We launched a video series last week called Channel Watch. You can find the video player on our home page at www.arnnet.com.au
Having interviewed a selection of resellers and distributors during recent weeks, the highlights will be brought to you in a series of weekly videos. Subjects range from technology tips and business challenges to skills shortages and future directions of the industry.
For our first episode, we asked our panel to talk about annoying vendor behaviour. Not surprisingly, a few respondents touched on direct sales. I think most resellers appreciate that vendors are going to service a number of named accounts but an inconsistent approach is always going to ruffle feathers. In an ideal world, all vendors would send their resellers a list of ring-fenced accounts that the channel are not allowed to play in. Beyond those, the vendor should stay out.
Training was another hot topic, with our panel suggesting they are asked to attend too many courses of variable quality. Resellers want fewer, more targeted sessions and it would be nice to see vendors talking about a return on investment for their partners in the same way as they do for end users. Why should a reseller spend a small fortune on accreditations if the vendor can't demonstrate how this will translate into a profitable stream of business?
With skills in short supply, one reseller advised vendors to go and find their own skills rather than poaching the best talent from within the channel. Retaining good staff is perhaps even more difficult than finding them in the first place, which takes me nicely onto my next topic.
Congratulations to Express Data and Dimension Data for being recognized among the leading employers in Australia and New Zealand. Almost 55,000 employees from 221 organisations completed questionnaires from human resources organisation, Hewitt Associates, during the past year.
The process also involved the collection of data from CEOs about business conditions and challenges, as well as input from HR managers and directors about people practices and policies. About 10 per cent of these companies were short-listed as leading employers by a 'blind' panel of five independent judges. Express Data boss, Ross Cochrane, was understandably proud to make that list.
"Financial performance is historical and tells you how the company has been performing," he said. "This [employer rating] is one of the best indicators of how you will perform in the future.
"You never know what is around the corner but having the best possible team of people puts you in a position to deal with anything that comes along."
People are still going to walk when your leading vendor knocks on the door and offers to double their salary. There's nothing anybody can do about scenarios like that but being recognized as a top employer will help you keep more good people than you lose.
By the way, if any of you are looking to find a job in vendor land, you could do worse than Cisco, Microsoft, Nokia and SAP. These companies also made the Hewitt list. Cisco earned a highly commended award.