Homepage: Swallow your pride

Homepage: Swallow your pride

I'm probably stating the obvious, but Australian resellers are a very fickle bunch.

This opinion was confirmed earlier this month at IDG's inaugural ChannelWorld conference in Sydney, which attracted a host of resellers and integrators keen to get the good oil on their competitors and suss out their weaknesses.

Two emotive threads of debate emerged amongst the delegates. The first surrounded the general acrimony towards "dodgy" dealers and sales tax evaders, while the second, and for the purposes of this column, more important, thread appeared to be the channel's ability to stir up aggravation from within its own ranks.

It's perfectly understandable to expect that reseller frustration and anxiety in the current climate of squeezed markets and competition from acquisition-hungry global distributors may reach boiling point.

If they are forced to live on the breadline or can no longer compete with the more resourceful distributors and integrators then logic suggests they will fold.

Or that's what the average reseller or integrator is thinking.

One thing the ChannelWorld conference proved is that there are some courageous resellers left who believe they can still make a difference despite copping it from all fronts.

Their message was two-pronged - establish a neutral channel industry body and build a reseller cooperative that can go in to bat for those small organisations who don't have a voice.

But such bold visions have been offered before, I hear you cry, and yet the perilous state of the channel remains.

What these ChannelWorld delegates proposed is the formation of a neutral body consisting of financial controllers, business leaders, and a handful of channel advocates with no allegiance to any organisation.

This starts to make sense. Small resellers and integrators could use a central body to voice their concerns about competition and expect to get a non-biased solution. It certainly beats the hell out of complaining to your vendor partners only to have your complaints and suggestions fall on deaf ears.

What's stopping you from forming your own cooperative based around selling the services which every channel player now claims as its saviour?

This makes sense as well. Imagine if 50 resellers and integrators banded together and pooled their various resources, technologies and service offerings in order to provide the most comprehensive and competitive solutions to their customers. The profits, which could be very attractive, are shared between the members of the cooperative and pumped back in to generate new business and enhance existing resources.

Those "once were whining" small resellers and integrators could save their bacon and share in the spoils of a powerful conglomerate that could easily compete against the larger integrators, resellers and outsourcers.

Only time will tell whether they can swallow their pride and sleep with the enemy.

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