February already and, for various reasons, the Ecosystem team has seen a significant increase in businesses wanting to partner with Tech Data since the turn of the year.
Introductions quickly turn to discussions around value propositions; what value could a partnership with Tech Data and the Ecosystem programme offer their business? And to respond to this we need to understand the value proposition from the partner. Not just to their customers and prospects, but to the wider Ecosystem and to Tech Data.
This is often not something the enquiring partner team has considered. They know what their business does, the solutions they offer, the key features and benefits. They can articulate target markets; how much it costs and the margins they make. But the Ecosystem team want to understand who is your buyer, how do they buy and what is the reason they buy from you? And, importantly, how is this changing?
Traditionally, businesses have only had to consider how the value proposition addresses the end customer. How all the offerings, skills, resources and knowledge bring value to the user. The reason they will buy from you, rather than anyone else. But in the new world of ecosystems this is now changing.
The ecosystem approach to sourcing outcomes rather than products, means companies other than the ultimate end-user are now interested in your value proposition. These partners want to understand your value proposition to their customer and to themselves. What does introducing you to their customers and prospects mean for them? How could embedding your solutions, IP, services into theirs create new value and increase their ability to retain business?
And, as vendors increasingly rely on the channel to deliver solutions on their technology, they want to understand the partners’ value proposition to them, enabling their client teams to represent it and ensure it meets with plans for their customer.
As a partner to Tech Data, we are interested in what you bring to our wider ecosystem and how we can help you maximise the opportunity through the Ecosystem Programme we continue to develop. We are now providing workshops for our partners, helping them develop their value propositions for this new model.
Using in-house tools such as IQBlade, we do our research to understand what the market knows about you, along with understanding financial position, skill sets, references and target markets, so we can make appropriate introductions, as well as advise other parts of Tech Data about your business. (Competitive Insight and Market Intelligence Platform | IQBlade)
It is apparent that this change in the channel dynamics is being recognised by the wider industry. I was fortunate to be invited to listen to Jay McBain from Forrester recently, an influential blogger on the IT Channel, and he describes what he calls a “Trifurcating Partner Channel”. He classifies partner activities as being Influencers, Transaction partners or Retain partners.
This appears to have heavily influenced the IBM Ecosystem strategy which has announced a “Build, Sell and Service” model for how they want to develop their partner channel. With a majority of the new partners being created today falling into the “Influencer” or “Build” categories, the vendor challenge is connecting with these businesses early and helping them find a route to market. Existing, experienced players, with in depth vendor and market knowledge, that we call anchor partners within our Ecosystem, can help provide this.
We heard a bit more about the IBM strategy from Andrew Gill on the Tech Data Ecosystem Webinar last week. Andrew was accompanied by Chirag Gir who provided some great insight from IBM Business Intelligence on how and where the market will grow in 2021. If you missed the session the replay is here. https://youtu.be/Qy49-ktQTOE
We continue to welcome new businesses into the Tech Data Ecosystem programme. For more information about our events, industry projects and workshops please visit the Ecosystem Blog | Ecosystem (techdata.com) or contact us directly.