Positioned at the intersection of clients and software publishers, software resellers can of course be tapped into for a variety of purposes. During client interactions it has become clear how varied client views on particular resellers are, plus a limited exposure to the evolution of the marketplace. That transformation is ongoing, like much of the broader IT marketplace, but has been fundamentally shifting the focus of the majority of resellers from their conventional roots and foundations of volume licensing and product resale.
Having been part of the software reseller marketplace myself for a dozen years, rather than publish my own views (a brain dump of what the reseller space has to offer), the option of surveying clients has enabled Gartner to produce a client view of software reseller market evolution.
Our survey probed assessment of:
- How clients use resellers, not just for access to conventional software but technical, SAM and cloud services
- Who uses more than one software reseller
- What makes clients choose to change provider and how many have changed provider
- Which are the most import elements of service and value that a software reseller delivers
- Where is it challenging for clients to identify which software reseller to utilize
- … and finally thoughts on the impact of cloud computing
Last week we published an analysis of our survey – How Cloud Computing Is Transforming Your Software Reseller Relationships Certain outcomes were in line with expectations, others were noteworthy and less obvious. Here is a sample
Results emphatically pointed to client challenges identifying compelling points of differentiation between providers – an issue which shows up in surveys assessing the broader IT provider market, not just software resellers. That outcome was arguably also in keeping with price being high on the scale of selection factors. Whilst marketeers and leadership of software resellers undoubtedly continue to address their offerings and capabilities to meet client requirements, for many clients value appears to remain unclear.
So, looking forward, will adding value to the choice of cloud offerings be a major factor in positive software reseller relationships?
Respondents did notably recognize that growing use of cloud solutions is creating emerging demands which software resellers may service. Adding value in evaluation and brokerage of cloud solutions may be the incremental step to more productive software reseller relationships, but should that be at the expense of other key roles?
The reseller : client relationship remains one which is grounded in interactions. IP of the individual remains a core component of that relationship – a combination of expertise in licensing and understanding of the clients business.
An evolution to cloud is well under way, the role of the intermediary remains a requirement, and perhaps more consultative than ever before. Whilst automation of repeatable functions and reporting add some value, capabilities that make a more noticeable difference to clients appear to remain consultative.