At Westcon’s recent Vendor Executive Advisory Council, our key vendors gathered to discuss distribution strategy. Here’s what David Grant, Westcon-Comstor Chief Operating Officer, had to say about partnering for growth.

At our recent Vendor Executive Advisory Council Meeting in San Francisco, we invited our key Westcon vendors to discuss how we can best evolve to meet their expectation of sustained channel business growth.

Part of our discussion was led by Margaret Adam, Associate Vice President of Services, Partnering, SMB and Start Up Ecosystems for IDC, who focused attendees’ minds on how the channel is evolving.

Margaret addressed the way in which digital business innovation has changed the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of business-to-business IT value creation. And, as a result, the notion of a traditional channel is also changing.

What we’re now experiencing is the emergence of a tightly integrated, interdependent ecosystem, with new roles, relationships and demands for channel partners of the future.

In a series of interviews (which can be seen below), our vendors also called out how they see the partner ecosystem emerging.

They highlight that distribution will be central to solutions building and services delivery. In particular, to deliver Next Gen solutions, the call for distribution is one of specialist technology matchmaking that’s necessary to deliver complex solutions.

It will also have to provide a consolidation point that aggregates alliances of the right people, organisations and technologies to create a compelling value proposition, reflecting a marketplace in which one simply cannot do it all alone.

Accordingly , distribution’s future success in the channel will depend on its ability to adapt, change and collaborate depending on the opportunity. It’s clear that distribution cannot stand still as such a new ecosystem develops.

One example where we’re innovating is with the Master Agency model.

With this approach, the classic linear channel route to fulfilment alters radically. Here, ‘ownership’ of the end customer – so often closely protected by the reseller – becomes shared between vendor, distributor and partner. 

Industry shifts such as master agency calls on distribution to be nimble and forward thinking. Distribution needs to re-think the notion of partnering, maintaining its central role in this emerging ecosystem and to making clear its differentiation based on value creation.

To Westcon-Comstor that mean a host of things. Evidently, we will all be more interconnected as we do business, with the common currency of data helping to make this ecosystem work effectively.

We already work with partners to advance our digital transformation. Making it easier to business is a first step, but our work also extends into data-based marketplace insights, more predictive renewals and enabling subscription and consumption models that yield recurring revenues.

In addition to the tools that will make this ecosystem work, we also focus on new levels of collaboration.

By bringing vendors together to discuss the way forward in a highly transparent and collaborative way is no small endeavour. We’re grateful to vendors for their time, but we’re even more appreciative for their open and frank feedback that helps us directs our efforts ever more effectively

We are fortunate to be able to share visions of the future in this way. It’s immensely productive and a key part of staying connected to our vendors’ ambitions and goals – particularly as we collaborate in this new, mutually beneficial ecosystem.

Watch interviews with some of our vendors and hear what they had to say about partnering for growth in the channel: