The first half of 2020 has been an undeniably disrupted period across the world. Many people expect the economic impact of the events of the year to date will lead to a worldwide recession and a lengthy recovery period. And yet—as a PWC report found—organisations are pushing back against this challenge, and those “companies that are fit for the digital era are better placed to pivot their operations and processes to find new ways to meet customer demands—and new customers.”
As the report observed, “The ability to adapt and act fast is essential to creating success in this new paradigm, and will enable companies to build resistance in the years ahead.”
Companies will rely heavily on their channel Partners to make this transition, so it’s paramount for them to adjust their approach to meet a new set of customer priorities.
“Investment in emerging technologies may be on hold,” said Sojung Lee, vice president of sales across Asia-Pacific and Japan for SolarWinds. “Companies are looking at what they need to do to ensure that their businesses continue running, with technologies that enable working remotely. They also need to protect their people and make sure that IT runs smoothly.”
As observed in the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2020: The Universal Language of IT, in the “new normal,” organisations will prioritise investments delivering tangible and immediate benefits.
Though some areas of investment may decline, organisations will be quick to make investments in areas capable of helping facilitate the new way of work. As one Gartner® report notes, almost half (41%) of employees who started remote working due to the current market conditions will continue to do so. Organisations need to develop a new strategic approach to IT to enable this, and they’ll look to their preferred IT service providers to help develop their vision.
According to Lee, finding new business right now will also be a more challenging proposition. Channel organisations should instead continue to engage with existing customers and find deeper ways to add value to their partnerships.
“We can help businesses get back to basics,” Lee said. “We value strong Partners—there are too many distractions like emails, calls, messages, and noise, and it is very difficult to disconnect from all that. Our goal needs to be how we can help organisations to prioritise.”
Achieving this requires deep expertise, Lee added. “The Partners we’re looking for are those passionate about solving business problems for IT professionals by removing the complexity of today’s IT operations management challenges. We value committed Partners willing to invest, and our priorities rest there.”
The SolarWinds APJ business is largely driven by the channel, and the company relies on its Partner network to deliver value-added services to its customers. “There are so many different nations and cultures throughout the region, and the changes in these cultures are significant,” Lee said. “Our Partners are the ones with their ‘feet on the ground,’ and they can respond to local conditions, so our goal is to enable them.”
Going to Market With Customers
SolarWinds provides a wealth of support, including online training and certification programs, physical and virtual events, and a comprehensive library of documentation, support, and sales and leads assistance. It consolidates all of this into its Partner Portal, which it has designed to be an easy-to-access resource of global and local knowledge and insights.
SolarWinds pitches its channel program with three key benefits to its Partner network:
Tools and enablement: These range from dedicated technical resources to sales enablement materials designed to help Partners articulate the value of a shift to SolarWinds while navigating through challenging market conditions.
Training: SolarWinds also conducts virtual technical and sales training to ensure no Partner misses out on the benefits of full accreditation as a go-to-market opportunity. SolarWinds works closely with its regional distributors and Partners to provide channel enablement and certification and ensure every Partner has the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of SolarWinds solutions.
Marketing support: In addition to campaigns, EDMs, and webinars, SolarWinds works closely on co-funded opportunities to reach customers and help establish the Partner’s expertise and backing with SolarWinds. When it comes to these opportunities, SolarWinds works strategically with partners of all sizes.
Finally, SolarWinds is committed to delivering simple, powerful, and affordable software to meet the needs of every organisation. This is reflected in how the company helps Partners and customers financially. For example, the company introduced subscription-based pricing (in addition to perpetual licensing) for the majority of its on-premises IT operations management products. This means customers and Partners can now choose their preferred way of doing business to fit their budgets. The company also initiated seasonal promotional activities like this year’s end of fiscal year campaign to support its principle of easy to try, easy to buy.
Though the market—and broader economy—will be disrupted for a while, enterprises in all markets need to engage with their channel Partners to develop IT-driven solutions enabling them to operate efficiently and maintain their organisations’ health now and into the future. This speaks to the heart of the strength and value of the channel, as it provides expertise and shows how to take vendor solutions and leverage them to create meaningful value in the market.