With infrastructure, storage and software’s accelerating momentum to the cloud, resellers find themselves in a challenging position. After a decades-long revenue model based on margins from relatively high priced products combined with a long list of supporting services, they now face a fairly sudden deterioration. Big tickets are being replaced by Netflix-like subscription models, and customers increasingly believe they can handle their IT needs on their own. This is not the hot news of the day. But it has made the reseller community consider various reinvention strategies.
The most basic strategy being bantered about couldn’t be more fundamental: Stay close to your customer.
While this is always a good idea, it may keep the reseller in position to capitalize on a couple of trends. First, the growth of cloud services will continue to reveal future needs of the customer. The nature of these services is just beginning to reveal itself. If nothing else, the accelerated volume of choices alone will make a customer’s head spin. Where else will a customer turn for expert advice than his or her trusted expert?
A second emerging trend seems counter-intuitive to self-service, software-as-a-service benefits. Customer of all kinds are beginning to realize that while self-service options can save an incredible amount of capital, they require an increase in labor, from moderately skilled to highly specialized. This realization is producing the first blip of a shift to a hybrid software-as-service-with-service model.
Perhaps it is a natural step to outsource when business begins to recover from tough economic years, and strategic focus steers away from cost reduction and back to revenue generation. We can leave the motivation for the action to be debated for another day. Whatever the reason, the reseller who remains closest to the customer, who continues to understand the needs of the customer, stands to gain the most benefit.
This can be a lesson to us all, regardless of business or industry.