leading their partners into battle.
"What would help in my particular product set is legislation that has been implemented by the Government and other bodies [being] be adhered to by the end user," he added. "That said, the only way that will happen is support from the various governing bodies being more insistent with the end user and educating them on the importance of why the rules are set in the first place."
After a tough year, this battle-weary channel warrior would just like "a holiday" for Christmas
"But I would be just as happy with a turkey sandwich and a glass of bubbly as long as I am with my family," he added.
Karlton St James, NEMEA channel director at Imperva, "wants Santa to bring more vendor consolidation".
"In theory, snapping up specialist security technology provides large broadline vendors with a wider addressable market, greater partner expansion, and an increased portfolio for customers," he explained. "In reality, this provides the remaining specialists partners in the space the opportunity to showcase specialisation, present customers with specialist knowledge addressing core use-cases, and provide true value via credible ongoing customer support."
And the security channel bigwig is another family man who wants nothing more than to spend the festive season with his nearest dearest. Keen chef St James added that he takes his Christmas inspiration from a TV icon.
"As a father who does all the cooking and, as is part of a very large Jamaican/Irish family, I want the perfect Bill Cosby Christmas - minus the dodgy jumpers," he said.
Martin Fairman, UK and Ireland channel, SMB and retail director at Lexmark, explained that the print vendor's channel partners have "found themselves in a very crowded and commoditised space" in recent years. He calls on the channel to lead the innovation charge to enjoy success next year.
"Innovation will help us all to achieve our resolutions in the new year, bringing improved financial performance, mitigating risk and ensuring future flexibility," he said "In short, the message we are sending to our partners this Christmas is simple: 2012 undoubtedly presented challenges, so in 2013 our channel family's renewed mantra is 'innovate to accumulate'."
Meanwhile the channel daredevil reveals that what he really wants for Christmas is "sky-diving lessons".
We on ChannelWeb are not quite sure how the idea of sky-diving lessons works - presumably there's not a lot of room for trial and error?
Richard Jenkins, vice president of marketing at RF Code, claimed that the key question for channel partners next year "is ‘what can decrease the sales cycles?', rather than ‘what can increase demand?'".
"Vendors need to provide products and services that quickly prove financial value to the customer and enable partners to expand their services footprint in the client's most critical infrastructure," he added.
But the marketing boss sounds like he's no fan of winter, revealing that what he really wants for Christmas is "a picture of a sun-drenched, English countryside - to bring back memories of what that looks like!".
That "and phone that actually fits in my pocket". Perhaps it's time to ditch the 1980s housebrick for a swizzy new smartphone?
Speaking of which, Andrew Mulholland UK business solutions and marketing manager at D-Link, wants an iPhone 5 from Christmas, "as my iPhone 4 already feels somewhat dated!"
The networking exec also wants to see more of his firm's channel base get involved in IP surveillance next year.
"As everything these days is IP, it also gives resellers the opportunity to enter into sales conversations regarding a whole host of other networking technologies including storage, wireless and switching," he explained.
Meanwhile in distieland, Dave Ellis, director of new technology and services at Computerlinks, wants vendors to show the love for their most committed channel partners next year.
"I'd like to see all vendors show loyalty to those channel players that are adding real value for them," he said. "The channel works really hard to bring technologies to the market and so it would be good to see vendors offering real incentives for successful channel partners."
The security exec adds that, for his Christmas present, "a golf club that hits the ball straight would be good". We won't remind of that saying about a bad workman, Dave.
Gordon Innocent, chairman of audiovisual distributor RGB Communications, wants to see the government help UK plc out with some business-friendly legislation next year.
"I would like to see the government divert more of their budget to encourage business growth, hence more tax income and lower benefit payments from lower unemployment," he said. "[I would also like to see] a two-year lower NI contribution for new posts created during 2012 and greater tax relief on investment in IT."
But it sounds lie the distribution exec is used to not getting what he wants - especially at Christmas.
"From my perspective, what I want for Christmas is a present I actually wanted from all my relatives," he lamented.
John Antunes, director of SME and channels at SAP UK and Ireland, is setting his heights a little higher, explaining that "it's a difficult one but probably a Microsoft Surface" is what he wants for Crimbo this year.
And the software channel boss wants to see resellers focus more on specialisation next year.
"As vendors continue to innovate and market changing technologies continue to evolve, partners with specific skillsets add value to the ecosystem - we can rely upon key channel partners to deliver a dedicated message and service to end users," he said.
Whatever you want for Christmas, and whether you receive or not, we wish all of our readers a happy and peaceful Christmas and a prosperous new year.
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