Lean on the strength of partnerships and channel ecosystem to share ideas and overcome business challenges.

March 6, 2023

4 Min Read
Navigate business

By Ben Fallon


Ben Fallon

Navigating the economic challenges in today’s market and preparing for the future were prominent discussion points at last month’s Juniper Networks Global Partner Executive Summit in Madrid. How can partners continue to build on their growth and profitability when the external conditions are so dynamic, often difficult, and de-motivating for businesses?

The Challenges of Today’s Market

There isn’t a way to ignore the tumultuous times that businesses are facing. After navigating the hardships of the pandemic, today’s markets face further uncertainty, and this can impact the channel.

There are three challenges that can impact partners, vendors and their respective customers: a looming threat of recession, the rising cost of business and the ever-increasing need to progress toward digital transformation. The three combined seem to present a complicated juxtaposition as the businesses in the channel oscillate between investing in the latest technology, cutting costs and consolidating operations.

This can clearly impact the outlook for channel professionals for the year ahead. Canalys research (registration required) finds that over 40% of channel partners surveyed globally expect profitability in 2023 to be flat or decline in comparison to 2022.

The channel must remember that it has faced similar challenges before and through challenges, come opportunities. Partners can continue to build profitability by understanding the issues customers are facing because of the economic challenges and then provide value through support.

Using Partnership to Overcome Adversity

Vendors, partners and their customers are essentially navigating the same difficulties right now. The channel can, however, lean on the strength of their partnerships and the wider channel ecosystem to share ideas, get support and overcome challenges. Collaboration and knowledge are some of the best ways to help share best practices and build confidence.

Tools and platforms available to channel partners are enabling partners to deliver great experiences for customers and create a seamless experience for the partners, too. As the network-as-a-service market (NaaS) is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 28% from 2022-2028, reaching $47 billion by 2028, programs are being adapted and optimised for this model to help partners grow into delivering network services extending from the traditional reseller path. NaaS is also an attractive option to end customers who want to take the stress out of managing the network themselves. It can also mitigate issues with skills shortages present in many IT teams currently.

Partners and resellers also need to utilise any vendor training that is offered to them and explore not only solution-related resources but also other elements of business such as marketing, customer service and sales techniques. This will deepen understanding to deliver the best customer experience. Perhaps obvious but worth stating, it’s also crucial for partners to truly understand the benefits of the solutions they’re selling. Internal training is often overlooked in the quest for producing satisfied customers. Especially in today’s climate, customers’ needs are shifting based on current threats in the market, not to mention an increasing pressure to cut costs, save energy and choose ethical software and hardware that fits sustainability standards.

Turn Challenges Into Opportunities

It might seem overly optimistic to say that today’s dynamic market can present opportunities for profitability, but customers need expert advice from the channel now more than ever. Looking back to the pandemic, although this was undoubtedly a challenging time for a lot of partners, the increased pressure of the market environment was a catalyst for change and many businesses were able to adapt and thrive. Similarly, the channel can use the changes in the market as an opportunity to adapt, rise to the needs of their customers and tailor the customer experience to support these new challenges.

Customers look to channel partners as trusted advisers. One crucial element to profitability is to maintain low costs whilst driving sales, and customers will look to partners and resellers to give advice on the best methods to drive more efficient, effective networks. Partners can use their expertise to adapt a customer’s network solutions to find technology that can help save energy and create a more efficient infrastructure that will support their profitability goals.

Partners and resellers that can provide insight and advice on the best solutions to help customers drive down costs and still deliver efficient networks have the opportunity to boost their own profitability using today’s challenges as an opportunity to deliver great customer experiences and be indispensable as a value-added service provider.

Ben Fallon is VP Global Partner & Virtual Sales at Juniper Networks. You may follow him on LinkedIn or @JuniperNetworks on Twitter.

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