A week into the New Year, it’s clear the cloud is here to stay. As the channel continues to find its way in shifting cloud marketplaces, we’ll see many of the trends that arose in 2018 mature and merge with new ones to drive even more change in channel relationships and business models.
In 2019, here are the changes we predict will create the most opportunities in the channel for delivering value to customers.
1. Vendors will increase their reliance on ISVs to help fuel business growth.
Vendors and ISV have been collaborating for some time. But the strategic alliance between Ingram Micro and Microsoft announced last May sent a strong message about the value of the ISV to vendors seeking new go-to-market routes. In 2019, we predict vendors will deepen their reliance on ISVs as customers move faster towards cloud-delivered everything.
2. Activity in the P2P alliance-sphere will rise to the level of the ISV marketplace.
Ingram Micro’s CloudBlue commerce platform launched last spring was an instant hit — connecting technology providers with over 50,000 channel partners in 47 countries worldwide
At Channel Marketing Journal, we predict P2P (partner-to-partner) activity to become equally brisk as resellers come into their prime as consultants and solution integrators.
3. Customer reviews will become as important to ISV success as peer reviews.
Druva global channel chief Timm Hoyt told Channel Marketing Journal in a late 2018 interview that peer reviews will become as important to helping ISVs stand out in cloud marketplaces as they are in the consumer space. As “customer-first” grows loader as a 2019 rallying call, we predict customer reviews of successful experiences with combined ISV-vendor solutions will become equally impactful — making winners of ISVs that have the relevant content to support their claims.
4.We’ll see a rise in vendor-provided, prescribed content marketing programs as B2B content continues to underwhelm business buyers.
Results from the Forrester Consulting QI 2018 Global Marketing Content Credibility Study show business consumers are not impressed with B2B marketing content — with most saying vendors push out too much material and that much of it is useless. To fill this gap, Channel Marketing Journal predicts growth in subscription-based, content marketing platforms that take partners through the steps of customizing and executing lead generation campaigns in an episodic manner.
5. Partners-in-transition will keep vendors focused on relationship building.
Margin pressures from cloud consumption models will drive traditional partner types like MSPs to diversify into other areas of expertise such as security. As more security vendors crowd into the market in 2019, we see relationship-building remaining a top focus for vendors competing for the support of MSPs turned MSSPs looking to recover margin.
6. Partners’ customer-first mindset will refocus vendors on the basics.
Business customers’ shift to investing in solutions rather than products has elevated the role of channel partner to consultant. To help partners retain their consultant status with customers, Channel Marketing Journal predicts vendors will work harder in 2019 to refocus channel marketing programs on the basics. According to Cheryl Miller-Sindelar, Microsoft General Manager of Worldwide Channels at One Commercial Partner, “the basics” entail helping partners develop and clearly communicate a consistent, powerful value proposition.
It’s safe to say the cloud’s hype phase has waned with the passing of 2018. But we’ll still see a lot of churn in the New Year as more customers become more deeply entrenched in the cloud-delivered everything mindset. No vendor, ISV or partner can go it alone in this environment. How do you predict your strategic alliances and business models will change to deliver value in the coming year? Contact us to share your thoughts.