Firms demanding more value from their channel partners

New research out this week shows that a massive 84 percent of UK IT pros think their IT partners are capable of providing more value to their organisations than they currently do.

‘Value-add’ has been a key phrase in the channel for a long time –as we know, those two words are considered so important that the term resellerhas pretty much been replaced by that of value-added reseller (VAR).

But as a partner how much value do you think you really provide to your customers? New research out this week shows that a massive 84 percent of UK IT pros think their IT partners are capable of providing more value to their organisations than they currently do.

The survey by hosting and cloud services company Leaseweb Global explores 500 UK-based IT pros’ experience with IT channel partners over the last two years. It certainly raises questions regarding the quality of the relationship between organisations and their channel partners.

Overall, the results indicate that, while many were satisfied with their partner’s ability to provide educated advice and support business objectives, there is still work to be done in matters of budget and risk sharing.

Breaking down the results

IT pros were most likely to see value from their partners in their strategic advice (38 percent), knowledge of industry complexity (35 percent), availability to answer questions (30 percent), independent advice (29 percent), and a high-level view of the whole industry (28 percent).

However, respondents were least likely to see their partners as service agnostic (21 percent), or close to their organisation (18 percent). This last complaint in particular, given the importance placed on partners to get to know their customers’ businesses intimately for several reasons – as a point of differentiation to the competition, to build loyalty and to avail themselves of more upsell and cross-sell solution opportunities.

On the flip side, almost two-thirds (65 percent) of firms do not share all the relevant budgetary information with their IT partner. In fact, 17 percent of respondents said that their organisation inflated budgets to try and get more for less from their partner. This is surprising when 85 percent of respondents thought that their IT partners actively share the risks associated with their organisation's decisions on infrastructure choices.

Leaseweb concludes that the reluctance of organisations to share relevant budgetary information with their IT partners may stem from a perceived lack of involvement on behalf of the partner.

Time to revaluate the relationship?

Despite this, the survey also found that most (66 percent) of IT pros want their partners to play a more active role in providing counsel on managing costs for the cloud services their organisation uses. And of the 66percent, 22 percent said they would rather their partner played a much more active role.

Terry Storrar, MD UK at Leaseweb said the results show it’s time to re-evaluate the current relationship between UK organisations and their IT partners.

“This is a clear call for channel partners to provide more value to their clients and put a greater focus on offering strategic and independent advice,” he said. “There is also a huge opportunity to explore how IT partners can provide more value at a strategic and technical level, and to consolidate this relationship.

“The situation as it stands is less than ideal and there is much more value that can be offered on both sides. But as with any relationship, this is a two-way street and if organisations cannot offer full transparency when it comes to issues of budget, IT partners’ use will be severely limited.”

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