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Distributor marketplaces key in supporting channel subscriptions

Research from Westcon-Comstor has revealed the pivotal role that disties play in enabling more interaction with marketplaces

The majority of the channel are moving towards subscription models, but more needs to be done if they are to take full advantage of marketplaces and e-commerce platforms.

According to distributor Westcon-Comstor in its Navigating the shift: The role of distributor marketplaces in partner success, the vast majority of channel partners across the UK and Australia have realised they need to deliver subscription services.

The headline findings were that while 78% of partners had started to move towards subscriptions, a number of obstacles in getting there due to increased complexity among the main hurdles. Just over half (52%) pointed to the need to manage a complex multi-vendor portfolio as the biggest challenge.

The result was that more expected distributors to help and many were looking to the marketplaces that disties had established as places they could interact more easily. Some 60% stated that a single platform to purchase both hardware and software would help them navigate some of the complexity and embrace marketplaces quicker.

As it stands, just under half (49%) of those partners quizzed by Westcon-Comstor are currently using distributor marketplaces. Those that are have indicated that self-serve stock, online ordering and pricing were some of the clearest benefits.

There was also a sense that the marketplaces extended beyond the transactional, being seen as a route to gain more customer and market data and training. That discovery should give disties more food for thought as they continue to extend their platforms and increase the depth of their offerings.

“We see the B2B world evolving much as the B2C world did. We all know how important marketplaces, e-commerce and digital interfaces have become,” said Patrick Aronson, CMO of Westcon-Comstor. “Our experience is that channel partners are keen to modernise and embrace the recurring revenue and subscription business model.

“It’s great to see the dynamic and forward-thinking partners we know reflected in this report. As a distributor, insight into the challenges our partners face is key to creating the right marketplace solution they need to serve their customers as best they can,” he added.

Dan Davies, CTO of Maintel, provided some insight from a partner perspective, recognising that there were reasons for the slow uptake in cloud services.

“We’re operating in an industry with a lot of underlying legacy hardware. It’s been trusted and relied upon for a very long time,” he added. “This means that the shift to cloud and subscription-based services has not taken place overnight. But as technology ages and our customers continue to demand more capability and flexibility, this is the journey we’re on.”

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