According to IDC, the Electronic Software Delivery (ESD) market will grow around 30 per cent through 2009. Users are getting more comfortable with online downloads and often expect to be able to do so.
ESD is often viewed as the fastest and most cost effective method. But is not unsurprising if many in the channel may see this as a negative development.
After all, ESD removes the need for the handling, packaging and shipping of software, a key area for channel profits.
While this issue warrants consideration, the opportunities that ESD brings partners far outweigh the threats. Vendor and partner relationships should not change but be enhanced.
Firstly, since you do not need to send expensive freight around the globe, the overall process becomes more streamlined and cost savings can be achieved. Channel partners may reduce their business overheads in a threatening financial climate.
Vendors insist it will complement them as products are made available via ESD to their own customers.
For example, once ESD is established, more time can be spent with partners discussing how to develop the business rather than focusing on logistical challenges – especially at peak times such as the end of a quarter.
Secondly, ESD is faster. It also allows for a faster sales process, enabling a greater volume of transactions.
Thirdly, not shipping software should mean lower carbon emissions. ESD can potentially provide that additional benefit of helping to reduce companies’ overall carbon footprint.
Partners and vendors that embrace their network should not be threatened by any move to ESD.
There is a big danger in the company that sees ESD merely as an opportunity to save margin. Hostile market conditions would need to be fought solely by the vendor. The “stickiness” that partners can offer may prove invaluable when the going gets tough.
Nigel Brown is international vice-president and general manager of Embarcadero Technologies
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