In the past few months, security vulnerabilities have seen many CIOs asking the channel for advice and support.
From the conversations I've had, it strikes me that there are many companies struggling to manage a technology debt – where IT directors plan to buy the latest versions of applications as they are released, but cannot.
They may find their plans vetoed by the board in favour of "sexier" IT projects. This leaves them managing technology that becomes outmoded, unsupported and susceptible to attack.
Some people have suggested enforcing readiness with new laws, but this is impractical, especially when industry is already so heavily regulated.
The answer is to take a different IT investment approach to balance sustainability projects with strategic programmes.
CIOs are looking for clear and concise advice that allows them to build a robust plan and receive full backing from the board to deliver capabilities that are not only essential today but flexible and scaleable enough for tomorrow.
Above all, the advice given needs to outline what will happen if compromises are made, being abundantly clear about the level of exposure created if plans are downgraded or shelved.
From desktop security to network security, through cloud applications to storage, it's a gift to the channel partner that is willing to change how it presents its products and services and invest in its own capability.
The channel must consider how it can provide consultancy by strengthening partnerships and focusing expertise on producing well-structured, compelling arguments, based on experience and insight rather than fear.
Coaching and training can develop in-house staff expertise that can underpin a new venture. As counterintuitive as it may seem, it's going to be essential to equip sales teams with the skills that allow them to talk to CIOs without chasing a sale.
At the heart of this is trust. CIOs need courage in their convictions, especially when it comes to taking a new approach for investment to the board, and resellers can help them develop this.
Customers are more likely to trust those who know their industry inside out, who are creative problem-solvers especially under pressure, and who can lay solid foundations for technology upgrades.
This will help resellers differentiate themselves, and assist the creation of more lucrative contracts in the long run.
Adrian Crawley is regional director of UK and Ireland at Radware
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