IDC: Networking Vendors Turn to Channel to Reach Broadest Audience

Joanna Doyle

An International Data Corporation (IDC) study released this week finds that networking vendors are relying more and more on channel partners such as VARs and distributors to help them reach a broader customer base. The need to establish a strong presence in various competitive markets has led vendors to see a value in combining their product offerings with the specialized expertise of their channel partners.

“Reaching out and touching customers in geographically dispersed regions remains one of the more daunting challenges confronting networking vendors in today’s marketplace,” said Richard Dean, senior analyst with IDC’s Network Support and Integration Services research program. “Although a wave of recent merger activity and strategic alliances has given some vendors additional reach, the expansion of indirect sales and service channels continues to offer vendors considerable opportunities.”

The IDC report concludes that the networking vendor/reseller multi-tiered business model is an effective means for reaching the widest possible audience, providing numerous benefits to both consumers and businesses. Resellers have the capacity to expand vendors’ geographic reach and help vendor products penetrate small- and mid-sized business markets. Many offer customer support capability which often makes their services indistinguishable from those of the vendor, from customers’ perspective. Finally, the report contends, both resellers and vendors benefit from working closely together, given the short supply of and high demand for workers with sufficient technical skills.

IDC has also published a more extensive study of channel relationships, titled Successful Service Strategies for the Network Channel: A Competitive Overview and Analysis (IDC #B20983). The report examines the channel support service programs--including electronic on-site support, training and joint marketing programs--for the leading enterprise networking vendors’ channels. It includes recommendations and conclusions for vendors who want to benchmark and improve a reseller channel service and support program. To order a copy of the report, contact Sally Donovan at 1-800-343-4952, ext. 4219, or at