Now's the time for partners and distributors to position clients for future growth.

February 26, 2019

4 Min Read
Digital Technology


Kyle DeWitt

By Kyle DeWitt, Vice President, Technical Services, ScanSource

Channel-Partners-Insights-logo-300x109.pngThe first iPhone was released in 2007, just 12 short years ago. At that time, Facebook only had 20 million users and the average American sent 218 texts a month.

Yet for many of us, it’s difficult to fathom returning to a time when communication wasn’t nearly instantaneous and unlimited information wasn’t always readily available. The amazement that historically came with technological advancements has now become an expectation, but this expectation has numbed us to the reality of the time needed to successfully develop and implement new technologies.

For example, 5G has grabbed the attention of companies looking to enhance their services. The drastically faster speeds coupled with lower latency will open the doors to a plethora of new possibilities, including widespread adoption of IoT, augmented and virtual reality, near-instantaneous connection and, of course, the birth of truly smart cities.

Imagine fully autonomous vehicles capable of measuring and reporting the road and weather conditions around them, citywide street lighting that measures air quality and tracks human activity and retail stores that offer a customer experience so immersive that content is tailored to the individual shopper. There are infinite possibilities ahead of us – things more exciting than many of us can dare to dream, all interconnected unlike anything before.

Expectations, Meet Reality

But not yet. In fact, this ideal is years away. The reality is, these implementations aren’t yet possible because the bandwidth required isn’t available, even if our hopes and expectations are.

However, it’s never too early to start preparing. More than ever, it’s imperative that resellers act as an adviser to their partners, asking them what their current needs are and where they’d like to be down the road. For instance, at ScanSource, we have found that encouraging resellers to have conversations now about what business outcomes their partners are trying to achieve – from both a short- and long-term perspective – will allow resellers to work alongside both their partners and distributors to identify the best solutions.

End users are more educated than they’ve ever been, but they need a trusted adviser to make recommendations and help them look around the corner. This includes selecting the right solutions, differentiating between which upgrades should be capital expenditures and which should be operating expenditures – especially as so many cloud-based solutions now are moving toward monthly recurring revenue models – and finally, demonstrating the necessity of upgrades to partners who might be hesitant to accept and embrace the immediate value of investing in the future. Resellers shouldn’t focus on specific sales pitches when having these discussions, but should instead offer comprehensive solutions to meet their partners’ overall needs, and in some cases, provide additional education.

As an example, resellers should work to cultivate regular discussions with their customers – not just to suggest new products or upgrades, but to also ensure that they fully understand their customers’ needs, and can look for additional growth opportunities. In turn, this can lead to a discussion about …

… potential opportunities on the horizon, and when it might be time to start preparing for new technologies. The key for resellers is to work with a solution partner that can help them guide their end-user customers as they integrate each additional component, provide help desk support for the integrated solutions and deliver the entire package in a financial model that meets the customer’s budget.

Even with the promise of all the exciting technological evolutions (subscription) ahead, it’s also important not to walk past the small conference rooms on the way to the board room, speaking both figuratively and literally. There is significant opportunity in providing complete solutions throughout an office building, a store or a warehouse. While many end users likely want to adopt the biggest of what’s coming, it’s important to take a step back and provide the best, realistic recommendations for current and future needs.

To quote playwright Tom Stoppard’s tongue-in-cheek statement, “Every age thinks it’s the modern one, but this one really is.” As the channel continues to advance, it’s necessary – now more than ever – for resellers to guide their partners through the transition of a truly modern age.

Kyle DeWitt is vice president of technical services, North America, at ScanSource, where he is responsible for the creation and execution of pre-sale and post-sale support offerings. His leadership positions have included serving as director of technical services for ScanSource’s Communications and Catalyst business units. Follow him on LinkedIn and @ScanSource ‏or @Kyle_DeWitt on Twitter.

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