It’s not often that I can compare the UK IT channel with politics on the international stage.
But last week proved how quickly relationships, be them business, personal or political can change, simply because of circumstances that usually involved arrogance on one side or the other.
Russia’s president Putin and US president George Bush last week almost came to blows over some highly volatile discussion points. The trust between the two countries, which was tentative to say the least, has finally crumbled under both leaders’ failure to work together.
Trust is an essential, if not fundamental part of any relationship, be that between countries, companies or people. When that trust is destroyed, or in both Bush and Putin’s case nuked by arrogance, then the relationship breaks down.
When the arrogance leads a person, firm or country to believe they can do everything in splendid isolation – that is when they find out that in fact, they can’t. It is also when relationships break down completely.
Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Dell are prime examples of this; HP believed it could manage by taking deals direct – causing massive mistrust in the channel. As a result the vendor has spent the past two years attempting to rebuild that trust. Dell of course has committed the biggest strategic U-Turn in channel history, after realising that it couldn’t go it alone.
Dell still has time to make a success of its strategy by stating clearly what it wants from its relationship with VARs, HP, we would hope has learnt from its mistake. They are by no means alone. Mitel, which recently axed all of its distributors has hit back at speculation it may be wobbling on its direct-touch island.
Channel strategies are based on a united trust between companies and to prevent this trust from breaking down and deteriorating into a war of words or rebates, vendors must ensure that clear, honest and less arrogant strategies are adopted.
Sara Driscoll is editor of CRN.
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