When Progress Software strategic partner program manager Richard Stone thinks about the channel opportunity in 2018, there’s an old cartoon that comes to mind: The one where the dog that’s chasing the car finally catches it, and as the car speeds down the road with the dog’s jaws locked on its bumper, the poor pooch thinks to himself, “Now what?”
This, says Stone, is what SMBs are thinking as they look at the vast oceans of data they’ve gotten so good at collecting. These customers have been chasing the Big Data car for years. Now that they’ve finally caught it, they don’t really know what to do with it.
Luckily for them, there’s a channel for that.
“Everyone is struggling with what I like to call ‘bigger data,’” says Stone. “There’s a huge opportunity for partners to specialize in these data applications and take the complexity away from customers.”
The biggest upside to being the one SMBs call to outsource that complexity? The core competencies needed to wrangle all of that data are ones that MSPs already have, and just have yet to package into a solution. The partners that have figured out how to monetize that expertise have grasped the essential key to success in today’s channel, according to Stone: Stop focusing just on technology, and educate yourself about your customer’s business. Anything else is just a race to the bottom.
“The world is changed forever,” he says. “The days of being able to offer relatively simple, straightforward services are over. They’re all now commoditized by the Big Three.
MSPs need to think about the problems customers face and turn it into a value proposition. They need to think beyond the service.”
The big opportunity in cloud Stone says many partners are just starting to understand is that it has a magic ability to enable SMBs to produce highly disruptive business models that generate the kind of true competitive differentiation that business owners drool over. SMBs know what’s possible. They see it happening in the market and on the covers of business magazines. But they’re trying to discover new worlds without knowing how to navigate the ocean between where they are and where they want to be. They need the channel to guide that ship, but partners that only focus on technology are pr