Emerging Channel Trends: How CROs Can Prepare MSP Partners to Fuel Business Growth

Help MSPs build market share and emphasize the partner experience with training and marketplaces.

June 21, 2023

4 Min Read
CROs and business growth

By Tom Lin


Tom Lin

As the channel becomes more critical to driving overall revenue for software companies, chief revenue officers (CROs) must keep an eye on how emerging technologies and challenges will impact their partner ecosystems, not just direct customers.

Today, the rise of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications and data, the implications of AI and the growing importance of personalized experience all have unique implications for the channel. Here are three ways CROs can stay ahead of the curve to capitalize on these trends and accelerate growth.

Manage SaaS Application and Data Sprawl

According to Gartner, organizations today use an average of 125 SaaS applications to power their daily work. As a result, they’re producing excess amounts of data and information that are subject to cyberattacks, accidental data loss and growing storage costs. With generative AI, that will only increase. Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO and chairman, predicts that by 2025, 10% of all data will be produced by this technology.

However, IT teams are stretched thin, and as the past three years have shown, they’re leaning more on managed service providers (MSPs) to support evolving needs. That’s why independent software vendors (ISVs) with proper SaaS and data management technology have a huge market opportunity to help MSPs build services around their technology to support end customers. By working with MSPs, software companies can extend their influence and multiply revenue during a time of explosive data growth in all sectors of business.

Additionally, software companies must ensure their technology is scalable for the MSPs building and deploying services. Just as IT teams have been stretched to meet growing digital transformation demands, so, too, are the MSPs responsible for the data management and security of up to hundreds of end customers. They rely on vendors with easy-to-deploy technology that accelerates automation and will continue to do so as the digital workplace evolves.

Help Safeguard AI

More than half of SMBs expect their technology partners to proactively suggest new technologies to them to enhance work — for example, tech such as Microsoft’s Power Platform, a set of low-code tools for building apps, workflows, AI bots, and data analytics, or Copilot, an AI chatbot assistant. At the same time, many organizations don’t have the tools to properly govern and manage their use, so they’re either accelerating innovation but increasing risk, or minimizing risk yet slowing acceleration to a crawl by prohibiting the use of these technologies. Neither option is a good or sustainable solution.

Instead, ISVs that equip their MSPs with the right tools to help end-customers safely deploy applications powered by an AI platform can be exceptionally helpful, and in high demand. With the right policies and guardrails in place, employees can build business-specific applications using Power Platform, to speed time-to-value for new development. Organizations that use Power Platform can save money on software development costs, which can be millions of dollars in savings.

Personalize the Partner Experience

As secure digital collaboration and data management needs increase, partners are looking to reduce the number of vendors they work with to solve end-customer challenges. But many aren’t satisfied, with 81% of partners saying they need marketing support they’re not getting today and others frustrated with subpar training and development.

That’s why CROs need to emphasize partner experience, improve partner programs with ample certification and training options and also encourage diversification in distribution to meet customers where they are. Marketplaces, for example, can create transparency, simplify contracting and purchasing and make transactions easier for everyone involved.

As it’s been proven time and again, investing in the channel can catapult growth and CROs need to view new technology trends through the lens of channel partners, as part of their overall strategy. That way, they can help bridge the gap between direct and channel teams to ensure all aspects of the business are capitalizing on opportunities to succeed.

Tom Lin serves as chief revenue officer for AvePoint. He previously was its chief customer officer and VP of sales, where he led the global enterprise, midmarket, SMB and channel sales strategy. He began his career there as the company’s first sales representative. You may follow him on LinkedIn or @AvePoint on Twitter.

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