How to become successful with your Channel–a case study to learn from?

In my yesterday’s blog entry, I gave a few hints of channel development and what kind of things the software vendors should avoid.

Today, I thought to share some perspectives on a case study that David Skok gives in his excellent blog entry.  Like in my previous blog entry, I will give my perspective on the findings of this case study.

The case study software company is SolidWorks and this company is specifically known within modeling for mechanical design. This company grew rapidly and one of the key reasons was an effective and well-managed VAR channel. According to the blog, the success of the channel was based on three distinctive phases:

  1. Hiring an executive that had been part of the channel in the past, so this person really understood the channel and how a VAR business works.
  2. Understanding that the success of SolidWorks
  3. Realizing that the VAR channel as an un-optimized  resource and how decide that it was worthwhile for SolidWorks to educate its channel on business skills. This meant every aspect of the business, almost like a mini-MBA

During the spring/summer 2012 I did some research in the VAR/MSP channel and one of the findings was that a key obstacle for many VARs and MSPs specifically in moving the cloud business is lack of expertise and the business model was seen to be unclear like can be seen in following picture (Source: CTTA 2012):

Obstacles in moving to cloud-2012

The latter is specifically relevant to the discussion of SolidWorks and what they did to make the channel successful. What happened in the case of SolidWorks was that the channel account teams became business mentors for the VARs and educating them to run a better business. In retrospect, I think this is exactly what ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini is trying to do with its resellers in its annual User Group Meeting IT Nation in the beautiful Orlando, Florida in November 2012.

He even brought in my favorite author Jim Collins that has written many bestselling business books and the latest book “Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck—Why Some Thrive Despite Them All” was given to all conference attendees.

I had the opportunity to hear Jim Collins keynote and I think it was one of the best speeches I have heard in my life. He brought up things in an interesting way and without every loosing the audience in the session.

In the next few blog entries, I will review what a good VAR channel program should look like and what kind of VAR development program did SolidWorks have to run its VAR business. I will also give my own add to this by looking it from a Business Model Canvas perspective which we use every day for everything we analyze in respect to Business Models. Stay tuned for more!