I have just returned from ten days in Italy where the sun beat down unrelentingly, making the very occasional thunderstorm a welcome relief, to the wet and wild environs of Donegal where the occasional burst of sunshine in what has been an unremittingly rain-drenched summer is greeted with delusional optimism that the good weather is finally upon us at last.
The space that separate these two very different versions of ’summer’ is no more than 2,072 km and just under three hours travel by plane.
In some respects, I think navigating such wide disparities in the weather in such a short distance is a bit like being a channel partner. For example, if you think of vendor hype about products and technology as promises of sunshine held out to a populace grown weary of looking out on too-dark rain-misty grey mornings and afternoons, then the role of channel partners is to ensure as much of that sunshine is provided as possible.
Similarly, if you picture customers as poor wretches wandering through a burning desert holding out their hands to the mirage of vendors promising cold running water and a constant cool breeze, then channel partners are there to try and ensure as much of the mirage becomes a reality as possible.
When channel partners get it right, it’s like giving people sweltering in Rome just the right amount of Donegal’s wind and rain or delivering the required amount of Rome’s sunshine and heat to the wet and shivering citizens of Donegal.
But the most important role channel partners play is in making sure customers get what they need to survive and thrive from vendors rather than what manufacturers think they should have so that vendors can survive and thrive. In other words, making sure their IT is not too hot or too cold but just right.
Meanwhile, for people like me surveying the lashing rain and howling wind here in Donegal, there is a grain of comfort to be taken from the fact that it’s still closer to Rome (2,072 km) than it is to the North Pole (3,935 km).