Channel partners distribute critical technology products and services like data storage, cloud computing, security, and analytics to business customers that want a strategic partner to help them implement IT infrastructure. They’re responsible for advertising, selling, and deploying technology vendors’ managed services to customers. Many major IT providers work with channel partners to expand their products’ reach to a wider audience of customers.
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What Is a Channel Partner?
A channel partner is an authorized provider of goods and services. In business-to-business (B2B) technology, these are often firms and managed service providers (MSPs) that advertise partnerships with IT vendors and help customers implement those vendors’ services and use them effectively. Products and services offered by channel partners include cloud platforms, storage systems, security solutions, and application development and deployment.
Channel partners have close relationships with the technology vendors whose services they sell. Often, they are authorized by the vendor to deploy or implement the hardware and software, assisting customers as they migrate to a new cloud infrastructure, install a next-generation firewall (NGFW), or connect a big data analytics tool to their existing data sources.
What Do Channel Partners Do?
Channel partners lift some of the sales burden from technology vendors by marketing and selling their products for them. Typically, they also help customers deploy and use the vendors’ product over time.
For example, a managed service provider that partners with security vendor Fortinet might help Fortinet’s customers deploy their firewalls and derive insights from their firewall management console. When vendors outsource sales to a channel partner like an MSP, customers still receive deployment assistance and support from the channel partner when handling a new technology. That responsibility does not all rest on the vendor.
A channel partner relationship can also help technology vendors that are quickly growing but don’t yet have the resources to scale rapidly. Because the channel partner takes care of a portion of technology service sales, tech vendors that don’t yet have enough employees or time to manage those new deals are less likely to be overwhelmed in a period of rapid growth. Channel partners also help large, established technology vendors provide support to large numbers of customers as they deploy and learn challenging tech platforms.
To learn more about modern channel partner strategies, read How Channel Partners Can Use Data to Find Business Opportunities.
Advantages of Channel Partners
By selling the technology vendor’s products or services for them, the channel partner gives the vendor’s sales teams more time to focus on other, more strategic tasks without losing revenue. For massive tech companies, managing one-to-one relationships with every single customer would be a difficult task. Outsourcing to channel partners delegates the sales and customer partnerships to other qualified businesses.
A channel partner helps customers deploy technology solutions, but they can also provide consulting services. Consulting assists enterprises that may not yet know how to implement digital transformation, choose the right cloud storage platform, or make the move to an IoT network. Consulting gives business customers valuable access to technology experts that can make data-driven and logical recommendations.
The channel partner also gives the vendor’s products and services more visibility. While a customer might not find Workday when searching for a financial management solution, they might discover it through Deloitte, which has a partnership with the human resources and spend management provider.
Disadvantages of Channel Partners
In a relationship with a channel partner, the vendor, as the first-party business, lacks direct control of channel sales. They also have a less direct relationship with the customer, which could lead to disappointment on the customer’s end if an issue arises with the vendor’s product and the channel partner has trouble solving it.
Similarly, on the customer side, the buyer isn’t in touch with the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or vendor, but rather a third party. Although many channel partners and MSPs are highly capable providers and are experienced in the vendor’s technology, the customer’s lack of direct access to OEM technical support could be a disadvantage, especially for hardware products.
Channel partners and MSPs have their own IT infrastructure, and they are only able to serve clients based on their own technology capabilities. The channel partner may also struggle to meet evolving client expectations as they shoulder responsibility for multiple businesses’ IT implementations.
Top Technology Channel Partners
Accenture helps customers implement cloud platforms and deploy software platforms within their infrastructure. Additionally, Accenture assists businesses in deploying edge technologies and offers managed Internet of Things (IoT) services.
Consider Accenture if your business is looking for a strategic partner for heavy data analytics and big data operations or IoT and edge deployments. Accenture partners include Collibra, Alteryx, Qlik, and Informatica.
Capgemini assists organizations with digital transformation processes, managing application development and research technology in particular. Capgemini helps companies transition to a hybrid cloud environment by moving from the analysis stage to execution of a hybrid cloud migration.
Capgemini partners with VMware, offering dedicated cloud hosting powered by VMware technology and boasting the Master Service Competency level for its relationship with the virtualization provider. Capgemini is a valuable partner for organizations that use any of VMware’s virtualization platforms already. Other Capgemini partners include Adobe, Dell Technologies, SAS, and Teradata.
Cognizant offers consulting for businesses that want to modernize their artificial intelligence, data analytics, and data decision-making strategies. The WorkNEXT platform, a tool within Cognizant’s digital workplace services, helps organizations plan their remote collaboration and enterprise digital transformation strategies.
Businesses also might consider partnering with Cognizant when they want to implement or migrate to a new cloud environment, as cloud is another of the provider’s specialties. Cognizant’s strategic partners include Cisco, Red Hat, Salesforce, and Nutanix.
Deloitte, one of the oldest managed service providers, was founded in 1845 in the United Kingdom. Deloitte offers services like strategic risk advising and technology strategy and transformation consulting. It partners with notable tech providers like Oracle and Salesforce, helping businesses implement these companies’ software platforms. Deloitte also assists SAP customers with cloud migrations.
For businesses in the supply chain and financial services industries, Deloitte is a strong channel partner choice. Other Deloitte partners include Amazon Web Services (AWS) and ServiceNow.
Wipro is an IT consulting and business process management services firm that offers cloud infrastructure, analytics, application modernization, and digital operations services. Analytics and AI solutions include data engineering and machine learning technology like neural networks.
Wipro also offers digital marketing services, which help businesses engineer customer journeys, use Adobe more effectively, and transition business applications to mobile format. Wipro partners include Cloudflare, CrowdStrike, Dell, Google Cloud, and Red Hat.
Want to learn more about channel partners in the technology industry? Read Top IT Channel Partners next.