By Traci Maynard, Executive: Edge Consumer Software and Hardware and HPE Business Unit Manager at Axiz
If you recently bought something from an online retailer, the site likely recommended additional purchases. Keep that paradigm in mind. We often call it upselling. But it’s substantially more impactful in the technology channel than punting a few extra items. It’s about being part of the services world.
If you accept that digital technology is fundamental to a successful and growing company, services are indispensable for today’s technology buyers. They offer the flexibility and delivery we associate with the software-defined era, and they help customer companies pursue their digital strategies.
Yet many channel resellers, particularly those focused on procurement, struggle to find their place in the services market. It’s a pity as they leave a lot of money on the table. Customers want services, and they increasingly select those partners that offer services, not only transactional deals.
Reports from several intelligence firms reveal that most services used by modern companies don’t link directly to server or client devices. Once you disregard ‘traditional’ hardware services typically provided directly through vendors (such as support), customers want access to a vast world of digital services. These services represent additional revenue streams for your channel company.
Much like recommended items on an e-commerce site, your business can add more choices for your customers.
Why services adoption fails
How do you bring these choices into your business? Many have tried and failed. In my experience, there are several reasons why this happens:
- Not sure what they offer: Channel providers, especially SMEs, tend to have a hodgepodge collection of products and services that evolved as they tried to meet customer demand. A consequence of this is that many channel companies don’t really know what they are about. For example, does offering security software make you a security solutions provider? Should you leap into offering more elaborate security services? Knowing what you sell and why is very important when evaluating services.
- Not embracing the cloud: The services and software-defined markets rely on cloud technologies. It might be to deliver the service but can as often be about providing self-service options, information dashboards, etc. If a channel company embraces the cloud, it’s easier to adapt to service markets. But if it only uses cloud services at the periphery, it might not be ready to deliver on customer expectations.
- Too small to succeed: Resellers often think they are too small for services, believing that only large systems integrators have the necessary capacity and skills. That may have been the case before, but not today. Opex models and scalability make technology adoption more flexible, creating space for smaller and specialist channel companies.
- No collaboration: Few channel companies try to do it all anymore. Trying to be a jack of all trades can dilute your strategic contributions and increase costs as you try to cover all your certification and licence requirements. Yet numerous channel companies don’t think about collaborating with their peers.
- Lack of skills: Skills are expensive to hire and cultivate, especially when trying to stay abreast of vendor certification requirements. Many channel companies decide they can’t offer a service because they don’t have the necessary skills in their organisation.
Adopting services through Axiz
There is a lot of comfort in procurement and transactional models. You can expect big upfront payments, plus hardware sales tend to complement refresh and innovation waves. You are almost guaranteed a customer will need you in the future when they make necessary upgrades.
But how do you get customers to rely on you continually? Services are key to a modern channel business – they speak to the strategic role digital represents in today’s enterprises. So to be clear, adopting services is not about survival. It’s about excellence and continual engagements – and, of course, upselling products that your customers want (who will find somewhere else if not with you).
Axiz puts considerable effort and resources into making that transition possible for our clients – you, the channel solution providers and resellers. We also grew from a procurement background and decided several years ago to add services. Today, Axiz is a major cloud services provider, platform business and marketplace that brings the channel together.
We support our channel clients to adopt services through several avenues:
- Financial and development support: Axiz knows that adjusting a business model to adopt new services is risky. Thus, we can provide financial and business development support.
- Axiz marketplace: Services come in many different guises, which can be confusing. Our marketplace helps you browse and select different services to create unique projects or long-term customer delivery combinations.
- Channel collaboration: We encourage collaboration between different partners through the Axiz marketplace, our reseller community and our business development managers.
- Access to skills: At Axiz, we invest in skills and certifications to complement our partners’ projects, helping them win more business while de-risking skills and talent requirements.
- Vendor liaison: Axiz has partnerships with over 50 major vendors – we leverage this experience to help resellers with vendor relationships even if the vendor is not associated with Axiz.
Services are instrumental in today’s business world. They help companies achieve their business strategy and objectives by leveraging digital technologies in manageable and scalable ways. The right services are indispensable companions to whatever drives your channel business. They complement what you do. Contact Axiz and let us take that journey with you to enhance what you offer to a dynamic and eager market.