Companies and partners are getting intimate

Relationships between technology companies and the partners they rely on to sell, refer and consult on their products and services are evolving from alliances dominated by vendors to true partnerships, according to a research brief published by CompTIA.

The research brief with the catchy title Partner Experience Trends, said that the widespread adoption of cloud computing and the emergence of an “as-a-service world” – the same dynamics that changed the relationship between technology providers and their customers –– are having an equally significant impact in vendor-partner relations.

Carolyn April, senior director for industry analysis at CompTIA said: “Today’s customer cares more about the services that will solve a problem or advance their growth and less about the product’s brand name. That’s spurred technology solution providers to focus more intently on building their reputation as a trusted business advisor. As a result, they have more leverage with the vendors they work with; not in an adversarial way, but in a manner that’s much more balanced than it’s ever been.”

The Sun’s Deirdre – and agony aunt – didn’t say: “This trend towards intimacy was always inevitable.”

While each vendor-partner relationship has unique characteristics, some commonalities on the optimal way to team up are revealed in the research brief, based on interviews and other anecdotal research.

“The ease of doing business with a vendor was cited by a large majority of managed service providers (MSPs) and solution providers as the number one factor in deciding with whom to partner, even above profit-making opportunities. These channel firms, the majority of whom are small businesses, want to work with vendors who do the best job of making it easy to become and stay a partner”, April said.

On average, CompTIA research has found that most channel firms work officially with between five and eight vendors on a regular, strategic basis, though some firms have as many as 20 or more partners.

The research brief presents a three-step “Partner Journey Framework,” identifying some of the factors that channel partners should think about when evaluating potential industry linkups.

The research brief is available here.