Four Reasons Why the IT Channel Rocks
We can all learn something from each other. Everybody has something to teach. And chances are that we each have something new we can learn. That's not just true with individuals. It's also true with businesses. And it's also true with whole industries. Personally, I think there are a few lessons other industries could learn from the IT channel.
Below I’ve outlined a few qualities that stand out to me about the IT channel. Check them out. And feel free to leave comments below and add to the list!
We Collaborate to Increase Value
Collaboration is key and the channel has plenty of it. What’s really great about channel collaboration is that when vendors combine powers, it creates superior products and services. For example, many MSPs sell backup and disaster recovery solutions, have PSAs, and use RMM tools. When three separate companies can collaborate and integrate their technologies together, you achieve the ultimate solution. This kind of collaboration increases the value of the solutions and saves clients time and resources.
I see lots of collaboration between solution providers as well. Peer groups and not-for-profit organizations (like CompTIA) foster meaningful conversations between members across the country. I’ve found that solution providers enjoy networking and helping each other grow their businesses and frequently exchange best practices and recommendations. If only we could get Congress to work together so well!
We Have Flexible Environments
The moment I started working at Datto I noticed it. Companies in this industry run pedal to the metal all the time. We call it “Datto time” at our company, but really I think the other companies are moving at a similar breakneck speed. There is no such thing as a five-year plan in IT because things change too quickly to plan that far ahead. Channel companies have learned how to adapt to the fast pace and make decisions quickly and embrace change.
The world of IT requires companies to be nimble, flexible and resourceful. Increased regulation in the healthcare and finance industries has changed the landscape as well. Solution providers have had to learn quickly what the requirements are, so they can effectively and accurately provide guidance to their clients when trying to meet the new standards. It’s good to be flexible. The world is constantly changing and we need to be prepared to change with it.
We Care About Our Customers
Unlike other industries, the channel is incredibly customer-centric. Both on the vendor side as well as solution providers and even industry trade groups. We are all working around the clock to ensure that customers are satisfied and getting the amount of support they need.
Other industries should note this. Customer support is an integral key to client retention. For example, right before Hurricane Sandy, a Partner called Datto tech support to set up a device. They wanted to get the clients’ backups safely off-site before the storm hit. It was the day before the hurricane; so there was not time to mail out a USB seed drive (the way Datto transfers large amount of data to our off-site cloud). One of Datto’s techs literally took it upon himself to drive 90 minutes to meet the Partner, transfer the drive, and then drove back to the office to sync the data off-site. Two days later, the Partner called and said their client went down and it was a really good thing he had the latest backup off-site. If your customers know you care about them, you will earn higher loyalty, retention rates, and revenue.
We Have a Strong Community
Coming from the retail industry, the channel seemed like a strange beast to me in the beginning. As I dove into my first few trade shows, I quickly noticed that everybody seemed to know everyone else. I worried that I was in over my head, but as I started to form relationships with different vendors, organizations and MSPs, I realized that the channel is a supportive community full of intelligent and passionate individuals.
One of the things that makes the IT channel special is its community. I don’t know of any other industry where two direct competitors can have a relaxed conversation and share a beer at a networking event. Vendors work hand-in-hand with their Partners and help each other grow their businesses. Everyone listens and learns from each other and builds upon one another’s ideas. The channel is committed to working together to solve problems and craft the future of technology for everyone. Community is important and the channel recognizes and fosters this concept.