Channel Intelligence

Opinion: Channel companies and vendor partners must approach deal registration much like commanders handle intelligence during a war.

Any commander will tell you that the secret to winning any war is to have better intelligence about the battles than your enemy. To do that, you have to have better tools for gathering that intelligence, and in the channel one of those tools is deal registration.

Deal registration is one of those things that everybody acknowledges is for the general good. But because the deal registration process might be abused by overly aggressive inside salespeople or other solution providers seeking to freeze rivals out of accounts, the whole idea of deal registration still gives some people pause.

To alleviate some of those concerns, some vendors have turned to third-party application service providers such as Blue Roads to try to help mitigate some of the perceived trust issues associated with vendors trying to guard the proverbial channel hen house.

But while all this deal registration activity is commendable in terms of what it does for minimizing channel conflict, you can’t help but wonder if the time has come do something with the data that not only helps solution providers but also benefits the customer.

For instance, customers don’t buy a particular product in isolation. If they are out shopping for servers, chances are they will soon be looking for security solutions and additional network infrastructure. So if vendors mined their deal registration data, they might soon discover that what they have really created is the foundation for a business intelligence platform for the channel.>p>The issue, of course, is figuring out how that data might be effectively shared across the channel ecosystem because a lot of vendors collect data in areas they have products that target, but they don’t have the proper set of incentives to share that information with other vendors that sell products in complementary areas.

For instance, IBM’s data on new server deals and Cisco’s data on new switch deals could be mutually beneficial to both companies and their partners. It would also help the customer because it would create a source of information that allowed solution providers to be a lot more proactive when it comes to lead generation.

Of course, there are significant boundaries that need to be overcome before companies in the channel can work in concert at this level. And some would even go so far as to say it might never happen given the inherent communications challenges.

But that said, this is one area where the potential of the distribution model remains largely untapped. And in the meantime, Dell and its partners are working toward developing this very type of capability. So if the channel writ large can’t find the mechanisms to respond, then Dell is going to increasingly have more intelligence about forthcoming business opportunities than rival solution providers.

Given that, it just might be in the best interest of all concerned for vendors, distributors and solution providers to begin talking about creating their own rival intelligence network because as history shows, it’s not the superior force that wins the battle but rather the smarter force.

Michael Vizard is editorial director of Ziff Davis Media’s Enterprise Technology group. He can be reached at [email protected]

Comment on this article
Be the first to comment on this article.
Managed Services
Channel Business
Distribution Channel
System Integration
IT Resellers
Software Vendors
Supply Chain Management
>” title=”>”/> Ziff Davis White Paper Library<br class=
>” title=”>”/> Baseline ROI Calculators<br class=
>” title=”>”/> eWEEK Labs RFPs and Tools
</div><!-- end ziffhtml //--></div></span></div></div><div style=
Add Channel News, Product Reviews, Trends and Analysis to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo!
Join the Microsoft Empower program for ISVs.
A relationship with Microsoft allows you to compete with the big dogs. Learn more about resources, tools and training. Get the documentation >>
Free Hands-On Training Lab
Find out how key features of SBS 2003 can help you open up a new line of revenue. Register now >>
SBS 2003 Sales Reference Card
This handy reference card contains features at a glance, sales objection handling, pricing guidelines & more. Get it now >>
Microsoft Empower for ISVs rewards your big idea with big benefits and support.
Access key development tools at a low cost to help you develop that idea into an innovative application. Learn more >>
Attention Microsoft Solution Providers!

    Content Management for the Rest of Us
    Read how a new breed of enterprise content management (ECM) systems now available to mainstream businesses are taming the flow of unstructured content.

    Increase your Competitive Edge
    Enterprises looking to improve their operational efficiencies and server utilization are finding it through IT virtualization.

    Will ENUM Accelerate VoIP?
    The integration of VoIP and the telephony network should be a good thing for both, but the process isn’t frictionless.
>> brought to you by Ziff Davis Media
Want to gain a competitive edge? Try Microsoft Watch FREE!

Each week you receive:
  • Microsoft News and Insider Information
  • Expert Analysis
  • Code Names of Upcoming MS Products
  • Year-Ahead Calendar, updated monthly
Click Here to sign up now for your FREE 14 Day Trial to Microsoft Watch.