• The Channel Comes of Age

    CCI was proud to once again sponsor the annual Channel Focus North America and Latin America conference, which took place on April 26-27 in beautiful San Diego. It was the conference’s 15th year –”la Quinceañera” – which in the Latin culture as you may know marks the transition from childhood to young adulthood. It got us thinking about how in some areas the channel is still in its childhood (being easy to do business with, listening to partners enough, etc.), and where we’ve “matured” as channel managers. We’re pleased to say there was ample evidence of the channel “coming of age” throughout the conference. Below are a few highlights we came away with:

    - There was an increase in case study presentations that demonstrate a “bottom-up” approach to program design. More and more, customer needs/buying process and partner business models are driving program structure and offerings versus the “heavy metals” (platinum, gold, silver tiers) and/or “doing programs just for programs’ sake.”

    • We saw evidence of progress and the improvement of techniques in the area of program metrics that provide greater insight into both program ROI and partner capabilities and value.
    • There is a greater adoption of a value-based approach. Several presentations/discussions emphasized vendors’ efforts to better understand, manage, and incentivize influencers/value-based providers (such as “born in the cloud” partners) and vendors’ roles in facilitating partner-to-partner collaboration to deliver best-end customer results.
    • We noticed a growing recognition of the consumerization of technology and its impact on tools and infrastructure supporting channel relationships. Vendors are looking at partners’ user experience in a multi-device world.
    • It was obvious that the old “one size fits all” approach in Latin America has not been a very successful model to support partners. Local solutions to a global environment is a key differentiator when doing business in Latin America.

    The conference brought many important issues to light that we’ll explore in future Channel Champion blogs. Check back for deeper insights and analysis of the many hot topics involving in the “maturing” of the channel.

    Craig DeWolf is Vice President of Business Strategy for CCI: Channel Management Solutions. Craig’s extensive experience spans over 20-years, across a variety of industries and distribution models. This background has given Craig an excellent perspective of the issues facing marketers and their distribution partners, and the solutions that will make them mutually successful.

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