By Traci Maynard, Executive at Axiz
It takes a village to raise a child. And in today’s channel, it often takes a village to deliver technology solutions. Customers expect choice and flexibility. This adjustment can be very demanding: it’s more important than ever that channel businesses work with the right distribution partner.
Why does your choice of distributor matter? I’ll break it down into four considerations: the evolving market, skills development, POC development and channel partnerships.
The evolving market
The channel keeps evolving towards a software-centric mindset fuelled by cloud adoption. This shift has significant implications. While some providers can stick almost exclusively to hardware sales, most must mix hardware and software products. Let’s call it digital channel transformation: a world where the product is secondary to creating the solutions that modern customers want.
Digital channel transformation refers to new attitudes, skills, revenue streams and requirements in the channel. Just as we tell customers that digital transformation isn’t a choice, the same applies to digital channel transformation. How can channel companies activate this change?
Variety and collaboration are crucial for digital channel transformation, and the right distributor delivers on both counts. For example, Axiz has a long track record (we’re over 30 years old) and an extensive range of vendors (55 and counting). A strong vendor stable holds opportunities to combine choices and a solid track record reflects the experience to create collaboration between vendors, solution providers and resellers.
Channel skills are crucial and many vendors expect their channel partners to cultivate those skills. Yet skills are also expensive and challenging to create and retain. Training and certification can cost thousands per individual and months of courses. Too often, all that effort is rewarded by someone poaching the trained staff.
A suitable distribution partner can relieve some of the pressure. At Axiz, we create, manage and administrate several skills training programmes on behalf of vendors. The training serves two purposes: feed an internal skills pool that we use to support our customers and provide skills training to qualifying channel partners.
Today’s digital business solutions typically emerge through combining features from different products. Distributor-led training can help you access suitable training for your business, match complementary skills with other providers and keep staff with you by offering them opportunities to upskill.
Doing these things on your own is expensive and draining. But a distributor focused on channel skills development makes training much more accessible, affordable and manageable.
POCs (proofs of concepts) are indispensable in today’s technology market. They are a powerful sales tool because the customer can experience the potential value for themselves. POCs are often less proof of concept than the starting blocks for technology investments.
But creating an effective POC depends on combining services and skills to answer specific business needs. This process is a lot simpler if you can rely on a distributor equipped to deliver POCs.
Axiz has a dedicated POC centre where skilled experts work alongside our reseller partners to deliver comprehensive solutions for their customers. The centre’s goal is to combine the different choices inside Axiz and a partner’s competencies and skills. But it must be collaborative: we offer POC development to partners who want to lead the project and its implementation. For this reason, we prefer partners that dedicate some of their people to the POC development process.
You’ll struggle to find such POC services outside of distribution. Vendors will focus on their specific products and other resellers will stick to their competencies. Axiz offers the space and processes to see the bigger picture behind a POC but still keeps the project in the hands of the reseller partner. We don’t do the work for you or take the project from you – we help you deliver on your project.
A distributor with many channel partners is a strong ally for digital channel transformation. In the past, channel resellers operated competitively with limited interest in collaboration. Today, collaboration is crucial. Technology services integrate, sharing data, interface and processes. Users want everything on a single screen; security officers want single logins and simplified oversight; and businesses want the maximum value and competitiveness from digital. Unsurprisingly, collaborative and integrated digital projects are the channel’s new best-of-breed offerings.
Distributors are well-positioned for this type of engagement: they have partners across the vendor and reseller groups. They can help develop that bigger picture that delivers best-of-breed solutions. Specifically, at Axiz, we nurture a growing partner marketplace and actively help our customers find collaboration partners.
It takes a village
It takes a combination of the right partners, products, skills and concept development. Distributors are best positioned to bring these elements together. But that doesn’t mean every distributor is doing so.
Axiz has been on this journey for several years. It’s part of our strategic vision to be the glue that connects a digitally transformed channel. If you want to digitally transform your channel business, don’t do it alone. Talk to Axiz and experience the difference of having a digital village supporting you.