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GTDC: Distribution marketplaces evolving and competing

Report from industry body uncovers the progress made so far and the prospects for future enhancements putting distie offerings in a strong position

Distribution marketplaces have evolved, continue to expand and offer a more solid option that give them a chance to compete strongly against hyperscaler alternatives.

Those are the broad themes of the Beyond the marketplace report from the Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC).

The demand for marketplaces, platforms that provide a range of as a service options for partners, has grown and distribution has responded with the major players in the market developing offerings to meet that need.

“Demand for cloud services is skyrocketing and, with companies facing ongoing staffing shortages and looking for greater productivity and discoverability, there is a growing need for more comprehensive cloud services and bundled offerings,” Victor Baez, senior vice-president of cloud and global vendor engagement at Ingram Micro, stated in the GTDC report.

“Marketplaces make that possible by simplifying and accelerating the sales cycle, bringing transparency into the collective supply chains, and giving resellers more ways to serve the end customer,” he added.

The big hyperscalers have their own marketplaces and have been engaging more actively with the channel to get resellers and service providers on board, but the GTDC report highlighted the benefits distribution could bring over that competition.

The report underlined the sales and marketing expertise that comes with buying via a channel marketplace, rather than the risks of opting for what could be a poorly trained rep behind a direct offering.

“While hyperscaler marketplaces include a large number of ISVs, they don’t have all the pieces needed for a successful buyer’s journey for the partner or end-user,” Sergio Farache, chief strategy officer for TD Synnex, told GTDC.

“Channel companies need to manage contracts and quotes, converge billing for consumption and subscriptions, and integrate their own products or third-party vendors. That doesn’t happen with hyperscalers,” he added.

Distribution marketplaces were also being used as a platform that would share information. A recent example of that approach has come from Westcon-Comstor, which cut the ribbon on its PartnerCentral marketplace last April with a decision to make it about more than just products.

As well as offering software, hardware and services, the marketplace was established as a place for partners to access Partner Insights, providing information on their own business and what’s happening at the customer level.

Distribution marketplaces are also sharing the information the other way feeding back to vendors insights into areas of growth and channel activity. Data is also helping disties identify complementary solutions that partners could take on to add more value and drive further revenues.

Fundamentally, marketplaces do not replace the trusted adviser position partners have built with customers but have the potential to complement and enhance it. Hugo Fernandez, CEO of GTI software and networking for V-Valley, a division of Esprinet, shared his thoughts with GTDC around the impact on customer relationships.

“Platforms are good business enhancers for partners because they create a daily, or at the very least monthly, interaction with end users,” he said. “These activities are interactive, not merely transactional, and can help develop new business opportunities year after year.”

GTDC indicated that NextGen platforms were coming, AI would play more of a role, and distribution would continue to evolve its proposition.

“Vendors and their partners have a new and more powerful tool to manage technology lifecycles for the businesses they support, from the smallest SME clients to larger enterprises. Distribution-hosted cloud marketplaces and platforms are already driving the next wave of digital transformation, with new capabilities and offerings coming online every day,” the report concluded.

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