From The Editor | October 9, 2013

8 Channel Threats, 6 Opportunities For Solutions Providers

Jim Roddy

By Jim Roddy, Vantiv


One of my personal highlights at the ASCII Success Summit in Austin, TX was moderating the expert panel discussion titled “Future Channel Opportunities & Threats.” Featured panelists included channel veterans Chris Pelone, the business development manager for Calyptix Security; Scott Barlow, vice president of worldwide sales for Reflexion Networks; Aaron Lee, the channel marketing manager for StorageCraft; and Ted Roller, vice president of channel development for LogMeIn. 

The panel featured several excellent points and lots of give-and-take from those on stage. Here are some highlights from the discussion:

What do you see as the biggest threats to our channel?

  • The managed services model has to evolve to meet the needs of users, especially with the emergence of BYOD and mobility.
  • Perceived commoditization of what MSPs provide to their customers. You need to transition your business to where the MSP model isn’t just providing greater profits for you but also for your customers.
  • Cash flow shortages for resellers transitioning to the MSP model.
  • Telcos invading the cloud space and taking business from partners.
  • Many solution providers are not growing. Very few are in “hypergrowth.”
  • Vendors who sell direct — that is always a threat.
  • Customer lawsuits from security breaches.
  • Channel partners not understanding Millennials and their technology needs.

From your perspective, what are the biggest opportunities in our channel?

  • The managed services model will give greater stability to solutions providers who make the transition due to that model’s higher profit margins.
  • Positioning your business as the company that can help your end users transition to the cloud and communicating that message through creative marketing.
  • Changing the way you market your services. Showing end users how you can address a need for them, not just save them money.
  • Compliance requirements, especially in healthcare. Solutions providers can position themselves beyond being a “trusted advisor” to being their customers’ “compliance officer” or “chief security officer.”
  • Cloud computing offers sales opportunities 10X beyond what the current opportunities are in the SMB space. They don’t understand how to control it or manage it. You are in a solid position to help them make decisions.
  • The ability to offer Everything-as-a-Service enables VARs to provide the total solution, own the network, and own the account.

The ASCII Success Summit was held Sept. 18-19 at the Hilton Airport Hotel in Austin, TX. For more information on the event, go to