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Marching Orders 2013: Beware the Status Quo

As part of Redmond Channel Partner's annual "Marching Orders" feature, we asked several channel luminaries to give their best advice to help Microsoft partners succeed in the coming year. Here are some tips from Tiffani Bova, Vice President, Gartner Research Inc.

Business partners of the future must continually reinvent their businesses. Otherwise, they'll find themselves left behind as the "supplier" of technology versus the trusted partner that guides clients to where they need to be. Helping businesses focus on growth and enabling new and different customer experiences is where businesses are spending their IT dollars.

This is being driven by what Gartner calls the "Nexus of Forces" (see gartner.com/webinars), the explosion in information, social, cloud and mobility, as well as the intersection of these rapidly evolving capabilities. These are disruptive technologies that fundamentally change business processes, business strategies and business models, and they're coming at us faster than ever. This is creating unprecedented uncertainty and opportunity for the IT channel as a whole.

There is a catch, however. To tap into the true power of this next generation of solutions, partners need to focus on business processes, IT services, software development and creating unique offerings, which are focused on business outcomes and not just "reselling someone else's technology." Selling outside of IT (sales, marketing, supply chain and finance) will become a requirement. Building a sales organization that can speak to business unit owners should be a priority (if it isn't already). Expanding your (vendor) partnerships beyond the usual suspects must align more appropriately to your long-term goals; otherwise, you'll find yourself selling what people are no longer buying.

No one channel company can go at it alone anymore. Indeed, organizations unable to collaborate -- those that cannot effectively manage the kinds of partnerships that encourage innovation, and direct that innovation toward new strategic capabilities and business growth -- will find themselves at a severe disadvantage.

For some years, many CIOs, IT managers and business owners have seen their channel partners -- integrators, vendors, outsourcers -- as a way to perform standard processes at less cost while their internal IT organization strategically guides the businesses use of technology. Now, however, these very same partners (read: you) have an opportunity to become a source of innovation -- and often the only way complex solutions can be delivered and managed in a fast-moving "hybrid" world.

So, the question is, in 2013 will you be one of those partners that's mapping out your own course, enabling innovative IT solutions that help your clients harness the power of information, social, mobile and cloud technologies? Or will you be the partner that's waiting for your vendor partners to tell you what you should be selling and how much money you can make doing it?

Check out our full "Marching Orders 2013" feature here.

Posted on January 24, 2013 at 8:50 AM


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