Recapping the Synnex Alliance Sydney panel discussion
On Wednesday afternoon Sydney channel partners braved the cold and the rain to join us at Luna Park to celebrate 10 years of the Synnex Alliance trade show.
The event began with an afternoon panel discussion hosted by CRN featuring Martin Kosasih, Managing Director, Virtunet; Angus Mansfield, Sales Director, XCentral; and our own Michael Tea, Synnex General Manager, Ecommerce and Cloud Services. The panellists tackled a wide range of questions, including what had forced change in the industry, how to find the right people for your business, the rise of new IT categories like cloud and IoT, and how to best develop business models that respond to these changes.
The panellists widely agreed that change had been forced by new vendor products (like Office 365) and the rise of cloud subscription services. The need to meet customer demands and deliver these new capabilities is, as ever, an important reason the channel has to adapt to the increased focus on OPEX and as-a-service solutions, and steer away from delivering CAPEX in isolation. For some of the panel, hybrid solutions are already the IT model of choice for customers in verticals like finance and government. The changing nature of markets, the opportunities for international growth and the rise of virtualisation and mobility were also identified as impacting business models.
Michael Tea suggested to the crowd that the cloud is not something to fear. Rather, it brings more opportunity for resellers to add value to their customers’ relationships and assist in agile IT transformation. When outlining the new Synnex Cloud Automation platform, Michael showed how the backing of a strong distributor can make it easier for channel partners to deliver as-a-service models for clients with subscription billing cycles.
A key challenge highlighted by the whole panel was customer loyalty, when faced with the possibility of vendors engaging directly with clients under new delivery subscription and consumption based IaaS or SaaS models. The panel agreed the only way to remain relevant is to become customer centric and build lasting relationships. Channel partners should also look to be an intermediary between the vendor and end customer, and provide feedback to improve the vendor’s products.
Hiring the right technical and customer relations skills to deliver this customer centric model was also highlighted by the panel as a challenge. The speakers were divided over whether you could teach sales to a technical person, or the technical aspects to a sales person. Some argued there is greater benefit in bringing along a specialised IT or sales person when meeting with a prospective client. Everyone agreed that it’s essential to understand the technology and be able to communicate this, whilst connecting it to the business side. Having a team excited to solve a problem with a solution, rather than focus on the end sale, was put forward as a successful strategy.
The Synnex Alliance Sydney panel discussion brought together a lively and interesting cross section of experiences in how the channel can best adapt to changing customer and vendor priorities, to stay relevant in a time of great IT and service delivery transformation.