Channel partners navigate the intersection of business and technology each and every day.

October 8, 2018

9 Slides

**Editor’s Note: Throughout the fourth quarter of 2018, as part of our “In Focus” series, we will feature a series of galleries designed to help partners grow their businesses in 2019 and beyond.**

By Kevin Casey

Channel partners navigate the intersection of business and technology each and every day. Suffice it to say, it’s an extraordinarily busy intersection — it always feels like rush hour.

It can be tough in an environment like this to slow down and make sure you’re headed in the right direction. But that’s increasingly a must in order to capitalize on significant changes in business and technology instead of simply succumbing to them. That rush-hour feel is a sign of opportunity, provided you’re positioning your business to take advantage.


Unosquare’s Giancarlo Di Vece

“Today’s rapid-fire growth and shifting of the technological ecosystem continually yields excellent opportunities for nimble MSPs [and other partners] to expand their business,” says Giancarlo Di Vece, president of software development firm Unosquare. “Tech advancement simultaneously presents [partners] that have historically operated under a traditional business model with a new set of challenges.”

Given the choice of “new opportunities” versus “new challenges,” most of us will choose the former over the latter. So it comes down to adopting the right set of business strategies and best practices for doing just that, while solving those inevitable challenges and problems along the way.

We asked Di Vece and other experts for tips and trends on doing just that in the year ahead and beyond. What best practices should channel partners consider? More importantly: Why?

As you explore their expert advice momentarily, you’ll perhaps notice some themes here.

For one, these are ultimately business practices, not tech trends. Channel businesses need to heed some of the same fundamentals as just about any other company: investing in the right people, making smart decisions about growth, and adapting to macro-level shifts in the industry.

It’s also about revisiting some of the fundamentals, such as: Don’t partner with just anyone. Once upon a time, there were fewer choices to make in terms of vendors. Not so today, as new partner programs proliferate, especially in areas like cloud, where vendors from the biggest names to smaller upstarts look to partners to help drive the next phases of their own growth strategies. That doesn’t mean you should just sign on with these programs willy-nilly, though — but we’ll get back to that in a bit.

In the gallery below, we’ll identify nine business best practices partners should be considering as they develop and fine-tune their business goals and strategies for 2019 and beyond. The channel universe has never been more exciting or fast-paced. Are you prepared to keep up?

Kevin Casey writes about technology and business for a wide variety of publications and companies. He won an Azbee Award, given by the American Society of Business Publication Editors, for his story, “Are You Too Old for IT?” He’s a former community choice honoree in the Small Business Influencer Awards.

Trend: Double Down on Recruiting and Retaining Talent

Partners are ultimately as much people businesses as they are technology firms. Hiring the right people is a must, but so is keeping those people around long-term. Taking your team for granted is akin to ignoring emerging technology trends; one day, you simply wake up and realize your business is failing.“As an MSP, having a talented and diverse team will set you apart from the competition,” Di Vece says. He notes, however, that accomplishing this is no easy feat, especially given a booming job market, employee-retention realities and other factors.Di Vece and other experts expect recruiting and retention strategies to play an outsized role in separating highly successful partners from the rest of the pack in the near future. Bowing to this challenge isn’t an option.Jonathan Bohrer, CFO at Abacus Group, says his firm’s clients expect 100 percent from its team, day in and day out; the firm must make an equal commitment to its people.“The basics are easy: a fun work environment, good benefits, extras like good coffee and cold beverages in the fridge for Friday afternoons,” Bohrer says. “The rest is more difficult: a career path, upward mobility, and perhaps most important, a voice. All are part of building a positive culture and work environment where everyone is engaged to win together.”

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