The channel partner's role has fundamentally changed.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

November 26, 2019

3 Min Read

SD-WAN, cloud-based traffic and cybersecurity fears are just a few trends changing the technological landscape.

Avant Communications Co-founder and President Drew Lydecker argues that channel partners have immense opportunity as technology becomes a higher priority for businesses. He’ll share those opportunities during his “Disruption Survival Guide for the Trusted Advisor” keynote at the Channel Evolution Europe conference in London next week.

Avant, the Chicago-based master agent, recently honored five partners for helping drive business in Europe.

Lydecker spoke to Channel Partners about his upcoming presentation. We’ve edited the transcript for clarity.

Channel Partners: How is the way customers choose technology changing?

Drew Lydecker: We are living in a time of vast opportunity for the use of IT in solving business challenges. The process of starting a company is less expensive and easier than ever before, but there are many key decisions that need to be made successfully in order to get the full benefit of this opportunity. The same is true of more mature companies that need to leverage new technologies to remain competitive and relevant. These companies are building upon the technology decisions they’ve made in the past and are now advancing those decisions at a higher level. With technology accelerating faster than ever before, the need for a trusted adviser is also escalating rapidly. With the help of a trusted adviser, companies can leverage the necessary expertise to make the best technology decisions for their circumstances.

To maintain the growth of a company and keep up with the speed of technological advancements takes a special skill that many internal teams fundamentally lack. Enterprises need someone to help navigate the abundance of choices, to make recommendations based on real-world experience and to help them achieve “10x growth.”

CP: How is the channel partner’s role changing?

DL: There was a time when a trusted adviser could propose the latest and greatest tech advancement and walk out with a signed purchase order. This morphed into a world where technology decisions needed to be far more closely tied to the business case. From that point onward the upgrade, whatever it might be, needed to build the bottom line, enhance security or otherwise deliver its value proposition in meaningful and measurable ways. This has taken on a whole new dimension in the midst of the “as-a-service” phenomenon. The upgrade must still make solid business sense, but now there are decisions to be made on how to leverage the cloud and whether to pay for the upgrade via opex or capex. Trusted advisers deal with these issues all the time. They have a far more complete understanding of what works and what doesn’t work, as compared to most enterprise companies who, by nature, need to be far more focused on their own missions and their own customers than the underlying technologies that make it all happen and keep it secure. Trusted advisers have therefore become…… more central to the technology decision process and, by extension, more central to the success of their customers.

CP: What’s one thing you want the audience to take away from your talk?

DL: Believe, invest, achieve.

Believe in the trusted adviser movement as a crucial tool for accelerating business success without having to understand every level of the technology decision process. People don’t know what they don’t know. This leads to undue stress and can sometimes lead to the wrong decisions. Your trusted adviser will solve this for you.

Invest. Make the investments necessary to propel your company to a higher level faster and more effectively than your competition.

Achieve. 10X growth is a realistic and worthy objective that can be achieved through the types of approaches we’ve talked about today. Grab the ball and run with it. The time is now.

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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