A new channel chief is appointed every 11 days across A/NZ

A new channel chief is appointed every 11 days across A/NZ

Revolving channel door continues to swing

Credit: Dreamstime

A new channel chief is appointed every 11 days across Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ), as vendor churn continues to destabilise the channel.

Figures for 2018 - spanning 1 January until 14 October - paint a damning picture for partner-facing executives in vendor organisations, as the revolving channel door continues to swing.

Following a joint ARN and Reseller News analysis covering both sides of the Tasman, 25 channel management positions have changed hands since the turn of the year.

Specifically, the numbers equate to a new appointment every 11.44 days on average, or every 274.56 hours to be precise.

Such change means both partners and distributors must encounter new strategies, new reviews and new processes on a seemingly fortnightly basis, as vendors constantly juggle internal personnel changes.

Irrespective of whether the changes made are because of positive or negative factors, the end result is a channel continuously changing direction.

“Channel managers come in, promise the world and leave again, our industry has never been known for its stability,” observed one New Zealand-based partner, when speaking to Reseller News on the condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile in Australia, a Brisbane-based system integrator told ARN; "we're told one thing one week, then a new person comes in and the message changes again. It's a continuous loop."

Starting at the top end of town, cloud giant Amazon Web Services (AWS) has rejigged its local team, while Google Cloud has invested significantly in channel talent on both sides of the Tasman.

Microsoft - fresh from a sizeable internal change through the One Commercial Partner roll-out - has also made tweaks in Australia, while the New Zealand team has made a series of ISV-specific hires.

Within the software space, both Oracle and SAP have appointed new channel leaders, while NetSuite, Red Hat and Tableau have also hired new partner-facing executives.

Specific to security, channel changes have been made at Symantec, Cylance and Trend Micro, alongside Mimecast, SonicWall and Check Point.

Other notable changes include Dell EMC, Huawei, IBM, APC by Schneider Electric, Telstra and Commvault in addition to Lenovo, Box, Extreme Networks, SailPoint and Acer.

“There is a lot of churn in the market at the moment,” observed Mark Iles, executive analyst at Tech Research Asia. “This is being driven by increased investment coming from customers.”

As a result, Iles said the market backdrop is “buoyant”, with every aspect of the supply chain seeking to monetise such a scenario as “quickly as they can”.

“The best way is still through an engaged and active channel,” Iles added. “But what’s changed is that channel partners are increasingly looking to rationalise their portfolios and focusing on developing their own market positioning.

“Large partners are now evaluating and ranking vendors the way vendors used to do to partners so the shoe is literally on the other foot and some vendors are adapting to the change better than others.”

In short, Iles said partners aren’t prepared to deal with vendors that simply “don’t understand reality”.

“This isn’t about setting high bars for partners and making them jump through hoops anymore, it’s about finding differentiated customer solutions where you can align and going to market together to get them,” Iles said.

“That means less about process and QBRs and more about the customer and the opportunity. Slow, cumbersome, annual vendor-partner planning processes make no sense when we are all telling customers to be more agile.”

According to Iles, the market must now assess what defines a “channel friendly” vendor in 2018 and beyond.

“Do vendors offer true as-a-service options for partners?” Iles asked. “Will they go-to-market and support partners that have built solutions using vendor products even though an additional customer doesn’t generate an additional PO for the vendor?”

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