Watching The Avengers with my kids for the fourth time last week (yes fourth), the premise of that movie was still intriguing to me; it’s exciting to watch that highly competitive, individualist group come together to create such a glorious synergy. For those unaware of Hollywood’s most recent attempt to turn a comic book series into a blockbuster move saga, think large-angry-green guy (Hulk), super-fast red-white-and-blue guy (Captain America), demi-god with a lightning bolt and hammer (Thor). Throw in some Robert Downey Jr. humor (Iron Man) and few lesser-known wing men and you have the ultimate group of “frienemies;” all passionate individuals, all with specific skills, all accustomed to working alone, all incredibly driven.
And to top it all off, all driven to change their behavior and work together because the world could no longer defend itself against outsiders (aliens). Sounds like Silicon Valley.
Earlier in my career, as a partner that morphed from a VAR, to a MSP/VAR, to a MSP/Solution Provider/VAR, my offerings changed and I needed my vendors to work well together because what we were selling was a blended solution focused on the synergy of the solution, not the individual parts. True, the name brand of much of what we provided was a nice security blanket for our clients. However, it was the blending together of what were previously separate parts into a business continuity, or risk mitigation, that was the real win. And that meant blending pieces that previously did not play so well together, either from a pricing, delivery, or integration perspective.
In this brave new world we were forced to work in ways and in partnerships we never would have previously done, in terms of vendors and even other service providers. As we became the business continuity quarterback for our clients, it became imperative that we put our fear and insecurities aside and partnered with others whose best practices complimented our core competencies. As an example, we were good at Sharepoint but knew that there were others that were experts and could provide far better guidance. It was in our client’s best interest for us to sacrifice revenue and bring in a best-of-breed partner, even if there was competitive overlap. In the end we focused on what we did well, put the interest of our clients first, and ultimately prospered in that model.
As the demand on channel partners continues to evolve, it will be imperative that vendors, whether in hardware, software or services, evolve as well. They will need to proactively reach out to each other and work together, even in situations where there may be some competitive overlap. Hey, if the big angry green guy and Iron Man can work together, anything is possible.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steven Kellam, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at CCI
As a growth specialist, Steven is responsible for CCI’s sales and marketing strategy and vision for today’s goals and objectives as well as positioning the organization for continued, long-term success. Steven has experience in both the VAR space, having run a successful Managed Services IT business, and a background in Manufacturing where he built a channel of over 2,000 partners.