It's almost impossible these days to get a vendor to say a nasty thing about the channel. If you believe the rhetoric, almost without exception, everyone is scrambling to send the majority of their business through distribution and resellers. And the nasty old days of resellers being treated like second-class citizens by vendors are meant to be well and truly over.
There is certainly some element of truth here. ARN is testament to it. Without the support of vendors, a weekly newspaper written exclusively for the channel could not exist.
But it would be naive to suggest that all is well and good. While resellers are treated with a lot more respect and receive more attention than they used to, they could and should be treated even better.
I've used this space recently as a forum to discuss many of the problems and challenges facing resellers. Issues like shrinking margins, globalisation and consolidation, as well as unscrupulous dealers who tarnish the reputation of our entire industry, need to be accepted as facts of life. And resellers need to respond to these challenges.
However, as pointed out in ARN last week (ARN, August 5, p38) by Craig Webster from C&T Systems, a small reseller in Taree, the difficulties faced by resellers run a lot deeper.
These difficulties, Webster explains in his excellent letter to the editor, are not things that most resellers are in much of a position to do anything about. Things like: what to do about distributors and vendors that almost entirely neglect small and regional resellers; vendors that deliver shoddy products and then back it up with sloppy service; suppliers that can't get their billing right and so on.
Get your act together
So I have this message to vendors and distributors. Get your act together. Compaq: why has a product been faulty for five months despite being returned by C&T three times? Microsoft, Epson, Dataflow, Canon and Compaq: what are you doing about servicing smaller regional resellers like C&T Systems?
It's ironic that resellers are doing it toughest in an era where the channel is most in vogue. Let's not kid ourselves - vendors love the channel because they're making money out of it. If it was more profitable for them to go direct, they would.
It's especially tough for the smaller reseller because a sole voice doesn't pull a lot of weight back in the vendor's boardrooms. But that's what ARN is here for. Consider us your voice. That's why we talk to and quote as many retailers, resellers, integrators and software developers as we can.
Next time you've had enough with sloppy service, or feel like you've been neglected; next time a vendor goes over your head and goes direct to your customer; next time you're screwed around, let us know.
There's bucket loads of money being made because the channel is doing a fantastic job of selling and implementing great technology solutions. Demand the respect you deserve.
Have your say. E-mail the editor at (firstname.lastname@example.org).