In part 3 of this series, I am going to explore the importance to Insentra of vendor relationships but first a bit of background. As you will have seen in part 2 of this series, the business model we have at Insentra is somewhat unique, which also makes our relationships with vendors different to normal. Given that we don’t transact licenses or hardware for vendors (where our partners could otherwise transact) it’s more difficult for us to become relevant to vendors. However they’re incredibly relevant to us and our success.
The less they do the more we do
When we started over 6 years ago, the market was very different. Vendors were not just focussed on the sale of their products but also on performing services themselves. This was a common source of contention for traditional partners who wanted to sell both product AND services who often found themselves in competition with vendors for the services work. What we see now is vendors being less interested in providing services, preferring to focus on the sales of their core products (where the margins are greater) thus making shareholders happier. Symantec was the first vendor to significantly cut back on their consulting team in 2010 which proved to be beneficial for Insentra’s break into the market.
When a vendor reduces their consulting services teams, what seems to happen is the consultants move on to do different things – no longer performing the services they once did, thus creating a further hole in the market for projects to be delivered. The intent of the vendor in reducing their services teams is not just to improve their overall blended margins but also to provide more opportunity for their resellers to deliver projects on their behalves. Resellers, however, are less keen to invest in professional services capability as they pivot their businesses towards an annuity model in the “as a service” market we find ourselves in today. This creates a gap that Insentra is perfectly positioned to address – the vendors no longer have the skills and the resellers are less than keen to invest further so they can confidently turn to Insentra for assistance.
The more we do the more they like
Given we don’t transact licenses, it’s more difficult to become relevant to a vendor as it’s difficult to attribute our contribution to either the vendor account managers commission cheques or the company’s bottom line. The way we become relevant is by having the right skilled resources available as needed and ensuring we deliver quality project outcomes every time – no mean feat in a services game! That said, it’s not just the successful project delivery that grabs the attention of the vendors…
What we have seen is vendors are recognising as a result of our non-competitive approach to market, that “once Insentra is trained, the broader IT channel is enabled”. What does this mean? Traditionally vendors struggle to get resellers to invest in training their staff in their solutions. Without a pipeline it’s difficult to warrant the investment in pre-sales or delivery resource and the sales people won’t sell unless they have confidence the solution can be sold accurately and then delivered well. Accordingly, resellers investment decisions take a long time with vendors often “giving deals” to the reseller in an attempt to get them to invest in skills. A deal is given, one person is trained as a result and slowly the reseller starts selling the solution yet with only one trained resource.
When Insentra is trained, vendors have a rapid go to market capability as they are able to leverage Insentra’s pre-existing services delivery relationships with the channel. By extension, resellers can leverage pre-sales and delivery from Insentra, thus allowing them to start taking new solutions to their client base with minimal investment.
Since day one, we have worked very hard to build a reputation of being a trusted organisation that can provide value to vendors and resellers alike. With our non-competitive model, we are able to work collaboratively with all involved. As stated in part 1, we dare to be different in every way and this spin on the way we work allows us an additional edge to our business. It also means we’re not limited in the industry either – any vendor, any partner, any vertical, any solution set…. It’s just about market demand and investment capability on our behalves. What do you think works best when working with your vendors and partners? Let us know your thoughts.
Read The Method Behind the Madness – Part 1