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Vendors' expanded assistance for channel partners isn't focused just on cloud computing, however. IT vendors in general, and those with programs deemed 5-Star in particular, have really ratcheted up the services and resources they provide to resellers.
Vendors this year seem to be placing greater emphasis on working with the VARs they already have, rather than recruiting additional resellers, and providing the help solution providers need to grow their businesses and expand into new areas.
That resonates with Alex Rooney, vice president of Vision33, an Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider and close SAP partner.
"When you're a small business, what the vendor or [software] publisher provides is an ecosystem that nourishes and fosters business opportunities," he said. Rooney said vendors should be doing everything they can to make their partners "scalable and profitable"--something he said SAP is doing as the software giant increasingly turns to its resellers to help it meet its growth goals.
More than 50 percent of all companies (and nearly 60 percent of those with 5-Star programs) are providing training to help partners transform their businesses to capture a greater share of the services market. Nearly 72 percent of vendors (and almost 80 percent of 5-Star vendors) offer information to help horizontal VARs break into vertical markets. And more than 50 percent provide training to simplify the concept of hosted and managed services for VARs.
More vendors, especially those with 5-Star channel programs, also are making more marketing resources available to partners. This year's PPG shows big increases in the number of 5-Star winners offering research (62 percent vs. 30 percent last year), outsourced market services (59 percent vs. 38 percent), campaign design templates (90 percent vs. 70 percent), and logo and branding assistance (90 percent this year).
Eighty-eight percent of channel programs offer some kind of market development/co-op funding, according to the vendor applications. But vendors are going beyond just providing the money. Sixty-nine percent make field marketing managers available to MDF-eligible partners to help them plan and execute demand generation campaigns. And more than 77 percent of IT vendors (almost 93 percent of those with 5-Star programs) go the extra distance by helping partners track their MDFs.