The big names in technology are increasingly relying on their smaller and more highly specialised counterparts as part of their go-to-market channel strategy. Here, Mat Clothier, CEO, CTO and Founder at Cloudhouselooks at the importance of big technology vendors partnering with smaller, more niche providers to be able to deliver their services to all their channel customers.
As customers need diversify in the quest for digital transformation, vendors need to keep innovating in order to stay competitive to channel partners who advise and influence customers on their IT spending decisions. In turn, systems integrators and cloud service providers need to stay up to date with the technology partnerships that affect their market in order to best solve customer pain points.
Often the road to digital transformation involves migrating the old to the new. This means that sometimes there is a gap between the technologies that the big vendors launch and their accessibility to the organisations who want and need to use them. Take Microsoft’s MSIX as one example. It’s an important installer format for packaging applications that does wonders for developers but leaves IT pros to continue to struggle with the install, uninstall, customisation and cross platform challenges for their existing application portfolio.
It is important for businesses that provide services through the channel to understand these partnerships so that, if a customer has a compatibility problem with a solution from the bigger name technology suppliers, the service provider can approach the software supplier rather than the big-name vendor.
Smaller software providers tend to be much more niche – they do one thing rather than everything, and they do it well. This is an important trait to complement the all-encompassing nature of the bigger technology vendors, who do not have the same amount of time or focus to give to particular services or areas of business in the same way a specialised software vendor can. Often, a bigger name technology vendor will release a new product or service but require a more dedicated or focused software vendor in that area to deliver its services across its entire market, rather than to a select few.
Smaller software vendors are always innovating. It’s how they build a strong presence. Their size actually acts as an advantage as it lends itself to more fast and frequent releases and, with less risk to think about, they have the ability to play around with new ventures. Not only that, but huge technology partnerships can make up a giant proportion of business, so often their strategy for innovation is driven by the trends and customer demands as seen by the larger technology partner.
Naturally, and perhaps most importantly, smaller companies can offer a more hands-on, personal experience than their bigger name counterparts. This means that service providers in the channel and the big technology suppliers can both gain greater access to both C-level and technically-driven team members.
Ultimately, partnerships of this kind have always been around, but they are now more important than ever based on how quickly the IT world is developing. As the market becomes more competitive, big vendors like Microsoft need to adapt in order to stay relevant, but these adaptions must also offer room for customers to keep pace with the changes they are spearheading. Most importantly, service providers in the channel such as systems integrators should educate themselves as much as possible on the partnerships that do exist. After all, being on top of the latest important technology developments - and advising customers based on that knowledge - is that which differentiates the great from the good.