Sharing IP is Only Part of Services Success

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Partner willingness to adopt vendor’s methodologies and IP is not a “one size fits all” strategy

Beth Vanni – Director, Market Intelligence

In our recent research focused on the hot topic of engaging the next generation of services-centric partners, we found some interesting results in the area of partner enablement, which forced some reading between the lines.

Vendors say that sharing their service delivery methodologies and IP is their fourth biggest challenge (36%) when it comes to channel engagement. The partners we surveyed didn’t list it as a challenge (getting vendors’ IP) at all.

Vendors also say that sharing this methodology is their second “most critical” engagement model with partners (50%), and partners themselves (50% also) say that it’s the second most common engagement model they use with their leading vendors (not “critical,” but “most common”). But, then when you get right down to the tactical question about what should be in the vendors’ services channel programs, partners say sharing and being trained on this content is a fair requirement (45%) but yet they don’t see it as a benefit – i.e., it’s not on their top 5 list of desired program benefits. Conversely, vendors also think it should be a program requirement (45%), and they also think it’s a benefit. In fact, 48% of them say it’s in their existing channel program as a benefit today.

My take on all of this is that the partners see the sharing of IP as a necessary evil, and a common thing they are trained on and exchange with their vendors. And many solution providers note a handful of their leading vendors that do a really good job at making this content focused, rich and actionable (Cisco, VMware, Netapp come to mind). But solution providers don’t see it as one of their biggest challenges and they don’t see it as one of the most important things to be fixed in their vendors’ services channel engagement plans.

For partners, it’s important to share basic tools, sample SOWs and suggestions for how to build services around one vendor’s technology. But, how often is one technology deployed all by itself? Successful services partners have different levels of maturity, their own methodologies and a broad diversity of multi-vendor offerings, making vendor IP a good thing to have as part of their overall knowledge base. But it’s more like a part of the whole rather than the whole. Providing IP is not a “one-size fits all” solution.

We see solution providers with mature services practices increasingly developing their own IP, methodologies and multi-vendor services and distancing themselves from selling or delivery the point-product services of any one individual vendor. Isn’t this ultimately what vendors have longed for among their channel partners for decades?

For the full study, visit the Amazon Consulting Resource Center.

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Partner willingness to adopt vendor’s methodologies and IP is not a “one size fits all” strategy

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