The channel is facing a crisis of confidence in wide area network (WAN) vendors' channel managers, according to a recent channel survey.
The survey, conducted by Queensland-based East and Partners, reports the number one area WAN vendors must lift their game is in the quality or seniority of their channel managers.
According to an East and Partners spokesperson who asked not to be named, the 22.1 per cent response for the category from channel organisations was "something of an indictment".
"Concerns clearly lie in general business relationship management and the ways in which suppliers interact with the channel's customers and prospects.
"Product and technology support issues by contrast appear to be relatively well addressed by vendors, in the channel's eyes," he said.
The survey polled the top 200 Australian channel companies and received 186 responses.
The company polled channel organisations dealing with a range of WAN vendors, including Lucent/JNA, Cisco, Hayes, Scitec, HP, IBM, 3Com and Cabletron.
Two other areas of concern to the channel are closer involvement in closing customer business, with a response of 21.3 per cent, and improved opportunities to increase channel margins, returning a response of 17.5 per cent.
According to the spokesperson, another issue of concern is that channel organisations still find themselves competing against vendor-direct sales.
He indicated that the channel is looking for more understanding from vendors. "There's [room for] good old-fashioned morality," he said.
Meanwhile, the survey's response for "Other" incorporates issues such as the desire to remove "exclusivity constraints", accelerate general response times and improve quality of technical support.
Another issue covered in the "Other" category is around 2 per cent of respondents who wanted to see "less arrogance" in WAN vendors.
The spokesperson said channel organisations are reacting to "dictatorial" vendors.
Top five areas WAN vendors need to lift their game (by percentage)Improve quality/seniority of channel managers 22.1Closer involvement in closing customer business 21.3Improved opportunities to increase channel margins 17.5Stabilise and police product pricing 9.9Discipline lead generation and referral to channels 6.8Other 18.9No real issues requiring improvement 3.5