Vendors Need to Rethink Their Channel Programs

In recent ESG research on data protection personas, methods, and channels, ESG looked at ‘who’ is affecting data protection, including IT operations, DBAs, vAdmins, file/storage admins, non-technical stakeholders, and channel partners.

While data protection has historically been very channel-driven, or at least channel-accelerated, recent data shows that there are disconnects between how IT decision makers use channel partners and how vendors hope that channel partners are being used (e.g., pre-sales advocates of their products/services).

On a personal note, I’ve been in data protection for most of twenty five years, having started out at a few channel partners. Back then, VARs/SIs would align closely with a primary data protection vendor but maintain loose ties with at least one other—and part of the partner’s brand as an IT expert was based on the depth of experience with technologies like data protection. But affinity to a preferred few brands as well as the articulated depth of expertise seems to be waning among partners, so I was personally eager to understand the current level of involvement in data protection by VARs/SIs.


As the chart above shows, channel partners are involved in almost every aspect of the data protection lifecycle, from initial product consideration through deployment to ongoing operations or support.

The good news is that only 15% of IT respondents stated that they do not use a partner for any part of their data protection process. For the other 85% of IT organizations, channel partners have some influence during some stage of data protection.
The bad news is that even for the highest level of involvement (introducing new products for consideration), channel partners were only involved 41% of the time. Said another way, in the most important way that vendors hope partners are being used (to advocate their products), IT organizations only use partners in two out of every five sales opportunities. The research took a look at why and the answer may surprise you.

To read the rest of ESG’s insights on the current state of channel partners in data protection, as well as hear recommendations from both myself (from a data protection technology vendor perspective), as well as my colleague and ESG Channel Programs analyst Kevin Rhone, check out this analyst brief.

As always, thanks for reading.

[Originally blogged via ESG’s Technical]

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